Planning your nursery: a how to guide

Posted in Nursery Tips & Design.

Step-by-step guide: How to plan a nursery | Mum's Grapevine

Designing a beautiful nursery space for your little one is such an exciting time. But before you rush ahead and start hanging the mobile or framing the pictures, there are a few steps to planning your nursery.

We have some stellar tips and tricks to ensure your nursery is not only a magical, tranquil space for your little angel, but a functional, comfortable and safe one as well.

1. Sketch a simple plan for the room

nursery layout and design

Using our handy nursery design planner download, draw up the existing layout of your baby’s room including marking down any of the following existing features:

  • Windows
  • Heating vents
  • Cooling vents
  • Door (indicate if inward or outward swinging)
  • Powerpoints
  • Built in robe

Next, plot where key nursery items could fit:

  • Bassinet
  • Cot
  • Change table
  • Lamps
  • Storage / Toys
  • Feeding chair
  • Dresser

Create Zones

Sleeping – keep it free from distractions and away from heating/cooling vents and windows where light or drafts can impact sleep.

Changing – have the change table in an area that allows you to easily access baby without overreaching. Have your nappies and changing accessories near the change table so you do not have to leave baby unattended.

Feeding – next to the nursing chair, think about having a small table to sit a drink and snacks for mum. Put useful items like cloths for burping your baby and a phone charger within arms reach.

Space saving tips for small nurseries

Babies are small, they don’t need a master suite. If your nursery space is on the smaller side, no sweat. Be smart with the space you have and you will fit everything baby needs.

  • If you plan to use a bassinet for the first few months, leave the cot out until you need it.
  • Use the top of a chest of drawers as a change table.
  • Utilise space under the cot for storage.
  • Add shelves for storing and displaying toys and books.

2. Safety first

nursery plan layout design

Keeping your bub safe and comfortable is the most important factor when planning a nursery. So there are a few key things to factor in when positioning furniture and considering the layout of the room.

Heating/cooling vents

Don’t place the bassinet and/or cot too close to any in floor or ceiling heating or cooling. Creating a safe sleep space where your babe won’t overheat or get cold is a key consideration.

Cords from curtains and blinds

Cords are a strangulation risk so keep away from the cot and nursing chair. Install proper safety devices to keep them secure and out of the way.

Electrical cords and power points

Make sure these are out of reach from the cot. Consider furniture placement to cover them for when your baby is on the move, and use appropriate childproofing safety products.

3. Measure the space

nursery planning and design

Once you have decided on the layout, measure the space so when you go shopping for each item, you know the limitations.

4. Lighting the way

nursery design

Night lighting: for overnight feeds, changes or cuddles choose a soft, warm glow light. Avoid anything too colourful or stimulating for baby but bright enough for grown-ups to see things without turning the main light on.

Hallway: A nightlight in the hallway is super helpful to find your way in the middle of the night.

Dimmers: can be handy to control the brightness of the room.

Sensor lights: automatic sensor lights in the nursery or hallway may seem like a good idea to not have to flick on a light switch. However, it may make sneaking in or out of bubs room inconspicuously that much harder.

5. Prepping the space

layout of nursery

If you are planning any room improvements such as painting, you will need to do this well before any of the furniture goes in or decorating begins.


Whether you want a lick of paint to freshen up the space or you are painting a theme based feature wall, get the painting done and dusted as early as possible so there are no hold ups when it comes time to furnish or decorate.

There are some precautions you can take if you are keen to be involved in the painting yourself – for more information check out Q&A: Is it safe to paint the nursery while pregnant? Otherwise, it’s a great excuse to put your feet up and let someone else get their hands dirty.


If your nursery has a hard floor you may want to soften the space. Whether you just want a large rug or to carpet the whole room, plan your nursery’s flooring taking into consideration comfort underfoot for mum, as well as a safe place for tummy time and play for bub.

Window coverings

Block-out blinds are great for creating a dark sleep space for daytime naps and bedtime during daylight savings. But it is also a great idea to also have sheer curtains or screens to filter light during the day. The soft light will add to a calm environment and the screening can help with privacy and keeping the room a little cooler in the warmer months.


Whether it’s to check on them or just stare at them, guaranteed you will want to sneak into your babies room at some point. Make sure the door doesn’t creek, get stuck or slam so mum or dad can ninja in and out without waking bub.

Images: Akin Design Studio, Haven Interiors and Lifestyle, Lexi Grace Design, Dicolaaa

Read next …

Once the planning is done, shopping and styling are next. Woohoo! For some seriously creative design inspo, we’ve got a couple of other articles you might like to read next.

Share ideas with other mums…

Now that your nursery planning is underway, it’s time to hang out and share ideas with other mums-to-be planning their nurseries too!

The Mum’s Grapevine closed Pregnancy groups are safe and supportive Facebook groups based on the season you’re due – so you’re all expecting at the same time!

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