Setting up and decorating your baby’s room is a rite of passage, with the nesting urge usually kicking in around the beginning of the third trimester. But, as some babies arrive ahead of time, try to avoid leaving everything until the last minute. Whether you’re redecorating the spare room or making space in your bedroom, here’s our guide to getting ready ahead of time so you can create a special space for your baby.

Planning and budgeting

Start thinking about your baby’s nursery early in your pregnancy. Visualise how you want it to look, perhaps drawing a quick sketch and writing a must-have list, to get your ideas down on paper. Next, measure the length and width of the room to make sure you know exactly how much space you have to work with.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get the space you want. Re-purposing furniture being used elsewhere in the house, or looking in second-hand or charity shops or online on sites like Gumtree and Ebay will help you save money while recycling.

It’s a good idea to order new furniture no later than five months into your pregnancy because delivery of items may take as long as three months. Factor in plenty of room around the cot so you can move easily while settling and picking up your baby, and be sure to position the changing table not too far from the cot.

If you need to rearrange or assemble any furniture in the last two months of your pregnancy, feel perfectly entitled to ask someone else to do it for you!


Some parents like to pick a distinctive theme for their little one’s room, such as circus, jungle or nursery rhyme theme. Others use colour to create a personalised place for their baby. Bright accessories will add pop, but be mindful that you’re trying to create a soothing environment for your bub.

Using wall stickers and decals are fun ways to decorate, and they’re also easy to remove without damaging the paint if you decide to update the look later on.
If you don’t know whether you’re having a boy or a girl, there are plenty of designs that are gender neutral, such as trees or animals in neutral hues.

Must haves

Create a gift list for your baby shower to avoid doubling up on items you already have. When you reach the 36-week mark, wash baby clothes and linen, then stock up on basics like nappies and wipes so you’ll have one less thing to worry about when your new addition arrives.

Don't forget…

To take an outfit and nappies to the hospital to bring your baby home in.

Essential nursery items

Cot or bassinet

Some mums like to go straight to using the cot, to get the baby used to it, but it can feel rather over-whelming for a tiny newborn. Either start with a bassinet or put the baby and bassinet inside the cot until they are big enough to be moved to the cot. You’ll want some sort of mobile sleeping area for trips away from home or overnight. A foldway travel cot is great – they can be left at houses you visit regularly like grandparents – as they are easy to assemble and store. A bassinet is useful for this while the baby is small, as is a pram that has a detachable seat that allows the baby to lie flat.

Change table

Having somewhere secure to change your baby’s nappy is important. A chest of drawers with a change mat on top does the job just as well, and if you don’t have the room, you can always use the bed. Make sure whatever you use allows you to have all the bots and bobs you need for a nappy change – nappies, wipes, cream – stored nearby.

Baby monitor

Baby monitors allow you to keep a check on your baby from somewhere else in the house without constantly going into the room, potentially disturbing their sleep. There are very simple versions which monitor the sound in the room, all the way up to ones with screens and even mobile phone apps.

Sleeping bags

Baby sleeping bags are a safe way of keeping your baby warm, without the risk of them getting lost under the covers or kicking covers off, leaving them cold.

Feeding chair

A special chair for feeding makes it more comfortable for you to feed your baby, especially during the night when you are tired. If you don’t have room for a big armchair, even a foldaway camping chair with a blanket over it will do the job.

Baby gym

A place where your baby can lie and be stimulated by colourful toys is a lovely addition to a nursery. Make sure your baby gets some tummy time as well as time on their backs.

Safety tips

Keep these important tips in mind when you’re shopping for furniture and furnishings.

● Choose a cot that complies with Australian product safety standards to prevent your baby’s limbs and head from becoming stuck in the slats. To reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), keep soft toys, pillows, doonas, bumpers or lamb’s wool out of the cot.

● Keep curtains and cords far away from the cot so your baby can’t reach out and grab them.

● Cover electrical outlets and choose furniture with curved edges to keep bub from harm.

● If you have wooden floors, place a non-slip rug underneath the cot and change table to prevent it from moving around.