By Erin Reilly
It doesn’t matter how many books you read or how many parenting-based Facebook groups you belong to, nothing can properly prepare you for the arrival of a baby into your family. The way they smell, the feeling of unconditional love you have and the way you could waste a whole afternoon just looking at them merge with never-ending nappies, broken sleep and the weight of responsibility that this small human’s future is in your hands.
While you can’t prep for sleep deprivation, you can set yourself up for success by creating a nursery space that’s fit for a tiny king or queen. Many factors need to be considered when crafting the perfect nursery including lighting, heating, flooring, storage and décor. Of course, how extensive you decide to renovate in each area depends on how much money you’ve got to spend. Whether you’ve got under £500, between £1000 and £2000, or more than that to spend on your nursery renovation, here are some options.
Lighting is one of the most important components of a baby’s room. If it’s too light they might not be able to go to sleep, but if it’s too dark you might not be able to see what you’re doing if you need to attend to them in the middle of the night. During summer it can be harder for children (and adults!) to get to sleep because the days are longer and lighter, so solutions that darken a room are really helpful.
Basic budget, under £500: Made-to-measure blackout roller blinds block out most natural light that comes through a window (although some light may bleed through around the edges), and can be very reasonable price-wise.
Mid-range budget, £500-£1500: Roman blackout blinds or blackout curtains are a more traditional window covering option. If you have time, the best option is to source a good quality fabric yourself that compliments your room then have a curtain maker make them up for you. Don’t forget to buy some black-out material too!
High-end budget, over £1500: Fitted wooden shutters provide a near blackout while also reducing noise and drafts. Be careful when choosing a colour for the wood; too dark could make the room feel small.
While keeping a nursery dark is important, effective work lighting is also essential. Dim lighting will enable parents to go into a baby’s room for feeding or to check on them without having to turn on a bright light which will disturb their sleep and wake them up more fully.
Basic budget, under £20: Plug-in night lights can be purchased from good hardware stores.
Mid-range budget, £100 to £200: Fit a dimmer lighting switch to manually adjust the level of brightness in a room.
High-end budget, over £250: Invest in a remote-controlled lighting system that’s managed by your smartphone or tablet.
Along with lighting, heating is one of the most important features of a well-functioning nursery. Tom Bentley from Refresh Renovations in London suggests that a room that sits between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature for a baby to sleep comfortably. “It can be difficult to know what the temperature is so you might want to invest in a portable room thermostat”, says Tom. Nearly 90% of people in the UK use a gas-fired central heating system, and finding a house without it is very unlikely. To enhance the heating in a specific room, a zoned temperature control system could be the answer. If you have electric heating, you might want to consider upgrading to a thermostatic remote-controlled electric radiator. Top-of-the-line models have integrated WiFi which you can control via an app.
Deep-piled carpet is ideal in a nursery for warmth, comfort and insulation. While they can look nice, bare timber floors can be cold and noisy (although easier to clean!). There are a range of floor furnishing options to suit a range of budgets, from second-hand fluffy rugs bought online right through to allergy-free woollen carpet.
Any parent knows that you can never have too much storage in a nursery because, despite their size and inability to do much, babies come with a lot of ‘stuff’. Store items away from inquisitive hands while keeping your nursery looking clutter-free with effective storage solutions.
Basic budget, under £200: Use baskets on the floor and behind closed doors to store toys, books and other baby-related paraphernalia.
Mid-range budget, over £200: Construct a kitset bookshelf from Ikea or similar and insert pull-out baskets into the shelves.
High-end budget, over £1000 to £4000: Invest in a floor-to-ceiling fitted wardrobe complete with soft-closing wardrobe doors.
Painting & Décor
Splashing a bit of paint around the room is a great way to personalise a new baby’s bedroom. Keep in mind, though, that at this early age a bedroom is for sleeping so avoid bright colours that could be over-stimulating. If you’re painting furniture, always use non-toxic paint (because chances are it will get gnawed on!). Keep in mind, too, that colour schemes are the easiest things to change as your child gets older, so if you choose a pastel green now then change your mind further down the track, you’re not committed to it forever.
Basic budget, under £100: DIY mural using paint pots
Mid-range budget, £250: all-over wall colour
High-end budget, over £500: professional painting including a themed mural like a forest or mountain-scape
A nursery isn’t just a place for a baby to sleep, it’s also where parents will spend a lot of time. At first a bassinet or cradle is all Baby will need before they graduate to a cot and later a ‘big kid’s bed’. A change table will save your back while doubling as storage, while a comfortable armchair or daybed is really handy for feeding.
The perfect spot for a nursery
Where in the house your nursery will go is also important to consider. The ideal location is close to your bedroom and away from disturbance that could be generated in other parts of the house, by neighbours or by road noise. Think about split-level homes too; 2am feeds will be much easier if the nursery is on the same floor as your bedroom.
Crafting a cosy, comfortable nursery helps in those first few months of coping with your exciting (yet scary) new life with a newborn. For more information about how you can create a nursery in your own home, contact Refresh Renovations today.
*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Refresh Renovations specialist. All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.