What to buy for your baby’s nursery

Cot or cotbed? Dimmers or night lights? And what are blackout blinds? Expert children's interior designers explain the essential best buys for your baby's room

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Cotbed, cot or crib?

One of the first dilemmas is where will your baby sleep? In a cot or cotbed – or will you use a crib or moses basket first?

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Cribs or moses baskets will only last for a few months, but have the advantage of being compact so you will probably be able to keep them close to your bed. Don’t forget you can also buy cots now that are designed to fit next to your bed, such as the Bednest – giving the closest and safest alternative to co-sleeping.

But which is it to be – cot or cotbed? Cotbeds are definitely more popular, outselling cots perhaps because of the long-lasting nature of cotbeds.

“If you have the space I always recommend a cotbed over a cot,” advises interior designer and author of Children’s Rooms, Andrea Maflin. “A cot bed will last until your little one gets to about 4 or 5, while a cot is only suitable to 2 or 3, then you’ll have to buy a separate bed.”

The solid beech Barcelona Cot Bed (above), currently on offer at £230, from ASPACE, features handy storage space underneath for your baby’s bits and bobs.

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Blackout blinds

“Young babies are really sensitive to light, so a blackout blind is invaluable to create a darkened room during the middle of the day or early in the evening or morning,” says interior designer Andrea. “There are lots of reasonably priced blinds on the market, so you don’t have to pay the earth for a couple of extra hours shut-eye in the morning.”

You could always add some curtains over the top of a blind to give the room a warmer feeling than just a blind itself. Never leave a blind cord hanging down as this is a major safety risk – make sure you use a safety cord and keep it well out of reach.

The colourful Elephant Blackout roller blind (above), from £30 depending on size, from John Lewis, will make your baby’s nursery feel light and airy, but help ensure their sleep isn’t over at the crack of dawn.

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Nursery Furniture

You’ll need somewhere to store your baby’s clothes – and initially you won’t have many clothes that need hanging up. You may want a chest of drawers that matches the cot, and wait for a while before buying a wardrobe.

So should you buy a baby changing unit? It’s a bit of a Marmite question – some mums love changing units, others will say they didn’t need one.

One designer who strongly believes in them is Kathryn Saggers, interior designer and property stylist for House Doctor.  “A changing unit is an essential piece of furniture for a nursery. They’re the perfect height for changing your baby without straining your back, and it’s a fantastic space and storage saver.”

Interior designer and author of Children’s Rooms, Andrea Maflin, agrees. “When your baby’s really young, it’s nice to have the flexibility to change him wherever you are in the house, so a moveable changing mat will do. But, as you settle into a routine, you’ll find it easier to have your changing area in one zone with all your equipment easily accessible.”

One of the many that caught our eye is the Hensvik baby unit (above), £60, from IKEA. The unit is lightweight and converts into a shelf unit when the changer is no longer required, offering a storage solution as your baby grows older.

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Lighting

Dimmer switches are a big help for keeping the light down when you’re creeping in for mid-evening checks.

They also stop you (and your baby) from being dazzled by bright light during night feeds.

A great option for those without dimmer switches is a nightlight. There are lots of cute and funky options, such as the Pixie night light, £35, from Beaba.

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Storage

When your baby arrives, you’ll probably be inundated with newborn baby gifts and toys. Add these to your haul of baby essentials, and you’ll be in need of a great storage unit. Good storage keeps essentials out of the way but within easy reach, and stops the nursery looking cluttered.

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Also think about whether you want an option that’s not fixed to a wall and is able to be moved easily – one gem that does the trick is the Acrobats storage chest on wheels, £34.30, from Vertbaudet.

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