Your Checklist for the Perfect Nursery

Setting up a new nursery? Here’s a shopping list of essentials for creating a room you and baby will love.
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By Joanne Chen, Contributing Writer
Updated March 19, 2021

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re putting together a nursery. Baby boutiques will have you ooh-ing and aah-ing over scores of items—all of which seem absolutely crucial to your tot’s future happiness and well being, including that pink couch fashioned out of 100 percent organic cotton by some artisan in Brooklyn. But the truth is, babies are simple folk. Only a few things are genuinely important, and everything else is merely nice to have. So direct your energies toward the essentials below. They’re all you need to turn any part of your house—whether it’s a corner in your master bedroom or what used to be your den—into a highly functional space made just for baby.

For Sleeping

  • Crib or bassinet that follows current US Consumer Product Safety Standards. This mean slats are no more than 2 and 3/8 inches apart, top rails at least 26 inches above the mattress, and corner posts no more than 1/16 of an inch above the frame.
  • Firm, flat mattress that fits snugly in the crib (less than two fingers should fit between mattress and crib)
  • 1 to 3 washable crib mattress pads
  • 2 to 4 fitted crib sheets
  • Bluetooth speakers (to pipe in soothing sounds and music off baby’s playlist

For Feedings

  • Rocking or arm chair
  • Lamp (or other light source) with dimmer
  • Nightlight

For Diapering

  • Changing table (or if your dresser is low, then you simply need a security-strapped changing pad to put on top of it)
  • Diaper pail

For Storing Baby’s Items

  • Dresser
  • Bookshelf
  • Baskets or bins for toys, diapers and other baby necessities

For Playing

  • Crib mobile (remove this when baby can support himself on hands and knees.)
  • Baby swing or bouncer
  • Soft, easy-to-clean rug (preferably 100 percent organic cotton or wool to avoid off-gassing)
  • Play mat
  • Age-appropriate toys

For Staying Safe

  • Baby monitor (this may not be necessary in a small apartment)

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