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 $1000, between $1000 and $5000 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. Annette Faumasili from Serene Sleep says that light in the room affects melatonin levels in a baby, which is a hormone that’s produced in darkness and induces sleep. 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 $300: Off-the-shelf thermal-backed curtains from the likes of The Warehouse or Briscoes are pretty good quality and affordable. They may not fully-prevent light from entering the room though.
Mid-range budget, $300-$500: Roman or roller blackout blinds are good at restricting the amount of light that gets into a room.
High-end budget, over $1000: Automated blinds control the amount of light that gets into a nursery at particular times of the day.
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,” says Annette.
Basic budget, under $20: Plug-in sensor lights can be purchased from good hardware stores like Bunnings and Mite 10 Mega.
Mid-range budget, $200-$500: A dimmer lighting switch will help you manually control the level of lighting in a room.
High-end budget, over $500: A remote-controlled lighting system can be managed by your smartphone or tablet.
Along with lighting, heating is one of the most important features of a well-functioning nursery. Rob McEwan from Refresh Renovations in Auckland suggests that a room that sits between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature for a baby to sleep comfortably.
Basic budget, under $200: a stand-alone oil heater that’s controlled by a thermostat (although keep in mind that these can be expensive to run)
Mid-range budget, $500-$1000: panel heaters fixed to the wall
High-end budget, over $1500: a ducted heat pump, central heating system or heat transfer system from an existing home ventilation system
McEwan says that 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 $100: Use baskets on the floor and behind closed doors to store toys, books and other baby-related paraphernalia.
Mid-range budget, $100-$250: Construct a kitset bookshelf from Ikea or similar and insert pull-out baskets into the shelves.
High-end budget, over $1000: 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 $50: DIY mural using paint pots
Mid-range budget, under $500: all-over wall colour
High-end budget, over $1000: 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 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 (even a daybed) for Mum or Dad to sit in while feeding can really make or break the overall feel and usage of a nursery too.
The perfect spot for a nursery
While not directly related to the price of a renovation, 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; midnight 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.