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Your new arrival will be here in just a few short months and the nesting instinct has no doubt kicked in. But remember, planning a nursery is about more than picking out paint colours and fabric swatches – it needs to be as practical as it is pretty.

the basics

Don’t get so caught up in the decorating that you forget to budget for the essentials. First on the nursery shopping list should be your baby’s cot. You may choose a bassinet for the first weeks of your baby’s life, but at about four months they will more than likely need to be moved to a cot. Safety is most important so choose a well-designed cot – air should be able to pass through any panels and gaps shouldn’t be larger than your baby’s head. Linen is equally important. Opt for cotton bedding, which is gentle on your baby’s skin, fitted sheets and a good quality mattress.

Read our article on what to consider when choosing bedding for your children at various ages.

Your next big buy should be the compactum. You’ll be changing a lot of nappies, so make sure you choose one that is at the right height for you to comfortably change your baby and ensure there is plenty of storage space for things like bum cream, wet wipes and nappies. Alternatively, you can buy a dresser, which works just as well.

One of the best investments you can make is a feeding chair. The number of hours spent nursing, particularly at newborn stage, demands a comfortable place to sit. Keep a small table with a night light next to your chair to help you navigate your way in the dark.

A baby monitor is a smart buy as it will give you peace of mind, especially if your child’s nursery isn’t right next to your room. You can also get some form of temperature control, whether this is an air-conditioner or suitable fan or heater.


Once you have the basics covered, you can start planning the finer details of the nursery. Neutral colours are a popular choice with floral prints and leaf motifs taking centre stage. You can also bring in a natural aesthetic with indoor plants, wood panelling and organic materials. If you are sticking to a pared-back palette, bring in some colour with vinyl wall art, canvas prints or a statement wall in a bright hue.

Certain things should be avoided in a nursery, read this article to find out more.

top tips

  • Keep the sleep zone and the play zone separate – don’t hang a mobile over the cot as this signals playtime.
  • Use blackout curtains if the morning sun hits the nursery.
  • If you do want to paint the room a colour, look at soft pastels as these are calming.
  • Don’t make the design of the nursery too specific to baby stage – you don’t want to have to spend on updating the room every year.
  • Choose décor and colours that can grow with your child.
  • If you’re short on inspiration or confused by all the choice, find one item, such as a lamp or piece of artwork you love, and let this inspire your theme.

Find out how to set the scene to ensure your baby gets good quality sleep.

in the bag

A few weeks before you’re due, get your hospital bag packed, ready and waiting. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A few sets of clothes for the new arrival
  • Newborn or preemie nappies
  • Wet wipes and bum cream
  • A dummy
  • Comfortable pyjamas for Mom
  • Nursing bras, breast pads and nipple cream
  • Toiletries and sanitary pads
  • Comfortable clothes for leaving the hospital