A new addition to the family is a transformative time - not only for your family, but also for your home. Carving out the ideal space for your baby is exciting, but knowing where to begin can be daunting for first-time parents.
Here the experts reveal their top tips for creating the perfectly integrated nursery for your home.
"There are three essential zones," says Belinda Nihill of Nest Design Studio. "Somewhere to sleep, feed and change nappies. These zones should be defined first, and the rest of the room worked around them."
Choose clever furniture and make it work hard for you. "Add a nursing chair beside the cot, and opt for a chest of drawers with a change pad on top instead of a traditional change table. It is double duty so will free up space."
A baby's room is a busy space, so keep styling as minimal as possible. "Less is more," agrees Mel Spurling from Hello Little Birdie. "Use a piece of art and a cool armchair as statement pieces, then add some functional storage boxes for books and toys."
Given the minimal furniture quota, concentrate on wall decor for creating a colour scheme and mood. "Nurseries are moving away from traditional pastels," says Nihill. "Look for bolder colours like emerald green, navy and bright peach, or opt for wallpaper, which is very popular at the moment."
Spurling agrees but says gender-neutral yellow is definitely out. "Try soothing green or grey instead - both works with any colour," she says. If a neutral palette is more your speed, stick to white and add texture and spot colour for interest. "You can create a beautiful base, and later add pink or blue touches to transform it," says Nihill.
Creative thinking, combined with clever shopping is key to a stylish and budget-savvy nursery. "Do your research then hit the sales," suggests Nihill. "You don't have to purchase everything from a baby store. DIY is a smart option combined with bargains from Kmart, Adairs and IKEA."
Determine what pieces you want to invest in and the items you can save money on. "Beautiful rugs, lighting and soft furnishings have an enormous impact on the overall space, so are worth investing in," says Kristy Sadlier from Norsu Interiors. "Find fun vintage toys and furniture from antique bazaars and use quirky suitcases for toy storage."
Room to grow
Your baby's room is a nursery now, but not for long. "It's important to ensure it grows with them," says stylist Hong Henwood. "Consider the room and how it can be transformed. For example the space for the cot should also be able to fit a single bed, and where your armchair sits for feeding, could later facilitate a study corner."
Look for all-ages decor and multi-purpose furniture that can be swapped around to meet your baby's changing requirements. "Look for a cot that can turn into a toddler's bed," says Henwood, "and a change table with drawers that can eventually be used solely for clothes storage."
Child-proofing is top priority and safety products purchased must meet with Australian safety standards. "When planning the nursery, think about what items they will try and reach for when they are in their cot or on the change table," says Nihill.
Electrical sockets: "Purchase baby safety electrical outlet covers," says Spurling. "Bunnings stock an excellent range."
Furniture placement: "Keep cots at least 30cm away from windows and opt for blind pulley's rather than cords," says Nihill. "You never know when little hands are going to reach through bars and try and pull on blinds."
Extension cords: "Use duct cord covers to remove trip hazards of extensions cords," says Spurling.
Artwork: "If hanging artwork above the cot, make sure it's properly fixed and that the cot is not against the wall," says Henwood. "You want room in case it drops without harming the baby."
The story Yellow is out: What you need to know about creating a kids room first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.