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Tips For Designing a Toddler Friendly Nursery


When you're first starting the exciting journey of designing and putting together the perfect nursery for your newest little family member, it might seem like an impossible concept that one day FAR too soon, they will need to transition from a nursery to a big kid room.

Trust me, I didn't expect it to go that quickly. I thought "eh, I've got a couple of years! No need to think about it now!" and went about my merry way designing this beautiful nursery space for my daughter. I filled it with valuable heirlooms and vintage books. I repainted a gorgeous vintage dresser, and added a beautiful rug to the space to cozy it all up. I was in love with the space and I used to just sit in there rocking my daughter, admiring everything in her space.

And then she started crawling.

Once she was on the move, there was no stopping her and she wanted to be in to EVERYTHING. I quickly realized the error of my ways... In my mission to create the most beautiful nursery, I didn't even consider what I would do when she started to move around and explore the world. Not a single thing in my nursery was baby-proofed, and we just resorted to NEVER playing in there for fear of her getting hurt.

Looking back now, there are a few things I would have done differently to make that transition from sweet, cuddly infant to curious toddler a little easier on myself to save the stress of gutting the room and making it more baby-friendly only 6 months after putting the finishing touches on it.


#1 - ANCHOR ANY AND ALL FURNITURE


This was mistake #1. I found two beautiful bookcases that were the exact same shade of wood as the crib I purchased and was thrilled. I purchased them, rushed home and set them up. When they were completely assembled, I realized that they weren't the sturdiest things in the world, but reasoned that once I'd filled them with the books and knick-knacks I had been collecting, they would be fine.


Wrong.


The second my daughter crawled to one of the bookcases for the first time, it wobbled slightly and I dove in some-what dramatic fashion to save her. Just to clarify, she wasn't actually in immediate danger and it was definitely a new-mom overreaction BUT it did make me realize the importance of making sure ANY furniture, even if it seems sturdy and shouldn't topple, should be anchored to the walls.


Accidents take 2 seconds to happen and for your own peace of mind during your exhausted, new parent days, do yourself this favour in advance. I promise you will thank yourself later.



#2 - VINTAGE BOOK = TEETHER?


I have vivid and wonderful memories of browsing through vintage stores and scrolling through pages and pages of decor online while trying to track down the perfect pieces to make the entire space come together. I had a vision and was determined to make sure it happened.


Imagine the look on my face when, to my horror, my sweet little babe crawled right over to a stack of vintage books and immediately shoved the corner of a beautiful poetry book from 1880 into her mouth. I was equal parts disgusted (because who the heck knows where that book has been in the last 140 years!) and horrified at the damage her little baby mouth might cause to this precious piece.


The very first order of business after that happened was to remove any decor that I didn't want to become a teething toy, because the truth of the matter is that a baby will put anything - read it: ANYTHING - in their mouths. Did my daughter know that she was ruining a beautiful piece that was over a hundred years old? Not at all. She was simply exploring her newfound freedom and the world she is growing up in like all babies should.


So take this little piece of wisdom that I have learned the hard way and, before letting your perfect little one free to explore their room, give it a quick scan from 3ft down... You and your priceless heirloom-type pieces can thank me later.



#3 - KEEP THINGS SIMPLE


There was an acronym that we learned in middle school that has stuck with me ever since - K.I.S.S. It affectionately stands for "Keep It Simple, Stupid", and while at the time my pre-teen self used to giggle at it anytime I saw it written on the board as a reminder to not overthink the work we were doing and to keep things simple and efficient, I had no idea at the time just how often this concept would quite literally save me from myself.


I love details. There's something super special to me about picking out each tiny piece of whatever I am putting together and watching my vision come to life... But I am also a victim of overthinking and over planning. This usually comes out in the form of a few too many items crammed onto one shelf. I can admit that I get caught up in the romance of browsing beautiful shops and choosing things that bring me joy, and I lose the concept and the feel I was going for to begin with.


Long story short: simple is key. Don't add too many things to the space, or overthink where the furniture goes or how the dresser looks on that wall or another. The reality is that the more simple you can keep the space, the easier it will be to transition if you feel things need a bit of a makeover when you have a teeny crawler in your house.


Does this mean that you need to skip all of those beautiful details that bring you joy? No, not at all! It just means to take a step back, choose your pieces with intention and keep in mind that this space you are putting together needs to be fluid for the next few years as your little one learns to live in the space they're given.




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