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Baby Furniture Buying Guide: What Do You Really Need For The Nursery?

baby furniture in nursery

One of your first orders of business when becoming a parent is setting up your little one’s nursery. And part of that experience is buying baby furniture.

It’s hard to narrow down what you really need for your baby’s nursery, so take a look at Newton Baby’s tips on how to make the best buying decisions for your family!

Plan And Research Before Buying Baby Furniture

baby furniture set up in nursery

Before your nursery-decorating adventure begins, determine how much space you have, what style you want for the room, and how much money you can spend.

When planning the layout of your baby’s nursery, do your research. Ear-mark magazines with nursery ideas that you like. Look online at pictures of other nurseries to help narrow down the style you want for your baby’s room.

For a little inspiration, check out these articles from Newton Baby all about nursery ideas:

Let’s be honest — the nursery is really for you, the parent. Your baby won’t remember the colors you used or how you organized their books, so whether you want to make a statement with the style or keep it low-key, it’s your choice!

Tip: If you’re running low on space in your baby’s nursery, a mini crib is a great space-saving option! (See below for more info on mini cribs.)

Once you’ve done your research and have started to plan for the nursery, you may have several exciting ideas you’ve fallen in love with. But before you start buying things, there are a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself.

Questions To Ask Before Buying

How Much Space Do I Have?

 baby furniture in a nursery

This is one of the most important considerations when making purchasing decisions for your little one’s nursery.

The size of your space will determine whether you can fit a small, standard, or large crib. It will also dictate whether you can have a dresser and changing table or if you need to pick and choose which items you’ll include and which you can do without.

With ample space, you have a bit more freedom to store and organize all of the items that your baby will need. But if space is tight, you may need to get creative. For example, instead of a separate dresser and changing table, you may need a dresser/changing table combo.

Before buying anything, start by taking some measurements of the room. Don’t forget to think about play and walking spaces as you make your design plan, too.

Ideally, you want your nursery furniture to fit comfortably in your space. You don’t want a situation where all the furniture pieces are so close together that there’s no room for anything else.

As you’re finalizing your plan, remember to always put safety first. This means you’ll need to:

  • Keep the furniture (especially the crib) away from any heat sources
  • Avoid crowding the room with too much furniture and other items
  • Avoid placing the crib too close to the door, windows, electric outlets, power cords, light switches, and vents
  • Cover outlets and keep cords out of your little one’s reach
  • Ensure that the crib is a good distance away from other nursery furniture (once your little one becomes mobile, they may use this furniture as an escape route)

The above list includes just a few measures you can take to ensure that your little one remains safe while in their nursery.

Now that you’re clear on space and safety, what pieces do you actually need?

What Basic Items Do I Need?

 The basic baby furniture in a nursery

This question can be hard to answer because your family’s budget also plays a big role in which items you purchase for your little one.

That being said, most nurseries have the following basic pieces:

  • Crib
  • Crib mattress
  • Crib sheets
  • Dresser
  • Changing table
  • Rocking chair or glider
  • Closet/place to hang clothes
  • Nightstand
  • Diaper bin

Do I Need A Lot Of Closet Space?

Closet space is also something to consider when thinking about nursery furniture. Sure, your little one’s necessities all seem so tiny, but you’d be surprised how much space their little clothes, toys, and additional items take up.

If the room has a walk-in or large closet, this is great news, and you probably don’t need to worry too much about whether everything you need will fit.

However, if you don’t have much closet space, consider investing in something like an armoire. This type of furniture typically has drawers, shelving space, and an area where you can hang clothing, too.

Armoires are an excellent investment piece that can last your child well into their teen years and beyond. They’re also great if you’re planning to have multiple children, as a quality piece can be passed down from one child to the next.

Should I Get Furniture To Grow With?

When your baby is little, you don’t think much about furniture getting damaged. But fast forward a couple of years and you’ll probably change your mind.

Nursery furniture tends to take a beating, especially when children enter the toddler phase and want to start exploring their artistic and acrobatic abilities.

Most parents don’t have the money to change furniture out every couple of months. This is why it’s essential to invest in quality furniture with sound structural engineering. For example, cabinet doors with solid hinges and knobs or pulls that an active little one can’t pop off easily.

You may also look into buying drawers that have reinforced corners and glides that aren’t going to easily slip off their track after repeated usage.

Generally speaking, quality furniture, especially for a baby’s nursery, tends to be more costly. But knowing that you have solid pieces that will last gives you a greater peace of mind when budgeting for everything you’ll need.

What Is My Design Aesthetic?

Your little one will not remember all the adorable things you picked out for their nursery. But choosing a design that’s calming for them and enjoyable for you is something to strive for no matter your aesthetic.

After all, once your baby arrives, you’ll be spending quite a bit of time in this particular space!

While it’s important to consider the basic items you’ll need for the room, it’s also essential to focus on the things that will bring you joy as well.

For example, is there a specific color that helps to calm you? Do you like wallpaper or prefer paint? Do you love dark or light wood pieces? Are you a vintage fan or all about sleek, modern designs?

We’ve shared some great articles we wrote about nursery design in the Plan And Research section of this article. After checking them out, be sure to check in with yourself to determine what type of nursery you would really like to have.

Now that we’ve got all this planning and researching out the way, it’s time to get to the fun stuff — actually buying your nursery furniture!

There’s quite a lot that goes into creating a great space that both you and your little one will enjoy. So, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry. Here’s a detailed breakdown of all the must-haves, what you can do without, and everything in-between.

Start With A Crib

White crib set up in baby room

The most important piece of furniture you’ll buy for your baby’s nursery is a crib. They’ll sleep in it every night for months (or years!) to come, and it will usually determine the room’s overall style.

Because your baby will eventually end up in a crib — whether it’s right away when you bring them home from the hospital or months down the road when they outgrow their bassinet — choosing the right one from the start is important.

That said, make your baby’s crib the first thing you purchase. You can then design your little one’s nursery around it.

Hint: take a look at our article Crib Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose The Safest Crib For Your Baby to help you during your crib search!

Crib Safety

To keep your baby as safe as possible while they’re sleeping in their crib, it’s important to follow a few rules.

First, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sharing the same room with your baby for the first six months. But that doesn’t mean sharing the same sleeping surface. Avoid co-sleeping!

While it might be challenging to resist snuggling up with your little one at night, co-sleeping with babies is associated with an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

As the name suggests, SIDS is the sudden and unexpected death of babies under a year old while sleeping. Many different factors contribute to it, including:

A child’s overall health (e.g., brain defects, low birth weight, respiratory infections, etc.)

  • Whether or not a child was born prematurely
  • Family history of SIDS
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Sleeping environment

For the safest sleeping environment for your baby, they should always be put down on their back and on their own safe sleep surface (i.e., crib or co-sleeper). This is because cribs, co-sleepers, bassinets, and other similar structures are specifically designed for infant sleep.

In an adult bed, a baby can easily become trapped and suffocated. A sleeping parent could accidentally roll over and cover their nose and mouth, or a soft sheet could restrict air flow.

Some parents love the idea of co-sleeping for many reasons — it makes breastfeeding at night quicker and easier, it may help a child feel more safe and secure, or it may help parents bond with their babies.

However, since research shows that co-sleeping can increase SIDS, it’s best to opt for a co-sleeper, crib, or bassinet — especially for the first year of your little one’s life.

In addition to sharing a room with your little one, here are a few more guidelines to keep in mind when shopping for a crib.

Buy New

We’re sure you have plenty of friends and family members who are more than happy to hand down their cribs!

As nice as that is, politely pass on their offer to ensure your baby is sleeping in the safest crib possible.

When you use a hand-me-down crib, you’re putting your baby at risk. Wear and tear that naturally happens to the crib over the years can result in loose bolts and screws and an unstable frame.

What’s more, when you buy a new crib, you have the option of registering it. The manufacturers then have your information should they need to contact you in case of a recall. You don’t have this option with used cribs.

Bare Is Best

We know it can be tempting to fill your baby’s crib with cute pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals. After all, who can resist that level of adorableness?

Unfortunately, all of these items are suffocation hazards, so leave them in a basket in the nursery rather than in your baby’s crib.

The only thing that needs to be in your little one’s crib is a firm mattress and a tight-fitting sheet. Skip the blankets and wrap your baby in Newton Baby’s Organic Swaddle Blankets to keep them safe, cozy, and warm!

Mini-Cribs

After taking an initial evaluation of the amount of space you have in your baby’s nursery, you may decide that a mini-crib is the best choice for your family. That’s perfectly OK!

Mini-cribs can provide a safe sleeping environment for your baby just like standard-sized cribs.

The main difference between mini-cribs and standard cribs is size. These space-savers are just a little smaller than traditional cribs, with the dimensions measuring 24 inches wide and 38 inches long.

Don’t Forget The Mattress

Upclose of Newton Baby’s Basic Crib Mattress

The crib mattress you purchase now will likely be your baby’s sleeping surface for a few years, so make sure you choose a good one. Newton Baby’s Basic Crib Mattress is a great option!

In independent testing, Newton Baby scored highest among its peers for breathability and lowest for suffocation risk. Now that’s something worth sleeping on!

Additionally, our mattress is the ONLY washable mattress on the market. You read that right — we have a mattress you can wash! Say goodbye to allergens and mold!

And because our mattresses don't contain latex, foam or adhesives, they're hypoallergenic, free of toxic chemicals, and exceed the most rigorous 3rd-party emissions standards which test for off-gassing (the yucky chemicals you sometimes inhale when buying a new mattress).

Another thing you and your baby can say goodbye to when you choose a Newton Baby mattress is a sweaty back. We have the perfect combination of cushy firmness and air circulation so your little one can stay cool and comfortable all night!

Should you go the mini-crib route, don’t worry, we have a mattress for you, too! Your baby will have better, safer sleep when you choose our Mini Crib Mattress for their sleep surface.

Mattress Safety

To make sure your baby’s mattress is safe, check that it fits snugly inside the crib. This means no gaps in-between the crib and the mattress. If you can fit two fingers between them, it’s not a snug fit.

Other things to look for in a safe crib mattress include breathability and firmness. Our Crib Mattress has the breathability factor you’re looking for — it’s 100 percent breathable!

It also provides the right amount of firmness your baby needs and the right amount of comfort they want. As Goldilocks would say, “Not too hard, not too soft, but just right!”

Other Baby Furniture Must-Haves

Baby Furniture Must-Haves in nursery


We’ve included the following items as “must-haves” on our list of baby furniture for your nursery because they’re multi-purpose and will last through the years. Take a look!

Dresser And Changing Table Combo

Rather than buying a dresser and changing table separately, just purchase a dresser — and we’ll show you why.

To make the dresser a changing table, secure a changing topper on top. Stash diapers, wipes, and creams in a top drawer for another space-saving option.

Easily store away all of your other baby’s items — such as burp cloths, bibs, onesies, hats, socks, blankets, toys, and swaddles — in the dresser.

Once your baby is potty trained and you no longer need a changing table, simply remove the changing topper and keep the dresser for storing more toys and clothes when they’re older.

After all, your little one’s room won’t be a nursery forever!

Rocker Or Glider

We suggest purchasing a rocker or glider for your baby’s nursery because we know the special moments and memories that will be made in this specific piece of baby furniture.

You’ll feed your baby in this chair, sing songs, read books, laugh, tell stories, and just watch them drift off to sleep.

And as your baby gets older, you can continue capturing special moments in this chair. The memories will last for years to come, and so will your chair.

We also recommend buying a footstool as a beneficial addition to your rocker or glider. The footstool gives you more comfort and support during those late-night snuggles!

Optional Baby Furniture Pieces

It’s easy to go all out when shopping for baby furniture for your little one’s nursery. We totally get it — you’re excited to make this room a special place for the newest member of your family!

But, truthfully, there are some pieces that you don’t really need, like a bookshelf or toy chest.

To save on space without sacrificing storage, hang shelves on the wall for books and photos. And consider storing toys in the dresser or a storage bin inside the closet rather than purchasing a big toy chest.

The Newton Nursery

Parents looking over baby in crib

Before beginning your baby-furniture buying journey, take some time to plan and research. Then decide on the perfect crib and center the nursery design around it.

(And when it comes to your baby’s crib, remember our safety rules: buy new and bare is best!)

The last two baby furniture items you need to make your little one’s room comfy and convenient are a dresser and changing table combo and a chair with a footstool.

Finally, don’t forget that Newton Baby has the perfect breathable and safe mattress that pairs nicely with most cribs! Grab your Newton Baby safe sleep essentials and start decorating your baby’s nursery today!

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