Congratulations, you’re having a baby! But wait – unless you’re planning for Junior to sleep in a drawer, you’ll need to buy a few things for the nursery. But do you really need that $1800 super-ergonomic rare Norwegian spruce cot? If you get a slightly cheaper changing table, have you failed completely as a parent before the kid’s even born?
As safety and ease of use are priorities for tired new parents, you’ll be pleased to know that over years of testing, we have found you don’t need to spend big for a product that’ll give you peace of mind. So what equipment do you need to consider?
One of the most exciting parts about having a baby (other than meeting your new cutie, of course) is decorating the nursery. Although finding the right items can be a challenge — picking out a crib, changing table and everything else you need takes time — setting up baby’s room lets parents-to-be “nest” and prepare for their little one’s arrival.
Of course, you can piece together your nursery furniture over time, buying one item here and another there. However, purchasing furniture in a set has its benefits. It’s efficient since you can buy everything you need all in one place and be done. Plus, there are no worries about not being able to find something in the same colour or style to match what you’ve already bought. Purchasing a nursery furniture set can also be less expensive than buying the items separately.
What to consider when shopping for a nursery furniture set
- Safety. Choose a set that meets the minimum government safety standards developed by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM). Even better, go for products that are certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). This certification means the item was tested at a certified independent facility and met the rigorous standards set by the ASTM. You should also visit the CPSC website to make sure there haven’t been any recalls with the furniture set.
Versatility. It’s always a good idea to invest in furniture that will last a long time, can work with various themes or can be repurposed in different rooms of the house.
Style. Make sure nursery furniture is comfortable and to your liking. Although the majority of the furniture will be for your baby, you’ll be spending lots of time in the nursery, too.
One more safety tip: If you’re buying a dresser, bookshelf, changing table or any piece that could tip unexpectedly, make sure you secure it to the wall. (Many sets are sold with anti-tip hardware, or you can buy a set separately.) It’s smart to do this when you’re setting up the nursery since the baby will be toddling about sooner than you think.
With that said, we looked high and low to bring you the best nursery furniture sets that will make your growing family happy.
Furniture for younger babies
Bassinets and bedside sleepers
Bassinets are convenient because they don’t take up as much space as a cot and can be placed beside your own bed. But babies grow out of bassinets quickly – once your baby can roll over or pull themselves up it’s time to move them into a cot.
Bedside sleepers are another kind of bassinet that attaches or sits next to to the parental bed to mimic co-sleeping without the baby being in the same bed. The side folds down to allow for easier access during the night.
Despite the claims from manufacturers that bedside sleepers are safe, we’ve tested a few of these and have found some serious risks including a lack of breathable sides, poor stability, insufficient strength and the possibility for head and limb entrapment between the bedside sleeper and the adult bed.
Safety, durability and ease of use for the parent are important factors when buying a cot. They can be costly items, so doing your research can save time and money. They’re suitable from birth and, unlike bassinets, there is an Australian standard for cots. You can also make them last well into childhood as many, for instance, can convert to a toddler-sized or even a single bed.
Our cot mattress reviews also reveal which models are sufficiently firm. A mattress that is too soft is a suffocation risk.
Portable cots (also known as travel cots and portacots) make it easy to be mobile, however, their soft construction can pose some serious safety risks.
Wrestling with a wriggly infant can not only be infuriating, but it can also be downright dangerous if you have a poorly designed change table.
Furniture for older babies
When your little one starts to get mobile it’s time to think about the next batch of furniture you’ll need.
Once your baby can hold its head up (at about six months) a good high chair will make feeding much easier, provided you buy one that’s stable and easy to clean!
Safety gates and barriers
Notoriously curious and very fast, babies can be surprisingly dextrous when they set their minds to a task. That’s why buying the right safety gates and barriers and installing them correctly to block off stairs and doorways is crucial for your peace of mind.
Child safety devices
Every room in the house can present a host of enticing but dangerous objects such as power points, kitchen chemicals, medicines, and hazards like a toppling TV or the danger of strangulation from loose blind cords. So, well-designed and secure child safety devices, as well as anchoring items to walls, can help.
Giving a harried parent a little hands-off breathing space, playpens can be a godsend – but in the absence of an Australian standard, you’ll need to do your research.
Also known as safety rails or bed guards, these devices create a barrier that prevents falls from a bed.
Nursery furniture no doubt makes up the bulk of your newborn expenses with a brand new single baby cot costing between $500 to $2,000.
However, you can save up to 45% with a nursery furniture bundle or nursery furniture packages, instead of buying single items separately. Not only do cot packages save cost and time, for the style-conscious mum it also provides a stress-free way of coordinating the look and feel of the baby’s room.
Nursery furniture sets are also an affordable starting point if you want to eventually build a Montessori nursery and avoid having excessive, bulky furniture that clutters the space.