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The Baby Room
To ensure your baby's room is cosy and welcoming, first choose your furniture then indulge in gorgeous accessories...
For the first 6 months, your tiny baby will sleep near you in a Moses basket or crib. As night merges with day and your life together is a sleeping, feeding, nappy-changing thing of wonder, it can be hard to imagine the ordered sanctity of your baby snuggled up in his own room for the night. But sooner or later, he'll need a room of his own.
A few well-chosen pieces of furniture quickly transform that boxroom into a welcoming space for your baby. Just choose your cot, add a storage unit (for baby clothes and equipment) and a changing station (for change mat, nappies and fragrance-free wipes) and you're away.
Many cots are part of a furniture set, allowing you to co-ordinate dressers, wardrobes, even peg rails, and either theme the room, or merely ensure it remains in keeping with the rest of your home. Look out for cot beds with removable sides - these transform
When choosing a colour scheme, buy the bed linen before choosing paint colours - it's easier to match walls to sheets than the other way around. Don't be afraid to use more than one colour. Strong shades and contrasts are stimulating for babies and are unisex too - so there's no excuse to wait until the baby arrives before you start decorating!
The easiest way to bring together several shades is by using a co-ordinated wallpaper border. Apply at waist height (your baby will interact with it more here than near the ceiling) and paint your lighter colour above and darker shade below. Alternatively, run a waist-height peg rail along one wall.
Create your own matching accessories by painting picture frames with leftover emulsion from the walls. use the frames to display your baby's hand-prints (use non-toxic paint on coloured paper), above baby photos or your favourite 'new baby' cards.
Or enlarge cut-outs on a colour copier and glue to cupboards or boxes for a co-ordinating room-set. Finish by painting over with a clear, low-fume varnish.
Choose sheets and blankets from a rainbow selection of colours to complement your theme (don't use pillows and duvets for babies under one). For a co-ordinated look, go for bedding from a nursery set, then add the matching accessories.
If you don't know if you're having a boy or a girl and want something unisex, why not have a look at our Please Look After Me range? If you'd prefer brights to neutrals, try the Humphrey's Corner selection with primary colour detail.
Make the most of small spaces by utilising the back of the door, side of a cot and any wall space for storage. Invest in a nappy stacker to hide nappies away and add hooks for bags and clothes.
Babies amass lots of tiny bits and pieces from wrist rattles to finger puppets. They get lost in the bottom of a toy box, so small storage ideas are essential.
For larger items like soft toys or building bricks, choose a traditional wooden box or add a modern splash of zingy colour with a large storage tub. These will keep toys tidy but easily accessible.
Are they sleeping comfortably?
Whether you buy a new cot or choose to borrow, there's little doubt that every new baby deserves a new mattress.
Old mattresses become compressed with use, making them less comfortable and less effective for your baby.
So what do I choose?
Most important is fit. Limbs get caught in gaps over 4cm, so take measurements for a perfect fit.
Do prices vary?
Yes. There are six mattress types for continental-size cots. Pay more and you get the latest in mattress covers and comfort:
For £30 you get a basic foam mattress in a wipe-clean waterproof cover. Up your budget and £50 buys a sprung mattress made with a special anti-fungal and anti-bacterial fibre that prevents dust mites living in the mattress. It also has two-sides - one is sponge-clean fabric and the other is waterproof.
For £65 you get a foam core with exclusive CoolMaxActive® zip-off top panel (washable at 60°, the temperature required to kill dust mites). This improved airflow system keeps baby cool and dry. Add on £15, and £80 buys the anti-fungal sprung mattress with zip-off panel.
And for £110 your baby gets the top-of-the-range mattress with indiviual springs sewn into small pockets, plus the CoolMaxActive® panel.