As my husband and I began our trek into the unexplored country known as “Parenthood,” it seemed as though the first question on everyone’s lips (besides “When are you due?” and “Is it a boy or girl?”) was “When will you start looking for a house?”
All in all, it was an understandable question. At the time, the tax credit for first-time buyers was still going strong and other couples we knew were taking advantage of it and buying houses right and left. In the meantime, we calmly perused neighborhoods we liked, pointing out houses to each other and dreaming. But that was as far as it went.
We were quite content in padding around our modest two-bedroom apartment. There was enough room for us and with a baby added to the mix, things would definitely be cozy, but not crowded. My husband had only recently gotten a job with benefits, so we were slowly but surely beginning to save up for a down payment. In our minds, it made sense, especially financially, to just stay put.
“But what about the nursery!” Our friends would say, “Where will the baby sleep?” as if babies wouldn’t sleep unless they had their own secluded, brightly decorated domicile. When we answered that the baby would start off in our room, then be moved to the office, some smiled and nodded, while others just looked confused, but let the matter drop.
As I reached the end of pregnancy, I realized that not having a nursery to prepare and fuss over almost seems like a relief rather than a lost experience. While many friends fussed over colors, paint and matching linens, I organized the baby’s things in his/her dresser, ensuring that toys were stowed away in their respective bins and making sure all was cleverly hidden away from sight in the office closet.
It is possible for individuals with small homes or apartments to still have a special “nursery” space without moving, having a completely separate room or breaking your budget on all the extras.
1) Pick a room of the house/apartment where your baby will sleep in the beginning. Keep in mind that this place may change depending on how noisy of a sleeper your baby is and whether you have to move the crib or bassinet just to get a good night’s sleep.
Put the crib or bassinet in the most convenient place, keeping in mind that cribs near windows aren’t always a good idea due to sun and drafts.
2) Undoubtedly, you have several mementos or decorations you’ve had for years or received from a baby shower that you’d like to use to decorate a nursery. Choose a couple of your favorite things to decorate the space around the crib, such as pictures, a cross, a quilt, etc. While the baby is in this spot, you can put up decorations, switching them out as you see fit with others. Do this no matter what room the baby is in and you will always have a nicely decorated living space for him/her.
3) Consider using decals for your decorating! Decals have burst onto the decorating scene and are hugely popular because of the variety of available designs and their affordability. Essentially a large sticker for your wall, decals are easy to install, (typically patting a damp sponge over the back is all it takes) blend seamlessly against the wall and come in all sorts of colors and designs. Check out department stores, Babies “R” Us, Etsy and online for a plethora of choices.
4) With the bright, vivid colors, patterns and themes found in crib sets, you don’t really have to worry about decking out a whole room! For some parents, the crib sets are decorative enough that they may feel like one or two things hanging above the crib is all the embellishment they’ll need.
In the end, when you bring your baby home, all he/she will care about is being clothed, fed, having a place to sleep and being near you. The decorations, the paint, the excess isn’t all that important. By doing the above, you can take out your nesting urges and still create a wonderful, personal space for your little one without having to move or break the bank.