How to choose the perfect nursery furniture for your baby
When you’re creating a special room for your new arrival, you’ll want furniture that’s stylish, practical and built to last
Planning your baby’s nursery is an exciting part of your pregnancy – and a project that’s worth taking your time to get right. As well as making those all-important decisions about colours and themes, you’ll need to pick furniture that matches the overall look you’re creating, while still delivering on quality and versatility.
Along with somewhere safe and comfy for your baby to sleep, you’ll need storage for your baby’s clothes, toys and accessories, making well-designed dressers and wardrobes real nursery must-haves.
Of course, you can hunt around for all these items separately but lots of parents-to-be opt instead to buy furniture sets that are designed to co-ordinate and to last your baby as they grow and develop through their early years. What’s more, when you buy a whole set, you’ll often be able to take advantage of a ‘bundle offer’ and save money.
Save up to 50% on Silver Cross nursery furniture bundles!
Silver Cross has an extensive collection of quality nursery furniture ranges – many of which are featured in the rest of this article. Browse the collection and get inspiration for your baby’s nursery.
First things first: find your style
You may already have a clear idea of the colours and themes you want for your baby’s nursery. Or you may still be a little unsure. But whether you’ve already assembled a detailed mood board or you’re only just beginning to form some initial ideas, it’s important to remember that the nursery furniture you choose needs to fit seamlessly with your chosen look – in terms of style, shape and finish.
As you’d expect from a reputable British brand like Silver Cross, all their nursery furniture is expertly crafted and beautifully designed but each set has its own unique style. To help you create a wonderful, nurturing room for your baby with nursery furniture that perfectly reflects your own design aesthetic, ask yourself which of the following best describes the look you’re after:
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- Modern and elegant. The Bromley collection has a classy, contemporary feel, with clean lines, a pure-white painted finish and round, solid-cast pewter handles.
- Dreamy and traditional. The Nostalgia collection combines elegant curves and scrolled detailing for a classic fairytale look. All the pieces – including a sleigh-style cotbed – have a satin-white finish and round cast-pewter handles.
- Natural and minimal. The Ascot collection (pictured above) combines stylishly clean lines with a beautiful, warm textured-oak finish and elegant satin chrome handles.
- Sleek and contemporary. The Hoxton collection is all about structured simplicity, with its sleek, understated detailing. Painted in anthracite grey, it has warm-oak handles and feet that add just a touch of Japanese minimalism.
Once you’ve nailed the style you’re after, you’ll need to select the furniture pieces to buy. Here’s your guide to the key items you’ll need for your nursery – and what special features to look out for…
The cot or cotbed is your most important buy, as it’s where your baby will sleep for at least a couple of years – probably longer.
Crucially, though, for the 1st 6 months, your baby needs to sleep in the same room as you – it’s a safe-sleep recommendation from The Lullaby Trust, the charity that works to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Of course, you can solve this by simply moving your baby’s cot or cotbed into your bedroom. Or, if you prefer – or if space is tight – you can start off with your newborn sleeping in a smaller, more short-term sleeping space, such as a crib or Moses basket or a co-sleeper (that attaches to your adult bed). The Silver Cross Voyager Co-Sleeper doubles as a co-sleeper and stand-alone crib – meaning you have some flexibility in how close your baby sleeps to you, as time passes and they grow into a more settled routine. The Voyager has adjustable height positions and mesh sides for maximum air flow, and it also folds easily and quickly, so you can stow in its travel bag and use it for overnight stays.
It’s basically all about longevity and versatility. Cots are designed to provide a safe sleeping space for babies and children up to around 2 years old, while cotbeds are designed to convert, when a child is old enough, from a cot into a toddler bed that’s suitable for children up to around 4 years old. So, while you’ll need to buy a separate toddler, junior or adult bed for your baby once they’ve outgrown their cot, with a cot bed, you’re essentially getting 2 beds in 1. You can read more about the pros and cons of both cot options in this Cot or Cotbed? guide.
What to look for when choosing a cot or cotbed
- The number of base positions
In order to get your baby in and out of a cot, you need to lean over the sides and reach down to the mattress. This can be tricky, especially if you’ve had a C-section or you’ve got a sore back or other post-pregnancy aches and pains. So it’s worth ensuring the cot or cotbed you choose has a base that can be raised up, allowing you to keep baby as close to arm’s reach as possible.
Obviously, as your baby grows and become more active, you’ll need to lower the base (preferably in stages), to ensure that, as your baby can’t accidentally fall or climb out. Impressively, the Silver Cross cotbeds all have 3 adjustable height levels in cot mode – meaning that, with a few flicks of an Allen key (included), you can raise or lower the mattress to be at as comfortable a height as possible for you and your baby, from newborn to toddler.
- The size
Cots can vary in size and even shape (most are rectangular, but some are oval), so get out your measuring tape to make sure you know what size space you have in your nursery for your cot to sit in. You’ll need to factor it that you’ll need enough room to walk around the cot, at least on 1 side, and that you’ll position the cot away from potential hazards, such as hanging mirrors, shelves, power cables, radiators and draughty windows or chimneys.
Just as important is the size of the mattress needed: does the cot you’re considering takes a standard-size mattress? In the UK, that’s 60cm x 120cm for a cot and 70cm x 140cm for a cotbed. Most cot-sheet sizes follow these measurements, so choosing a cot that takes one of these sizes of mattress will make it much easier (and probably less expensive) to find suitable bedding. Happily, Silver Cross makes cotbeds designed to precisely fit standard UK cotbed mattresses, along with its own range of cot sheets.
- The storage possibilities
You can never have too much storage, and this is particularly true once you have a baby, as clothes, blankets and toys seem to multiply at an alarming rate! So, it makes sense to consider a cot that has storage built-in, where you can stow bedding, including sheets and all-important mattress protectors. The Silver Cross Nostalgia sleigh cot bed is ideal because it features a full-length base drawer divided into 2 neat compartments.
And, if it’s a cotbed you’re considering…
- How easy is it to convert into a toddler bed?
Just as it’s important to consider how simple it is to adjust the base height of the cot, it’s key to factor in how easy it is to convert the cot into a toddler bed. Unsurprisingly, Silver Cross cot beds are really straightforward to convert from a cot into a toddler bed – you just need the Allen key supplied to unfasten the bolts that hold the side bars and solid ends in place before lifting them away from the frame and base.
- What does that toddler bed look like?
Make sure you’re happy with the appearance of the bed that it remains true to the style you’ve chosen – as it will be in your child’s nursery for several years. With the Silver Cross Nostalgia (pictured below), for example, the beautiful scrolled curves of the cot bed are maintained by retaining the top portion of the cot foot and headboards when converted into a bed.
- Does it have a toddler headboard?
Headboards don’t just look good; they prevent pillows slipping off the bed, and can help make your toddler’s transition from cot to bed a smooth one, as they offer a sense of protection. This is particularly important if the bed has open space, rather than a wall, at the head end. All Silver Cross cot beds have both foot and headboards that are half the height of the ends used in cot mode, helping to add to the look of the bed and your toddler’s sense of security.
- Does it convert into a day bed?
A day bed is somewhere between a cot and a toddler bed, with one of the side panels of bars removed but the other intact, along with the full-size foot and headboards. It’s a great halfway stage for a child who no longer needs the full protection of cot bars and wants more independence but isn’t quite ready for a toddler bed.
What to look for when choosing a mattress for your cot or cotbed
Choosing the right mattress for your baby’s cot or cot bed is vital as it makes the sleep space safe, secure and comfortable. Your baby needs a firm, clean, breathable and supportive mattress and it must be new. The danger with re-using mattresses that the mattress may have lost its shape and become soft: that won’t just make it less comfortable; it can also make it harder for your baby to turn over safely. Also, second-hand mattresses may contain hidden bacteria and dust mites.
The mattress must fit exactly into the cot or cot bed, leaving no spaces between it and the edge of the base or sides that little arms and legs could become trapped in. The 3 mattresses in the Silver Cross True Fit collection have square-shaped corners that minimise the gaps between the cot bed and mattress by fitting edge-to-edge, for added peace of mind.
Designed and made in Britain, the Silver Cross True Fit mattresses tick all the other safety boxes as they’re made with breathable, hypo-allergenic fabric with moisture-wicking properties to keep your baby warm (but not too hot) and dry. Additionally, these mattresses contain foam that conforms to the strictest fire safety standards and are covered with water-resistant fabric to protect against little accidents. And their covers can easily be zipped off for washing at 60°C.
The 3 mattresses in the range are Classic, Superior and Premium. The reversible and quilted Classic has 6 different layers to keep your baby comfortable and safe, while the Superior mattress has a firmer side for babies aged 0 to 18 months and a softer side for toddlers aged over 18 months, as well as a super soft Tencel cover. For the ultimate baby comfort, the Premium has 7 layers, boasts anti-allergy and anti-microbial properties and has a thermo-regulating cover.
All 3 mattresses feature pocket springs, individual steel coils sewn into fabric pockets in the mattress core that provide flexible, targeted support for your growing baby as they sleep. These springs distribute weight evenly for a better night’s sleep for your baby and help keep the mattress in good condition for longer.
The dresser with changer
A dresser is a set of drawers used to store clothing but, unlike a standard chest of drawers, which is narrow and tall, a dresser is usually wide and short. This is an ideal piece of furniture for your baby’s nursery as it won’t tower over a cot or toddler bed, it will be easily accessible for your child as they grow and it’s wide enough to be used as a nappy-changing surface for your baby when they’re small. Indeed, the smartest dressers have integrated changer tops, offering 2 pieces of furniture in 1 – a changing station and set of drawers.
Removable changer tops provide the best of both worlds with a stable and secure space to change your baby for as long as you need it, then, later, the top of the dresser can be left clear for books, toys and other toddler paraphernalia. As you’d expect from a brand that prides itself on intelligent design, Silver Cross has made removable changer tops a feature on the stylish dressers in its ranges.
Having storage in your baby’s nursery is always a good idea as it means everything is right where you need it, when you need it, putting an end to stumbling from the nursery into your room in the middle of the night to find a clean babygro or sheet after a nappy leak. Dresser drawers are the ideal place for storing your baby’s folded clothes and keeping nightwear and bedding in easy reach of where your baby sleeps and gets dressed.
The Silver Cross Hoxton dresser (pictured above) has an extra genius touch: 3 deep soft-close drawers with oak finished handles that not only look superb but also remain quiet as they glide back into place. Perfect for those moments when you need to grab something from inside without waking your sleeping child.
A nursery wardrobe is a great option as it can become your child’s wardrobe as they grow, taking them from newborn to school age. Used to store everything from tiny onesies to school uniform, the wardrobe will be an indispensable piece of furniture – as long as you look out for the features that will make it work harder.
The first thing to check are the number of rails and their height. Twin rails – where one sits higher and the other lower – are ideal as it allows you to double up on hanging space and means your growing child will be able to reach the lower rail, helping them become independent. Some wardrobes, such as those in the Ascot and Nostalgia Silver Cross ranges, have height-adjustable rails that allow you to alter the hanging height as your child’s clothes become larger, which is hugely helpful.
Aside from rails, shelves and drawers are always useful storage additions to a wardrobe. The overhead shelf in the elegant Silver Cross Bromley wardrobe provides extra space to stow large folded items such as towels and blankets or even boxes, while the base drawers in the Hoxton (pictured above), Nostalgia and Ascot wardrobes cleverly and discreetly maximise space.
As with its matching dresser, the Silver Cross Hoxton wardrobe, in keeping with its sleek design, has soft-close mechanisms on its drawer and doors, preventing them from slamming shut.
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