You may not be able to imagine baby ever sleeping in a twin bed or owning clothes big enough to fill an adult-size dresser, but that day will be here before you know it. So it pays to think about how you can rejigger a piece of nursery furniture so it lasts long past the diaper phase.
Shalena Smith, of Shalena Smith Interiors and founder of GaGa Designs, says the secret to having a room that will easily grow with your child is to pick pieces with longevity from the get-go. “When I design a room, all I want for the parents is to have to get a twin bed and bedding in a few years, and they’re good to go,” she says. Here are some of her favorite ways to repurpose, recycle and reuse some nursery MVPs.
Crib: Consider a model that converts into a toddler bed (bonus points if it also turns into a twin bed). But look into the cost of the conversion kit before you buy, Smith says. Sometimes, it’s the same price as a mattress and box spring, in which case you may decide not to go convertible.
Dresser: If space allows, invest in a model that has at least three adult-size drawers. This will give you plenty of room for stashing clothes, diapers and doodads. Use the top of the dresser now as a changing station—just attach and secure a pad. Then once baby is potty trained, remove the pad and hang a mirror or a few shelves above the dresser.
Bookshelf: Smith suggests buying a unit that has a couple of drawers at the bottom. That’s because as kids grow older (and more hell-bent on wreaking havoc on your organization system), the bookshelf is one of the first spots they tend to raid. Cut down on potential eyesores by having at least some closed storage.
Armoire: A nice compromise between a dresser and bookshelf, the armoire is the ultimate multitasker. There’s space for hanging clothes, folded clothes, diapers and toys. As baby gets older, Smith recommends removing the interior drawers and converting it into a full-on bookcase. The armoire’s doors will hide any messes inside. Give the piece a coat of chalkboard paint and let it double as a safe place to scribble. Smith likes Annie Sloan’s paints because “they’re easy to use.”
Glider: This comfy chair is probably moving over to your room when baby is finished with midnight feedings. So choose one that’s easy to reupholster or slipcover to match your space.
Side Table: It may hold the baby monitor and humidifier now. Let this small table grow into a full-fledged nightstand when baby moves into a twin bed.
Trunk: Consider this piece a transition must-have. Use it now to store too-big clothes and baby blankets; then later, fill it with oversize or odd-shaped toys. Put a couple of chairs next to the trunk to create a nook for playdates and pretend tea parties. You also have the option of moving the piece into your living area to use it as a coffee table.
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