Your child will be in a crib for as long as you can possibly keep him or her there. This means he or she will either climb out around age two and you will know that it’s time for a bed, or will graduate to a bed with a side guard because the crib is needed for a new sibling. So you have a short time to enjoy a frilly nursery, but the goal should be to design a room that’s flexible. As children grow beyond the infant stage, their bedrooms become more than a place to sleep. This is where they play, read and possibly fingerpaint. Nothing in this room should be untouchable or unwashable. Everything should be safe, carefree and sturdy. You’ll also need to plan for good storage of clothing as well as the abundance of paraphernalia that will ultimately accumulate.
A Working Plan
Good storage space is the most important thing for making a baby’s room function well. There has to be a place for clothes, toys and equipment. The basic furniture includes a crib, later to be replaced with a bed, a changing table and a dresser. Shelving units that can be added to and moved up and down are essential. When my daughter had her first baby she purchased a modular storage unit with equal-size open cubes that could be arranged in many different ways and could also be added to. In this way she could build a unit as high and as wide as she wanted. When her son was four, she arranged one row of cubes on top of another along one wall. Her preschooler uses the cubbies for his toys, and the top surfaces are just the right height on which to play with his cars. These cubes are available through discount stores and mail-order catalogs.
Safety is your primary concern. New cribs have safety standards, so don’t accept your old crib from your parents for sentimental reasons, even if it’s in perfect condition. It was probably painted before lead testing and the slats undoubtedly are further apart than today’s required standard.
Furniture should not tip over easily and everything should be rounded rather than made with sharp edges. Functional furniture made from easy-to-clean materials like laminates are practical choices.
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