How to buy nursery furniture

How to buy nursery furniture

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The lowdown on nursery furniture

Your baby will probably spend more time in the nursery than anywhere else, so that room needs to be safe. And because you'll also be spending a lot of time there, you'll want it to be attractive, comfortable, and well organized, too. We'll help you get started!


You can use a crib beginning on day one for a newborn. Your child will probably sleep there until age 2 or 3.

Choose a sturdy one that doesn’t feel rickety when you walk by, or give it a good shake. If you need extra storage space or have a small room, check out cribs with built-in drawers for baby bedding or supplies.

A full-size crib isn’t your only option. Many parents go for space- and money-saving portable, travel, or mini-cribs. Bassinets, cradles, sleepers, or play yards with a bassinet attachment are also smaller and less expensive, although babies will grow out of them much earlier than they will grow out of a traditional crib.

Important safety notes

New cribs sold in the United States comply with many safety standards, but heritage or vintage cribs may not. Don’t use drop-side cribs; the movable (drop) side can become detached, and children can get wedged between the side and the mattress and suffocate or strangle.

Don’t use a crib bumper, which is padding that attaches to the inside of the crib railings to cushion all four sides. Crib bedding sets include bumpers, although organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics now warn that they raise the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

What it’s going to cost you

Full-sized cribs, including ones that convert to toddler beds, range from $110 to $800. Portable and mini-cribs cost between $100 and $400. Fancier cribs can run from $800 to $1,000 or much more.

Read more about buying a crib.

Browse nursery furniture.

Crib mattresses

To sleep soundly and safely, babies require firm support. Also consider cost, comfort, and sturdiness, as your child will probably sleep in his crib for up to 3 years. The 3 main types of mattresses:

Foam mattresses

Some parents prefer foam mattresses because they usually weigh less than the innerspring kind. This can be important when you're changing soiled sheets at 3 a.m. They're available in a variety of thicknesses, but thicker is not necessarily better –density is an important consideration. Look for foam mattresses that are firm, on the heavier side, and resilient to the press of your hand.

Innerspring mattresses

Some parents choose a mattress with coils over a foam mattress because it may keep its shape longer (although a high-quality foam one will probably wear equally well). Manufacturers equate the number of coils and gauge of the wire in an innerspring mattress with overall firmness; it's a good idea to look for mattresses with a minimum of 135 coils and a gauge of 15.5 or lower (packaging, a user manual, or online descriptions should spell this out).

Organic mattresses

Organic mattresses are made with all-natural materials, usually cotton or wool; these days, some have innovative materials like coconut-husk fibers. They are typically much more expensive than other crib mattresses, but don't contain chemicals and industrial compounds including flame retardants known as PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), vinyl, and polyurethane foam.

Important safety notes

  • Choose a crib mattress made specifically for babies. They are made to be safely firm, as a soft sleeping surface can be a suffocation hazard and raise the risk of SIDS. Mattresses designed for older children and adults may not be firm enough.
  • A mattress needs to fit snugly in the crib, with no space between the side of the mattress and the crib frame. If there's a space, the mattress is too small and could be a suffocation and entrapment hazard.

What it’s going to cost you

Crib mattresses start at about $40 and can range to more than $350. Organic mattresses start at about $80 and can reach $400.

Bassinets and cradles

A bassinet or cradle (or play yard with bassinet feature) can be a convenient and comfortable sleeping place for your newborn. Your little one may feel more at ease in a space that’s cozier than a crib. Plus these can be moved from room to room, letting you keep a close watch on a sleeping baby. At night, you can put the bassinet or cradle right next to your bed for easy middle-of-the-night feedings and comforting.

In recent years, products marketed as “sleepers” or “nappers” have proliferated, while traditional cradles have gained new features. You can buy bassinets on wheels, rocking bassinets (see safety notes), vibrating cradles, and bassinets that swivel from side to side or even nestle right next to your bed. Travel cribs that fold into their own bags have also become more popular, as have combination cribs/play yards; both can be taken to Grandma’s house and on trips.

Important safety notes

  • Stop using the bassinet or cradle (or bassinet feature on a play yard) once your baby reaches the weight limit specified by the manufacturer or can sit up, pull up, roll over, or push up on hands and knees.
  • Your bassinet should have a firm mattress that fits snugly without any space around the edges. If you have pets or other young children in the house – for instance, a dog that might knock over a bassinet, a cat that may climb in, or a toddler who could try to lift your baby from the bassinet – use caution or stick with a crib instead.
  • When choosing a bassinet or cradle, pick a basic model that's certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (you'll see a JPMA certification seal on the packaging). Avoid bassinets and cradles with a motion or rocking feature, as these have caused suffocation when babies rolled against the edge.
  • It's best to steer clear of Moses baskets because they are often lined with puffy fabric, which raises a baby's risk for suffocation or SIDS.

What it’s going to cost you

Cradles, bassinets, sleepers, and portable/travel bassinets cost $30 to $250. Play yards run from $50 to $300.

Changing tables

You'll change more than 2,400 diapers by your child's 1st birthday, so you'll definitely need a comfortable and safe spot. You don’t necessarily need to buy a dedicated table; some parents simply lay a waterproof pad or towel on a floor or bed, stowing diaper supplies in a nearby basket. Others use a play yard, since some models come with a bassinet and changing table for infants, or put a changing pad on top of a dresser.

Still, having a dedicated changing table with guardrails and a safety strap to hold a wriggling child in place can be easier. You can diaper your baby on a changing table from birth to around age 2. If you get a combination dresser and changing table, you can use it in your child's room for years.

Important safety notes

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a changing table railing that’s at least 2 inches tall, on all 4 sides. Even with the highest possible guardrail in place, always keep one hand on or right near your baby while he's on an elevated surface.
  • Your changing table or changing pad should have a safety strap that goes around your infant’s midsection.
  • Look for stable legs. A well-made changing table won't feel rickety when you wiggle it.

What it’s going to cost you

Basic changing tables cost between $60 and $200. Combination dresser and changing tables can cost anywhere from $200 to $500 or much more depending on the design and materials. Changing pads cost between $20 and $100.

Rockers and gliders

Rocking chairs have long been a fixture in the nursery because babies find the back-and-forth motion soothing and sleep inducing. A glider is simply an updated rocking chair that many parents find more comfortable; the smooth-as-silk gliding motion requires almost no effort.

You can use either one with a newborn and probably still be using it for reading bedtime stories to your child 5 or 6 years down the road. Many people end up using a glider outside the nursery, moving it into an office or den (with a change of upholstery, perhaps) once their child outgrows it.

What it’s going to cost you

You'll pay anywhere from $100 to $800 or more for a glider or rocker. Some high-end models cost up to $2,000. Expect to pay more for better types of wood and finishes (oak and maple, for instance), fancy fabrics, a locking mechanism, and modern styling.

A matching ottoman is sometimes included with the rocker or glider. Sold separately, ottomans range in price from $50 to $350. Using an ottoman made just for your glider works well because it moves with the same motion as the glider.

Read more about buying a rocker or glider.

Download our illustrated guide to nursery furniture

Watch the video: BABY BOY NURSERY TOUR! Casey Holmes Vlogs (July 2022).


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