The Crib

Placement of the baby’s bed should be first. Whether or not you embrace Feng Shui, I would follow Ariel’s guidelines for placement of the bed because they simply make good sense. I’d keep Baby away from a window even if I didn’t know a thing about Feng Shui.

Instead of buying a crib and then a bed, why not buy one piece of furniture that converts and grows with your baby? Check out the Catalina 3-in-1 from the Pottery Barn Kids Catalog. (You can see it online and get an idea of what is available before you hit any stores.)
Chair or Rocker

Be sure you have a comfortable chair or a rocker for times you and your baby will be cozy and together in this space. Children are hard on furniture. They aren’t born with an appreciation of fine wood and craftsmanship. Don’t give Junior the rocker that’s a family heirloom. Give him one that he can be comfortable with as he grows. If you do get a new rocker for this space, consider passing it on to another mom and baby once your child is at the age of playing in his room independently—and replace it with a toy chest or kid chair. I don’t think rockers are particularly kid-friendly furniture to begin with—they are too easily flipped over—but you may have your heart set on one. Next month when we work on your bedroom, I’ll have another idea for you.

If you can, try to keep any chair from being in line with the entry door, as Ariel recommended for the baby’s bed. It will be more calming for both of you.

A bookcase is a must, as is reading to your child each evening. It spawns a love of learning that is natural, inviting, and will grow over time. I’d bolt it to the wall so that as he grows in strength and begins to explore the room, Baby won’t pull it down on himself. In the beginning, you may have books on the upper shelves and a few stuffed animals on the bottom. The top of the bookcase can hold a few containers of items you need to grab all the time. By all means bolt furniture to the wall if you live in earthquake country.

Now and in the future your baby will need a dresser. One with many and deep drawers is worth its weight in gold. If you use a dresser with a wide top, it’s easily converted into a changing table, thus saving you some moola. There is a sweet catalog and store called The Land of Nod that will show you the pads you can purchase to convert the top. In fact, they have the perfect dresser should you need one. (This is a sister company to Crate & Barrel.)

If you’re on a budget, a well-made solid wood dresser from an antique, consignment, or thrift store may give you much better bang for your buck than a particleboard prefab one from Target. (And it’s been around so long, you don’t have to worry about off-gassing!)

When you organize your baby’s clothes, keep items in groups within a drawer or in separate drawers. When you need a onesie in a hurry, you don’t want to be on a fishing expedition through receiving blankets, cloth diapers, and socks! There are inexpensive items that keep clothes sorted in a drawer. They are made for adult T’s, underwear, socks, and bras, but you can use them for anything you like. They come in an inexpensive plastic you literally fold together or in elegant wood and cloth varieties. If you want to invest in the latter for Baby now, you can use them later for yourself. (How sneaky of me!)
Storage Bins

Let’s face it: From the moment you announce your pregnancy, stuffed animals are going to start arriving at your home, along with DVDs to turn Baby into Einstein and toys to stimulate her creativity. What this does early on is stimulate your panic: Where the heck am I going to store all this stuff? It’s never too early to introduce a baby to the concept of categories: Like items go with like items. Stuffed animals should live in one area and DVDs and CDs in another, and toys of differing types can also be corralled in unison. Again, check out catalogs like Pottery Barn Kids and The Land of Nod for storage ideas.

I love the soft, handwoven cubes called The Roper Collection because you can buy them in different colors. A holder in a specific color for specific items can help your baby learn. After all, you won’t be using labels for a few years. Containers in rattan and canvas are also wonderful. You don’t want to use heavy storage or items with a sharp edge. Remember too that it’s what you give your baby and your attitude that are paramount. If you complain about having to pick up and put away, no matter how cute the containers are the message is clear: This organizing thing is a burden.


When it comes to toys, don’t limit your baby’s creativity. A little girl can play with classic boys’ toys and have her horizons expanded beyond the world of dolls. And a little boy can get in touch with his feminine side if he does have a doll or two. One day she may have to haggle over contracts in a boardroom while her brother helps his wife change diapers and do housework. Skip the stereotypes. It can’t hinder; it can only help.

Now when it comes to creative relatives and friends who want to give you life-sized stuffed animals, just say no if you don’t have the space. (And how many parents do live in a house that big?) You’ll have to put your foot down and explain the house rules to these generous individuals. If they send such items, you will be forced to donate them to a charity or preschool. The best idea is for family and friends to hold onto these items so that the baby will be enchanted when he comes to visit. Of course they will scream about the lack of space, but then that’s the whole idea, isn’t it? You don’t have room either!

One of the sweetest visuals in a baby’s room is to put a mesh hammock above his bed and fill it with his soft toys. The key here of course is that you can reach them but your baby cannot. He could suffocate under the toys or choke himself in the mesh. A hammock can be a nice organizing solution, but you simply have to be conscious and careful when and where you use it.

Finally, I love the idea of a toy box, provided the lid is hinged and stays open without a child having to hold it. That’s an accident for small fingers and hands just waiting to happen. You won’t need one for a year or so but keep that hinge in mind when you do. And do get one with a soft padded top so it can become a place to sit and read.

You’ll be choosing your baby’s DVDs and CDs for quite some time, so try album storage. You can purchase anything from a fancy leather binder from www.exposuresonline.com to a utilitarian one from a big office supply store. The inserts that hold the discs can be purchased from places like Exposures and The Container Store.


As you put the finishing touches on this room, something magical is likely to happen. The reality of what is happening will hit you. I think reality comes in waves for all life-changing events like a birth.

Over the next few months, come into this room frequently. Begin to invest it with the hope and love you feel inside you. Talk to your child. Play music for him. Carly Simon said that when each of her children were born, they instantly related to the music she had been writing while she was pregnant. I have no doubt that your child will feel comfortable in this room because you have crafted it with such care for his enjoyment, his safety, and his growth.
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