Required: 1 cot or cot bed, 1 mattress, 1 dresser with changer, 3-6 small storage bins or boxes. Alternatively, we highly recommend buying a coordinating nursery furniture set.
Highly Recommended: 1 wardrobe
Recommended: 1 nursing chair or glider
Optional: 1 separate changing station or cot top changer – although you will require this if your dresser cannot be used as a changing station.
Nursery Furniture Buying Guide
Buying nursery furniture is a hugely enjoyable aspect of buying for baby, but it will likely be your biggest expenses so plan accordingly. Your personal style is important – you want a nursery design that is entertaining for baby, but also nursery furniture that is aesthetically pleasing to your eye and fits in with the rest of your home. Below, we offer general guidelines for buying your nursery furniture as well as specific tips and things to look for in each individual item.
All of our product recommendations meet the relevant UK, US, or European safety standards giving you peace of mind in making your buying decision. An extremely convenient option for buying baby furniture is to buy a matching nursery furniture set – it simplifies the buying process enormously and guarantees you get something that looks great. Nursery furniture sets typically consist of cot bed and dresser or cot bed, dresser and wardrobe – but there are options with up to 7 baby furniture pieces, and you can always add storage boxes or nursing gliders to your perfect nursery 2 or 3 piece room set as required.
Our favourite baby furniture featuring modern design comes from bloom and Stokke. For more traditional styles and beautiful sleigh cots, Boori produces lovely and very high quality furniture. At the super high end of the baby furniture market is British brand Bambizi, which combines amazing standards of craftsmanship with the best of modern design. Their truly unique designs cater to the A-list crowd. In terms of nursery furniture sets, our favourite range of beautiful white nursery furniture sets come from Kidsmill and Europe Baby. John Lewis carry a number of Silver Cross room sets which are wonderful for a more traditional nursery furniture finish. For more affordable baby furniture room set options, Crux Baby loves the stylish baby furniture sets available from Babystyle, Cosatto and Tutti Bambini.
Key Questions to Ask Before Buying
- Price: How much do you want to spend on your baby furniture?
- Space: How much space and storage exists in the room you will use for nursery?
- Ease of Use: Could you walk around easily, open and close drawers, etc in the space allocated once your baby furniture is installed?
- Durability: Is the nursery furniture durable enough to last into toddler and childhood years?
- Multipurpose: Will the nursery be used as a play area? Can the wardrobe be used for things other than baby clothes?
General Tips on Buying Nursery Furniture
- Invest in high quality nursery furniture: Buy the best that you can afford. Treat this purchase as an investment, and go for styles that will last.
- Invest in a good cot mattress: This is one of the least discussed but most important big purchases you will make as firm mattresses are critical for baby’s spinal development. Buy the best that you can afford.
- Space constraints: If space is limited, under cot storage and cot top changers become two priority best buys.
- Safety: Ensure nursery furniture meets relevant British, European or US safety standards – as all of our recommendations do.
- Simple is best: The safest baby furniture has simple lines and limited detail – infants can strangle themselves on anything ornate.
Cots and Cot Beds
Required: 1 cot or cot bed
Factors to Consider
- Cot or Cot Bed?: We strongly recommended buying a cot bed over a cot if you have the space in your baby nursery. Cot beds are only 20cm longer than standard cots, but can be converted into a bed at the toddler stage to last until a child is about 5-6 years old – rendering them much longer lasting and more versatile.
- Fixed sides or drop sides: Drop sides make lifting baby out of the cot easier, but have recently been banned in the US for safety reasons. British safety standard regulators still deem them perfectly safe, however.
- Adjustable height mattress bases: Highest level for ease of access to newborns, lowest level for use as soon as babies can sit up on their own and middle level once the cot is converted into a bed.
- Under cot storage: If not built-in, buy some boxes that can slide under the cot. This is a great tip for those with space constraints in their homes.
- Safe corner posts: Should be no higher than 1/16 of 1 inch to prevent clothing catchign
- Slats less than 2 3/8 inches apart: to prevent your baby’s head getting stuck between them
- Durability and stability of materials
What to Avoid
- Hand me down cots: These are more likely to have safety problems and may also have splinters, lead paints, discontinued features or slats that are too far apart.
- Decorative touches: These can break off and cause a choking hazard.
Cot and Cot Bed Mattresses
Required: 1 cot or cot bed mattress
What to Look For
Many parents do not recognise the importance of the cot mattress in their baby’s safety and also forget that their child will use the cot mattress for up to 5 years. Simply put, it is a critical baby product in which to invest in the best possible option your budget will allow – something safe, high quality, durable and comfortable. Babies require firm support to sleep safely and soundly. Cot mattresses should be specifically designed for babies – soft sleeping surfaces are a suffocation hazard and can raise the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Furthermore, cot mattresses should not have any space around the edges in which babies can get stuck between mattress and cot – we provide all the correct cot size mattresses to coordinate with our cot bed selection.
There are 5 broad types of cot mattress:
- Organic or hypo-allergenic mattresses: Organic mattresses are made with all-natural materials, usually cotton or wool. They are typically much more expensive than other crib mattresses but don’t contain chemicals and industrial compounds used in standard mattresses – flame retardants known as PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), vinyl, and polyurethane foam.
- Coir cot mattresses: Core of coconut fibre with other layers of different materials. The fibres are coated in latex for strength and protection and the natural fibre filling helps air to circulate through the mattress. They are one of the firmest types of mattress and tend to be very high quality
- Pocket sprung mattresses: Individual steel springs sewn into small fabric pockets. Each spring is free to independently respond to the contours of the body, providing superior support for your baby’s head, neck and back and making this a high quality mattress option.
- Spring interior coil mattresses: Coiled spring interior with layers of felt and foam padding that keep their shapes better longer than foam only mattresses. Manufacturers equate the number of coils with overall firmness – a good quality mattress will have a minimum of 150 coils.
- Foam mattresses: These are lighter than spring interior mattresses, but tend to be less durable. They tend to be the lowest quality and least expensive option. If you choose this option, foam density is the most important consideration.
Dressers, Wardrobes and Storage
What to Look For, Key Questions and Tips
You will quickly be surprised at how much storage you need in your nursery – it’s not just those tiny little baby clothes, but muslins, sleeping bags, blankets, sheets, changing essentials, breastfeeding essentials, first aid basics, toys and books that also need to be stored and often end in your baby’s room. Look for a dresser with deep drawers that also has a removable tabletop changing unit. This will help you efficiently organise baby’s clothes and changing essentials now, but can be used as a dresser only with the removal of the changing unit as your child grows up.
If space permits, a nursery wardrobe is a great multipurpose addition to your baby’s room – ideally one divided into a set of drawers on the bottom, a hanging rail, and several shelves. The hanging rail can be used for special occasion outfits as well as jackets and snowsuits, the drawers for sheets and blankets and the shelving for everything from clothes to breastfeeding equipment, first aid kit, nappies, wipes, toys and more.
You’ll change more than 2,400 diapers by your child’s first birthday – so you’ll definitely need a comfortable place for this important task. If you do not buy a dresser on top of which you can organise your changing essentials, we highly recommend buying a smaller more flexible unit that functions solely as a changing unit with guard rails, safety straps and other features. This is also a great option for a second or third child if you do not want to fully equip another nursery. Look for a changing station that is very sturdy. This is essential – a well-constructed changing table will not wobble. Also look for one that has guardrails to help prevent baby rolling off. Crux Baby absolutely love the Stokke Care Changing Units which are extremely flexible, ideal for taller people, and amazingly convert into a desk or TV stand later in life! For a fun take on the traditional changing unit, check out the Cosatto Easi Peasi Changing Unit and for a compact, classic look choose a Boori changing unit
Finally, you will want to get a number of flexible boxes or bins that lie on the floor or can slide under baby’s bed for housing all the extraneous baby gear you find you have nowhere else to store! These are useful not only in baby’s nursery but for keeping your main living spaces organised and not entirely cluttered with your baby’s things!
Nursing Chairs and Gliders
Recommended: 1 Nursing chair or glider
What to Look For, Key Questions and Tips
If you plan to breastfeed, you will absolutely need a comfortable place in which to do it without damaging your back, neck and arms too much. While layering pillows and blankets is an easy solution, ergonomically designed nursing glider chairs are a great option if you can afford them – and many of them look great too so can serve as a decorative focal point for your child’s room and be used long afterwards for reading bedtime stories or just relaxing. The gliding mechanism offers an easy smooth glide motion while the high back and padded upholstery give extra support for back and neck. They also come with several lockable recline positions which come in handy for some of the long nights or tired days all mothers experience. This is definitely one purchase that we wish we had made!
For a glider that will fit into any nursery – modern or traditional in style – we love the Kub Haywood Glider. Olli & Ella also have a wonderful range of bespoke nursing chairs that are more “shabby chic” in style. These are custom made in various colour combinations and styles to meet your needs and look good enough to adorn any living room once baby is older.