- Choose pieces that will grow and change with your child. Convertible pieces of furniture are a big trend in children's furnishings. A dresser with a changing pad on top that can be removed once your baby grows out of diapers is a hot item. Convertible cribs that transform into full-size beds are also big sellers.
Many parents feel they will get more out of their money if they invest in a high quality crib that can turn into a high quality bed to be used for many years to come. The styles now available for children's furnishing are similar to adult versions. Many specialty children's furniture stores offer pieces in all types of styles, such as Mission, Shaker, Federal, English Cottage, and French Provincial, crafted in woods such as solid birch, cherry, mahogany, or natural oak. These beautiful pieces should easily make the transition from a baby's nursery into a teen's room or even a guest room.
- Experiment with color and whimsy! Why stick to the basic ways of decorating a nursery? Simple borders of pink bunnies for girls and blue sailboats for boys are still popular, but many experts recommend creating a fantastic and magical haven for young children and babies. "It's all less serious than the living room," said Linda Hallam, editor of Decorating Kids' Rooms: Nurseries to Teen Retreats. "And you don't have to spend much money to make a child's room upbeat."
- Choose practical, no-fuss furnishings that are easy to keep clean. When choosing colors and fabrics, keep in mind that the nursery is going to be one of the hardest places to keep clean, especially in the toddler years. Plan ahead by choosing stain-resistant and durable fabrics, carpeting, and other accessories. One expert suggests a vinyl-coated wall paper or eggshell-finish paint so the walls can be washed clean of fingerprints, crayon markings, and other elements of daily wear.
The nursery is the one place in the house where anything goes. So go for it! Wall murals and hand-painted furniture are easy ways to create magical rooms. You might paint a fairyland castle on a wall and accent the room with flower-shaped rugs. Or turn the room into a sports fanatic's shrine complete with a crib with baseball bats nailed into the legs and baseball finials. Knobs can be replaced with basketballs or hockey pucks. Frames, lamps, and bookends are all available in football, tennis, or soccer themes. And golf clubs make cool curtain rods. At Pottery Barn Kids they even offer a race track rug with customizable tracks.
Or, instead of discouraging drawing on the walls, you can encourage it! Paint a nursery wall with special blackboard paint, creating a surface that can be written on with chalk and erased. Distressed furniture is another fashionable yet practical way to decorate the nursery. These pieces already have the broken-in look and won't show any nicks and scratches that they may acquire through the years.