It’s true that predictions of a baby boom because of lockdown have been largely exaggerated. In fact, a recent report in The Independent suggested the UK could see it’s lowest birth rate since records began. But that doesn’t mean that everyone’s put starting (or growing) their family on hold.
If you are welcoming a new child into the home in 2021, you’ll want to make sure they have a lovely space to call their own once they're here: it could even be a nice (and worthwhile) project to keep you busy during lockdown.
But how should you do it? We asked Lucy Shrimpton, sleep expert and founder of The Sleep Nanny. “My tip is to decorate how you like,” she says.
“Some people worry that the decor may be bad for sleep, but the main thing is that when it comes to sleep time they don’t have any crazy light shows, projectors, mobiles whizzing around or visual things that are going to encourage a child or a baby to look at them and keep their eyes open.”
“Make sure you have blackout blinds to keep out the natural light for daytime naps or the spring and summer. If you can, avoid the cot being beside the window to avoid draughts, outdoor noise and, when they get bigger and are able to stand, pulling at blinds, which could be a safety risk."
"Make sure the nursery is dark and not too stimulating, with a temperature of 18 to 20C, so it’s not too hot or too cold. Keep it reasonably quiet – if you have a noisy area white noise can help with that soothing atmosphere,” she advises.
With all this in mind, we’ve found the best products to kit our your nursery with, from cots to mobiles and storage.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
A baby bed is essential for the nursery, and, for pure style and elegance, we love this Snuz snuzkot skandi cot bed (£309.99, Wayfair) which will last your child from birth right up until the age of 10 with the addition of an extension.
It’s made of natural beech and is super solid. Landing a spot in our review of the best baby beds, our tester said: “Made with natural beech wood, the solid frame and sturdy design means it will last through lots of rounds of jumping on the bed and pillow fights with siblings.”
For style at under £200, this Tutti Bambini cozee bedside crib (£151.99, Wayfair), which we named our best buy, is also well worth considering.
It can be used as a co-sleeper and a cot, as our reviewer noted. “The adjustable height setting means it will fit safely to any bed, and if your little one suffers from reflux, you can adjust the incline to help your baby have a restful sleep. It can also be used as a standalone crib too. Genius.”
Note that this one will only last your baby until they’re sitting upright (approximately six months).
If you like the idea of a chair by your baby’s bed, you might want to think about one of our best rocking chairs. Or, for bedtime stories as they get older, perhaps a nice armchair for the nursery would be worth the investment.
We don’t think we’ve seen a more stunning storage solution than this lovely Up! Warsaw dreamy rainbow shelf (£105, A Place For Everything) which made it into our review of the best kids’ toy storage and will look gorgeous in any nursery set up.
Our tester noted: “It doesn’t hold masses, but for some smaller favourite toys, figures and books, and as a whimsical focal point on the wall, we were won over by it.” We can totally see why.
If you are looking for something that has a little more room (and as your baby gets bigger, there’s a fair chance you’ll want space for all those toys) this littleton toy box (£199, Cotswold Co) is the perfect buy, and was named our top pick for children’s storage.
Our reviewer said: “We managed to fit in an impressive number of toys – with room to spare. We particularly like the hinged, soft-close lid, which means there’s no chance of trapped fingers. Not the cheapest, granted, but the pleasingly sturdy and timeless design means we’re confident the price tag offers genuine longevity.”
A simple but pretty mobile can add a nice design touch to a nursery. Our tester of the best baby mobiles was taken with this happy weather baby mobile (£45, Meri Meri), saying: “We love the wooden hoop and crisp rope ties holding it all together; it feels really fresh and contemporary. A modern take on the absolute essence of mother nature.”
A stylish night light can give your nursery a great glow as well as being a nice decorative feature.
It has two characters on it, one playing and one sleeping. When the sleeping one is lit your child is encouraged to stay in bed, and when the light switches to the playing character it’s time to get up.
Not one for your baby straight away, of course, but as they get that bit older it might just go some way to teaching them to stay in bed that little bit longer so you can, hopefully, get a few more zzzs.
A pretty pastel print will look stunning adorning on any nursery wall: so why not consider this sweet, transport-themed one (£19.85, Kuskapstavlan).
It featured in our round-up of great gifts for new parents, with our tester noting that the prints “come in a variety of themes including ‘in the air’ and ‘on the way’, and make a bold addition to a nursery wall”. You’ll need to buy the frame separately.
There are lots of baby monitors on the market, with some that just have audio, while others have cameras too. This striking-looking Arlo baby monitor (£140, Amazon) not only looks great, but also does the job.
It made it into our rundown of the best baby monitors, with our reviewer noting: “It has everything you’d expect from a monitor at this price including a selection of lullabies to play to your baby, a colour-changing night light, a two-way speaker, rechargeable battery, and 1080p HD video.”
For more decor ideas, take a look at our feature on the Pantone colour of the year and how to style it