Baby room ideas

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have discovered that the “Snotsucker” is a product I am willing to invest in. My husband and I are faced with about 10,000 decisions when it comes time to prepare our apartment for our daughter’s arrival in July.

Do I need to get a bassinet as well as a crib for my new baby? What is the best place to put the changing table for my tired self at night? When a friend recently asked me about my nursery theme, I realized I didn’t have one. If I were to describe it in one word, it would be: “Small baby things meet even smaller apartments.”

It’s not just me who is looking for answers. Many of my coworkers have children and are willing to share their tips. This helps me reduce my stress level as the due date approaches.

Here’s what parents wished they knew before decorating their nursery:

Make sure you have everything at your fingertips when changing diapers

Think about diapers, wipes, and more wipes. Also, consider changing table covers, laundry baskets, poop buckets (i.e., your diaper disposal system), burp cloths, a pacifier, etc. You don’t want to risk your baby rolling away because you are trying to find something to place under his butt after a poop explosion. -Meena Hart Duerson, TODAY.com managing lifestyle editor

Avoid clutter

When carrying your baby around at night, a misplaced book or toy will be a problem. It’s a pain to trip when you aren’t expecting it. Make sure to have plenty of storage space. This will allow you to easily tuck away items when you are done with them instead of leaving them on the floor.

Two words: washable wall coverings

When the first pee spray hits your wall, you’ll be grateful.

Meena Hart Duerson’s son, Bear, at three months old.

Do not be afraid of darkness

Ensure that your nursery’s lighting can mimic nighttime at any time. It means using a window shade or curtain that is heavy enough to simulate darkness when the time comes for napping during the day. After installing a cute window shade, we realized it barely blocked any light when we began using the crib as a napping area. Babies are not stupid! He thinks bright lights mean party time and doesn’t like to miss out on the fun. So he tries to stay awake despite his crankiness. He knows darkness is bedtime, and his eyes droop when the lights are turned off. It’s not necessary to turn your nursery into a dungeon. But if you want to, you can fake it. -Meena

You will eventually care

The (many pregnancy books) assured me that I would. Because we live in a small Brooklyn apartment, giving our son a separate room was enough preparation. We upgraded to a 2-bedroom apartment just for him. After Sullivan’s arrival, I felt the urge to upgrade — and it wasn’t too early! -Lauren Sullivan, TODAY.com senior editor

Choose a theme

We found a to go over his ‘alma mini crib.html’ We found a World Map Wall Decal to go over his crib and adorable Baby Animal Portraits that we could hang next to it. We have black-and-white photos of Parisian street art on the wall opposite. One of our closest friends gave us these pictures for our wedding. The space now feels like our relationship as a couple and what we hope to impart in Sully, a love of exploration and travel. You know, baby tigers.

A mini crib can be a crib

We were worried BS (Before Sully) that we would not have enough space to store all his (apparently essential) things. After someone informed me of the existence of the mini crib, I was reassured by a reliable source that in Europe, what Americans call a “mini crib” is simply a crib. And this is true! It’s perfect for a small nursery and can be folded down and moved into another room if needed. This compact bed will be kept until Sully is ready for his actual bed. -Lauren

Art is what makes the difference

We have found that framed prints, which are not babyish or themed, but whimsical/colorful and otherwise interesting, have suited our tastes. They have also lasted five years and have several room changes. Here’s a tip: You can find inexpensive, unique fabric swatches at craft fairs (think Etsy vendors). -Carissa Ray, TODAY.com supervising multimedia producer

Include personal touches from those who love you

Although we live far away from family and friends, we love bringing them into our daughters’ rooms. Not every antique you receive needs to be included in the room, but those who know your style and taste can bring warmth and love.

Carissa picked up screen-printed fabric samples at a fair to display in her children’s bedrooms.

Some examples:

My husband’s grandmother knew that my original nursery design (before we moved 2,800 miles) included nocturnal creatures. Her mother made the owl nightlight, which my husband, his father, and she had used when they were children.

My best friend created a string of adorable pennants from scrapbooking paper to decorate my baby shower. They worked beautifully in the nursery and have lasted well into the toddler years. The guests at the baby shower made owls from felt and Styrofoam. Two of the most adorable ones still sit on the girls’ bedroom shelf.

My sister and I kept some of our toys in a “treasure” box that matched the decor. This was a treat for them to discover when they were old enough. Random “Star Wars” dolls are displayed prominently on a shelf. (And get played with/fought over as well.) Thank goodness Princess Leia’s still the rage.

We ensured that even though Reilly was a teeny tot, there were framed photos of her with her grandparents. We also have a large collage with pictures of the girls’ great-grandparents and grandparents, which we use as a reference for the stories we tell about their families. -Carissa