7 tips for baby rooms

Overpowering themes and gender-centric colours are passé. Go for modern design and functional furniture

Overpowering themes and gender-centric colours are passé. Go for modern design and functional furniture

Sometimes, the smallest things take up the biggest room. In your heart and your home! But designing a space for a baby isn’t the easiest of tasks. It’s more than just pulling together bright colours, vibrant accessories, cartoon prints, and decals that they’ll soon outgrow. Every baby, no matter the age, needs to own a space — ideally an organised room that stimulates the imagination, and offers comfort and security. For as they grow up, babies tend to explore, discover, and learn things — and offering a secure space can help boost their confidence. Children understand their environments in different ways from adults, and have different needs, wants, and ways of looking at things.

“It’s important to shun stereotypes and create a room that’s elegant, evocative, and intelligent, a space that allows the freedom to play — and learn alongside,” says Rohit Khanna, a Mumbai-based designer.

Whether you just had a baby and are keen to redecorate or are expecting a little bundle of joy, our seven practical tips will help you design the perfect baby room.

#1 Never ever pick a theme

Everyone’s doing it, we know, but this is one trend you’ll be glad you bucked. A theme tends to get overpowering and limiting, and kills the room once the baby grows up. Wait till your child knows her own mind and has fixed likes and dislikes. Till then, look for sweet and subtly related accessories.

#2 Keep things simple

The baby’s room is not where you want over-the-top décor. Clean lines, functional furniture and modern design are appropriate. They provide the best backdrop and can grow with the child — the toys and accessories can change against the same setting.

#3 Go for gender-neutral gear

Girls love pink, boys like blue, but oh that’s so not true! Not in these times when we’re trying to inculcate values of equality and neutrality. Opt for a gender neutral colour that you can dress up with personal choices; it’s also more likely to be reused later.

#4 Consider a piece’s adaptability

You may want to buy all the baby gear because it’s aww-so-cute but you don’t want to end up splurging on things you — and baby — will hardly use. Look for pieces that are multifunctional and multi-stage, those that can grow with your child or can be used elsewhere later. Look for a high chair that opens up into a table and chair, a crib that transforms into a bed and so on. “Spending too much money on a piece of furniture that does not grow with your child isn’t the best idea. Look for options that will multitask and can be used for years,” says Monika Sen, a Calcutta-based interior decorator.

#5 Make every bit of space count

A baby room doesn’t have to be really roomy; not if you design it smartly. Look for streamlined and compact pieces that do double-duty. A bench that tucks toy baskets underneath, a crib with storage or poufs that let you tuck away diaper packs work really well.

#6 Ease of use works best

You may like the fancy chest of drawers but what use is it if the child can’t pull open the drawers? Look for modern furniture that is designed for a child’s ease of use. Bring in cubbies instead of drawers, get lidless baskets or easy-to-hold handles, and low, child-sized furniture that doesn’t intimidate.

#7 Give them room to visualise and imagine

Accessories that make playtime more fun can create a whole new world. You may not be able to get the wardrobe that leads baby into Narnia but consider a grid-patterned rug that provides umpteen car/ train tracks, a billowing canopy that works as a castle or a tent where they can retreat to any time of the day. Get things that feed the child’s imagination, not those that tell them what to think.

Just a little more care

Once the room is done, look at it from a baby’s eye, and view of the world. It’s vital to babyproof so that the room is a safe space; this is important even if you or another caregiver plan to be around all the time.

In an interview, Dr. Karen Sheehan, Professor of Pediatrics and Preventative Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said that having a safe space for kids “means you’re not always having to say no. Plus, they’re so fast that if you turn for a second, they can get into something they shouldn’t”.

Watch out for choking hazards, the potential for falls, electric outlets — anything that you don’t want your baby to be around with before you bring the baby in.