Choose Furniture for Safety + Comfort

You'll spend many hours in your child's room, so of course you'll want to make sure it's an enjoyable space for both of you. Here's how to pick the perfect furniture pieces.

HGRM-house-counselor-twins-nursery-crib_s4x3 Photo courtesy of John Burton Brown

Unless you're heading into a major renovation, chances are good that the biggest investment you make in your child's room will be the furniture. If you want to find pieces that look great, last for years and fit your budget, it pays to shop carefully. "The very best piece of shopping advice for any parent or prospective parent is to think about longevity," says Pam Ginocchio, co-founder of Project Nursery. "Furniture can be expensive, so try to pick things that can adapt as your child grows, like a crib that converts to a toddler bed, or a dresser with a removable changing-pad topper, so you can still use it post-diapers."

Cribs and beds.

The crib is the only piece of baby furniture most new parents have to buy. Safety standards have changed significantly, and today's cribs are a far cry from the ones on the market just a few years ago. "Don’t be tempted to pick up a vintage crib at a yard sale or use the one you slept in as a baby," warns designer Barbara Tabak of Decorating Den. For safety reasons, new cribs have stationary sides, not drop sides, and sturdier mattress supports; slats are also closer together.

Changing tables.

You don't have to spend a fortune on a changing table. Any large dresser can double as a changer with the addition of an add-on changing pad. If you are buying a dedicated changing table, consider one designed with a removable topper, so you can convert it into a dresser after your baby’s out of diapers.

Chairs, rockers and gliders.

You'll spend hours in your baby’s room, and a comfortable chair is an essential convenience, not for the baby, but for you. A rocking chair is the traditional choice; however, rockers are seldom as comfortable as other options, like the more recently popular glider.

Before you invest in a glider, think ahead, says Susanna Salk, designer and author of Room for Children. "So many parents buy a glider for the nursery, and that's great for when you’re rocking a small baby to sleep. But fast-forward eight months or a year and you'll find a regular armchair much more comfortable for nursing a heavy baby or snuggling with your toddler while you read a story." Choose an armchair or an elegant, upholstered glider and you’ll have a piece you and your child will enjoy indefinitely, not just for the first year.

Deciding to buy a crib isn't difficult, but deciding which crib to buy can be. You'll find a nearly unlimited range of styles available, at all price points. "We’re seeing a trend toward traditional styling in nurseries," says Ginocchio. "Not ornate, but just classic and timeless." Of course, which look appeals to you is a personal decision. Just make sure it's a style that you won't grow tired of in a few years, especially if you choose a crib that converts to a toddler bed and then to a full-sized bed.

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