Valeria Crescenzi

How to create a happy and functional nursery

A bunch of days ago, I created a quiz on Instagram asking what rooms you would have liked me to cover next on the blog. You spoke about your preferences and asked for kids’ room ideas. 

‘Kids room ideas’ is a topic that has been on my radar for a while (long enough to already have a dedicated Pinterest board) but this is the first time I write an article about it on the blog. 

In my humble opinion, before starting to share ideas and practical tips, there is an important distinction to make: from 0 to 3 yo we usually talk about nurseries, from 3 to 10 yo we talk about kids’ rooms. I don’t wanna sound too academic but babies have different needs from toddlers and this is a crucial aspect to keep in mind when creating your child’s first home.

That’s why today we focus on how to create a happy and functional nursery. Later on, we’ll also talk about how to design a playful and comfortable kids’ room.

Let’s start with what I think is a very important aspect: a nursery is your baby’s first home and it should be a calming, inviting, functional and comfortable space.

To put together a happy baby’s place you need very few but high-quality furniture items

  • a crib/baby bed;
  • a changing unit;
  • a nursery chair.

It’s never too early to appreciate good design

Furniture for a happy and functional nursery


This is the investment piece in a nursery. The market offers many options for cribs/baby beds with many of them growing with your children. I personally like a bed that can be easily transformed from a newborn’s crib to a kid’s bed: this allows us to buy only one piece of furniture and keep it until the age of 6 or even 10 yo.

Before browsing the numerous models and brands, be sure the crib/baby bed meets all the safety standards. Safety increased significantly in the latest 10 years and there are official guides you can check out before buying the furniture for the nursery. If you live in Europe, you might want to check the Child Product Safety Guide; if you are based in the US read the guidelines of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Once checked for the safety standards, have fun and go for the style you want to pull out. I am particularly drawn to gender-neutral styles (that are also a strategic choice in case you are planning to have more kids).

Since we aim to create an inviting and comfortable nursery, choose items that are both beautiful and functional. For example, in a baby bed, an adjustable base is a big plus: it makes it easier to lift your children out of and put them into the bed — especially during the first months when they need better support on the back and neck.

sebra bed, baby+jr – photo courtesy: sebra
muka evolutive bed, charlie crane paris – photo courtesy of charlie crane
baby cot – flexa. photo PHOTO: HANS SANDGREN, courtesy of flexa


Note that I am writing ‘changing unit’ and not ‘changing table’. Although I have no objections against changing tables, I believe a changing unit is a better choice because it ensures a comfortable changing tray and at the same time plenty of storage for the little clothes and baby-care products.

Changing units usually have a top that can be removed once the baby will grow up and the furniture piece can still be used as a traditional dresser. A general rule of thumb is: if you can envision the furniture evolve with your baby growth than it’s worth the money!

harlequin changing unit, camcam copenhagen. photo courtesy of camcam copenhagen
oliver furniture wood changing unit – photo courtesy of oliver furniture
flexa changin unit – photo: hans sandgren , courtesy of flexa
leander classic changing unit dresser – photo courtesy of leander

TIP for a small nursery – If you are a little tight on space, go for a wall-mounted changing table. It doesn’t provide as much storage as a traditional changing unit but assures you have enough storage for baby-care products and diapers while saving on the overall nursery space.


This might be an overlooked item when designing a nursery. But a nursery chair can be a real game-changer. You are going to spend a lot of time in this room and you should choose items that support your activities.

You might want to opt for a rocking chair: it helps you when lulling your baby and rocks her/him to sleep. Go for a rocking chair with armrests and that can be easily cleaned. Remember: function is key, the form will follow!

TIP: if you have plenty of space, you could also opt for a sofa to comfortably seat and relax with your baby.

micuna rocking chair – photo courtesy micuna

One more thing…

To create a welcoming and inviting nursery, don’t forget to choose the right lighting fixtures. Avoid harsh lighting and aim for at least two (even better three) light layers.

In a nursery, the optimal combination would be having a ceiling fixture, a changing unit light, and a reading lamp. In such a way you’ll have a task-centered lighting combo exactly for the spots you need.

TIP: floor lamps, especially tall ones, can be dangerous in a nursery. They are more likely to fall, particularly when your baby will start to crawl. Go for table lamps (and remember to keep the cords safely hidden).

ice cream table lamp – photo courtesy takatomo
table lamp zara home – photo courtesy of zara home
moon lamp, crate & kids – photo courtesy crate & barrel

Kids furniture brands to check out

To help you navigate the endless options in terms of kids’ furniture brands, I’ve rounded up some of my favorites. These brands are some of the best on the market right now and work consciously to create safe and beautiful furniture and accessories for kids.

If you want to share your favorite ones, use the comment section at the end of the article or connect with me on Instagram.

Here is your go-to list of brands to check out to design your nursery












Additional essentials

Use a bin to store all that is related to diapers, wipes, etc… place it near the changing station so that you have everything at your fingertips. Have a look at this selection from Crate & Kids.

To complement the nursery consider buying a baby gym: you can basically use it from day one, or at least as soon as your baby is comfortable with lying on the back without being swaddled. A baby gym encourages your little one to interact with the surroundings and has many benefits from muscle strengthening to hand-eye coordination and tactile stimulation.

photo courtesy of done by deer
baby play gym, done by deer – photo courtesy of done by deer

Last but not least, you might need a baby bouncer (also called baby rocker). You can place it in the nursery or put it on the dining table when you are eating. It’s perfect for the baby to relax while you are, for example, working or eating and want to have her/him close.

levo baby rocker from charlie crane – photo courtesy of charlie crane

Decoration for a beautiful nursery

Once you got the key furniture items, you can focus on decoration. A couple of decor items that instantly make a nursery cozy are: a nice and soft carpet and curtains. The first will be a soft surface for the baby when he/she will start to crawl while the second will be very useful in adjusting the light in the room when the baby sleeps, especially during the day.

sebra textiles. photo courtesy of sebra
bedlinen, done by deer – photo courtesy of done by deer
nursery textiles – photo courtesy of sebra

Talking about textiles, don’t forget baby bedding sets, blankets, and cushions. Choose natural fibers that are soft, comfortable, and breathable such as certified organic cotton or linen.

Designing a whole new room can be intimidating but I assure you it will be real fun! To help you visualize the possible outcomes, I gathered some inspiring photos: they will guide you in building the perfect nursery setting for you. If you need extra help drop me a line: I would be happy to help you create your dream nursery.

Interior Design by Dina Bandman Interiors. Photography by Christopher Stark
photo courtesy of jillian harris
tiny tropic nursery by done by deer
image via pinterest
leander nursery setting – photo courtesy of leander
photo courtesy of mong decor on etsy
nursery setting – photo courtesy of justina blakeney via domino mag
photo courtesy rugs by roo


Cover photo: courtesy of Done by deer

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