All the options…
They are endless! Unless you are an interior design professional or perhaps decorating is a personal hobby that you just love – chances are, seeing all the options out there for a baby’s nursery can ignite a load of panic and overwhelm.
The big box companies certainly don’t help this either with their clever marketing and having dozens of choices to pick from. Then there is Pinterest – you could seriously spend hours scrolling through all of the nursery designs.
Take a deep breath.
First of all – let’s backtrack a bit. Does a baby even need all of those things in their nursery?
Quick answer – no. Long answer – it doesn’t mean you can’t create a nice space for your little one. However, you don’t need to have it all done prior to the birth. Many parents prefer this though because once the baby is here and especially if mom has to return back to work, there won’t be much time to put the nursery together.
Whether you plan on co-sleeping or not with your baby, it is still a good idea to have a designated space for your baby for napping, playing and storage of their clothes and toys. As your baby grows, this space will be used more and more.
A Natural Nursery
Paint – let’s start with the basics. Painting the nursery is often seen as the first step in many movies. You usually see the husband and wife happily painting the nursery and transforming a room once used as an office or guest room into their little one’s new space. So, naturally, this is a good place to begin.
There is much debate on the proper color scheme for a nursery. Some argue bold bright colors because it is a fact that newborns can distinguish high contrast colors and patterns and bold primary colors more easily. You will see many toy manufacturers using this in their designs with these bright color tones and patterns. On the flip side – others argue a more restful retreat, with softer neutrals.
When choosing your color scheme, it really boils down to what you want as the baby will receive all the love and stimulation he or she needs from you and other family members. Nursing/feeding, snuggles and kisses, and noises around the home are enough to satisfy your growing baby’s sensory needs.
To keep it natural – keep your attention off what color and focus more on what type. Steer clear of the conventional paint that has aldehyde, heavy metals, and VOC’s (which can “off-gas” chemicals for years).
Affirmation of the Week: Slow Down, Calm Down, Don’t Worry, Don’t Hurry. I trust the Process.
Be careful when selecting a low VOC or environmentally safe paint as even low VOC paints contain high VOC colorants and companies do not have to disclose this on their labeling.
When shopping for paint – look for ones that are truly green paints, using natural materials in place of:
- Heavy metals
Terms to look for: ECOS Paints, Unearthed Paints, Old Fashioned Milk Paint or ones labeled “zero-VOC and zero-VOC colorant”. Brands to check: Mythic, Sherwin-Williams Emerald or Benjamin Moore Natura
Save on the changing tables and opt for a two-for-one deal like a dresser with a non-toxic changing pad on top. Many dressers are now being designed to grow with your child like the cribs are. This means you can find ones that have a removable changing tray. However, it is tricky to find natural furniture with these handy additions.
The key is to buy furniture that is real wood. Most furniture items you see are made from press-wood, particleboard, and composite materials. Remember that many babies once they can move and stand up, will have their mouths all over the crib rails!
When shopping for furniture – look for wood that has:
- Solid and sustainable materials
- Free of formaldehyde
- Free of VOCs
- Free of phthalates
If you receive second-hand furniture as a pass-down or shop for it all used, then refinish it with a non-toxic stain. That furniture has already spent a lot of time off-gassing which is good for you!
Look for ones that are made from organic or eco-friendly materials. Free of:
- Flame retardants
Final tips – Pull carpeting if you can and replace with a natural area rug with natural fibers. Take down all old curtains and toss and replace with natural wood shades or organic cotton curtains. Throw in some natural wooden toys and your natural nursery is complete!