How to set up your baby's nursery

Nurseries have become big business in homewares and interior design.

In the four years since I had my first daughter they’ve turned from a baby room with a cot and a change table with a few teddies and a hanging mobile, to beautifully decorated and styled rooms with designer furniture, organic bed linen and $250 Scandinavian designed stuffed toys.

Stylists and interior designers have created a whole new industry out of designing, and styling baby rooms. And, they’re in demand!

You can even hire someone to select all your nursery wares and furniture for you, style them in a mood board and then if you like set it all up.

Amazing… if you have the money.

But, what are the practicalities in setting up the nursery? What do you actually NEED?

I’ve listed a few tips I’ve found most helpful in the three baby rooms I’ve had in the past four years.

1. Keep it dark

Bright nurseries that are all white and full of natural light look amazing. They make for stunning images on design blogs and Instagram, and give mums-to-be tonnes of inspiration for setting up their baby's room.

Just make sure your nursery isn’t too bright, otherwise your baby won’t be able to sleep. And sleep is what they need a lot of in the first year!

Up until 12 months of age babies need at least two day sleeps of an hour or two each, so a light-filled, bright nursery just isn’t a great idea if you want your baby to sleep.

Ensure you have some curtains, block-out blinds, plantation shutters or darkened blinds.

This will make the room is dark enough for your baby to get to sleep during the day and their 7pm bedtime during daylight savings time.

This nursery looks gorgeous, but might be a bit too bright for a baby to sleep soundly in.

My baby’s room has timber venetian blinds as well as dark curtains for day sleeps which make the room quite dark.

2. Buy a comfortable chair

A nursery chair can not only be a stylish design feature of your room, but is also a practical necessity.

Whether you breastfeed, bottle feed, or mixed feed you will spend a lot of time in a chair, so make sure you get a comfortable one.

It doesn’t have to be expensive – I have one from Ikea that’s very comfortable.

Ensure you can sit upright in it for feeding, it's big enough to make you feel relaxed, you can add cushions for extra comfort, and it will grow with your child.

When babies need 10 or more feeds in those early days, trust me, you’ll be happy you bought a comfortable chair.

A comfy chair is a nursery necessity.

When your baby grows into a toddler, then a child, it can become a reading chair for the many, many stories you’ll read them!

Oh, and make sure it’s within close proximity to a power point, because you will need to put it next to your next nursery necessity: a light!

3. Buy a good night light

By a "good" night light I mean one that you can see and read with.

I have spent many, many hours in my nursery at night feeding, expressing, rocking to sleep, nursing to sleep, comforting when sick. I can assure you that a light you can actually see with is essential.

There are some beautiful, stylish and design-savvy lights on the market, especially designed for baby and kid’s rooms, but practically speaking, buy one that is bright enough for you to read with.

You will be surprised at how small the instructions are on the side of a medicine bottle, especially when your tired eyes are trying to read the correct dosage at 3am!

Also, ensure it is dim enough to be a night light that you can leave on to help get your baby to sleep.

If you choose your light wisely it will last into their childhood as a storytime, then bedside light.

A light next to the chair is practical, stylish and necessary.

4. Storage

Babies are so tiny when they first come home from hospital, but they grow quickly and accumulate a LOT of stuff.

Not only clothing; but wraps, blankets, sleeping bags, nappies, rugs, toys, books, puzzles, keepsakes, etc. – so decent storage, and lots of it, is a necessity.


Buy a decent-sized chest of drawers for your baby’s clothes – they grow so quickly that pretty soon you’ll need lots of space for singlets, jumpsuits, onesies, leggings, tops, hoodies and socks… plus the other bazillion items of clothing they have.

Baby clothes are teensie, and tricky to put on coathangers (not to mention fiddly and annoying) so drawers are much easier for storing their clothes.


Shelves are also a great idea for all the little titbits babies have, such as books, games, puzzles, jewellery boxes and keepsake boxes, photo frames, and all the stuffed toys you’ll no doubt receive.

They take up a LOT of space!

Bookshelves are a perfect storage solution and look great

5. Invest in a table for next to your chair

A little table, or a bedside table with a drawer is also a good idea to put next to your nursery chair.

When feeding you’ll need to put a bottle of water, snacks, mobile phone and anything else that needs to be within reach, especially when you may spend up to an hour feeding (like I did).

And in the early days when you’re establishing breastfeeding, you don’t want to stop feeding to get up to get something. It's annoying and disrupts the baby too. Have it all within easy reach.

A stool looks stylish, but a table with a drawer is a better idea. Inside the draw you can keep items you need to keep nearby but out of reach from little hands like a thermometer, lip balm, hair ties, medications, bottle teats (and spare chocolate bars!).

Plus it’s also a good place to sit your light!

6. Make it comfy

And finally, make it a space that YOU feel comfortable in.

After all, you are the one who’s going to spend more time in it than anyone else (apart from baby of course).

*Written by Adrienne @ Stylish Bump

Stylish Bump gives you some inspiration for your baby’s room, what to wear when pregnant, post baby and beyond and you find some helpful hints and tips along the way.*