We all want to have that nursery or child’s room that you see in the magazines. The problem is that the rooms pictured aren’t real. Sure, they are photographed, but before they take the shot, they remove any trace of children, their terrible plastic toys and the clutter that they keep. The reason that it looks like a fairy tale room is because it is a fairy tale.
It took me until my third child to realize that spending too much on their rooms was not only draining my account, it was making me miserable. Choosing the type of furniture grade that I would want in my room, I over purchased and then spent years yelling at them and in angst every time that one of them drew on the walls, put up a sticker, or decided to paint their nails and oops...
The thing about a child’s bedroom furniture is that it should be both for you and for your child. Your child’s room doesn’t have to look like some horrible carnival ride with bright plastic colors everywhere, but it also doesn’t have to be the pristine cutesy space that you have always dreamed of. The key to any room in your house, especially one that is going to take some abuse, is three things, planning beyond the nursery, not spending too much but just enough, and getting furniture that can stand up to some serious abuse.
Planning beyond the nursery When you are having a child, you typically can only think about the here and now. Targeting either the crib age, the toddler bed, or the twin or full, it doesn’t seem necessary to think anymore than two years ahead. A ton of manufacturers are now making furniture to target the needs of a growing child. A crib that is convertible all the way to a full-size bed is an investment that will last all the way to college. It may cost a bit more, but when you start to add up all the various stages from crib to full, there are a lot of unnecessary purchases and moving around of furniture until then. If you plan ahead, you can save interchange pieces as they need them like a changing table to desk. The key is to have a focal point, which is the bed and dresser to play off of, so keep it durable, simple and neutral.
Not spending too little or too much The key is to invest in something that will last for the pieces that you know will grow with your child and to be reasonable with the other things. Obviously, the changing table won’t be a staple very long, but people spend their entire budget at the nursery stage and then have exhausted their resources for the ones going after. Spending money on the furniture that will stay like the convertible crib headboard and the dresser make good sense. The rocker will likely end up at a garage sale, as will the changing table, so try to go inexpensive but safe on the peripheral things that won’t last long.
Durability As parents, we already feel like we spend half of our lives angry because something has been ruined or saying “don’t do this or that”. The key to having a happy space where your child’s creativity can flourish, and you won’t be upset with every ding, mishap, or learning mistake that your child makes, is finding materials that don’t scratch or water stain. Finding materials that can be washed with magic eraser (which any parent knows is their best friend), is also a good idea. It isn’t all about the look, if it doesn't stand up to punishment, the look won’t last past three months no matter how much you spend on it.
Planning a child’s bedroom is best done from nursery to sewing room after they have vacated your nest. It is hard to imagine, but those years go so so fast. Don’t waste them being upset over overpriced, fragile, furniture. Let your child shine, make mistakes and be colorful when it calls for it, by planning the room around being a mix between function, style, and growing with your child.