When you start 'nesting' towards the end of your pregnancy, it feels very important to get every little detail right in time for the big arrival.
Here are my tips for how to furnish your baby's nursery based on how I kitted out my baby's room for his early days.
Your baby will (hopefully) spend many hours peacefully sleeping in his cot. There are some lovely nursery sets available from companies like Mamas and Papas and Mothercare, with matching furniture and accessories, but they can be quite pricey.
The features you really need from a cot are adjustable height settings for when your baby is small, and a removable side to ease the transition from cot to bed.
Mine was from Ikea, cost £60, has a range of mattresses from £15 up to £100 and ticks all the boxes.
Department of Health advice states that if you use a second-hand cot you should have a new mattress for each baby that uses it, and shouldn't use cot bumpers. It is worth keeping in mind that for the first few months your baby will probably sleep in your room with you (until six months, to minimise the risk of SIDs). You might want to think about whether the cot will fit into your bedroom, or whether you will use a separate Moses basket or crib first, and then move your baby into the cot in the nursery.
Some people swear by these - others think they are unnecessary and too quickly become unusable once your baby starts wriggling around. I know that I couldn't have managed without a changing table in the weeks immediately after childbirth - bending down to change my baby on the floor or even on my bed was too uncomfortable so I was very grateful for a changing table.
At around five to six months, when your baby starts getting inquisitive and rolling over, you may not be able to safely use a changing table - but I wouldn't have been without mine in those early weeks.
Whether you're breastfeeding or bottle feeding, it is useful to have somewhere comfortable to sit for night feeds if you have the space in the nursery. The alternative is to take your baby to another room for their feeds, which can be disruptive and wake them more than you might like, or to feed them sitting up in bed, which I found uncomfortable for the first few weeks recovering from childbirth. Feeding the baby in bed can also make it harder to stay awake and will disturb your partner - or you if they are doing the night feeds!
You can buy special nursing chairs, but they are pricey, particularly for the length of time you will actually use one (you hope your darling will start sleeping through at some point), so they may not be worth the investment.
My baby's nursery is on the small side, so I bought a large chest of drawers to store clothes and bedding. At least for the first couple of years, you don't really need hanging space for clothes, so a wardrobe isn't the most efficient use of space.
Plenty of shelving for toys and books will be useful when your baby grows older, although you may not need it straight away.
Although you probably don't want your baby to become reliant on absolute darkness to get to sleep, black-out blinds or curtain linings are useful. I have some lovely brightly patterned curtains, which blocked out enough light during my baby's first winter, but when the evenings got lighter in the spring, sunlight shone through them like stained-glass windows so they were distracting. I bought some clip-in curtain linings which worked very well.
When you're changing nappies in the middle of the night, you'll need enough light to be able to see what you're doing, but not so much that you will dazzle your baby awake. A dimmable light is ideal, but if you haven't got one then a low wattage light bulb is useful. I also use a night light, which is handy when you are just peeking in on your baby or settling them back to sleep and don't want to disturb them with a bright light.