finished baby nursery

How do you layout a baby nursery?

One of the biggest obstacles to successfully designing any space is figuring out how to layout the room properly. It’s also very important to make sure you have just the right amount of furniture, so the room doesn’t look overcrowded or under-furnished. Of course, the nursery is no exception to this challenge, and over the years, I’ve developed some helpful pointers on how to layout a nursery to make sure the spacing is just right.

One of the most common design dilemmas we see here at Modsy is from expecting parents. Baby is on their way, and the only room that will work for a nursery has an awkward layout. A lot of the time it comes down to turning an unexpected space into a space-saving nursery. Or, as in these two rooms with awkward layouts, it’s about optimizing all the weird corner nooks and the sloped ceiling for a nursery design that’s still fun and functional.

When choosing the nursery layout, consider factors such as easy access to the diapering station for diaper changes, placement of crib away from windows to protect the baby from cold drafts as well as hanging cords and the positioning of the nursery chair so you can sit and watch the baby when she’s sleeping. (You’ll find yourself doing this quite a bit!)

Looking for those finishing touches to your baby nursery? Check out range of baby nursery decor to help.

These Nursery Layouts Will Make Your Life So Much Easier

Central Crib

In this layout, the crib is the first thing you see when you walk in the door. This is perfect for quick checks on your sleeping infant. Place the crib several feet away from any windows to protect the baby from cold drafts, hanging blinds, and curtain cords. To balance the room, a glider sits opposite the crib and directly next to the door, so you can rest while monitoring your child. Place the dresser adjacent to the changing table for ease going back and forth between the two.

baby crib

Kitty-Corner Crib

Ideal for large nurseries, this unique layout features a kitty-corner crib. It’s a great way to cut through space and create a focal point if you have an ornately detailed crib. Watch out for fallen items like blankets and toys in the corner, though! Other necessary furniture, such as the dresser, changing table, and glider, remains within proximity to each other on the other side of the room.

Shared Space

If your nursery needs to be multifunctional, this is the layout for you. It contains all the essentials needed for a nursery, a shared kids’ space, and a converted guest bedroom. Try a portable or mini crib so it can be wheeled into the corner. Keep extra clothes in a dresser that doubles as a changing table. Finally, make the most of the space with a daybed that can convert into a sleeping arrangement for a guest!


If twins are in your future, it’s time to double up on cribs. Consider arranging the cribs extending outward from the wall instead of placing them horizontally side by side. This allows the babies to see each other better and offers a more visually interesting arrangement. Invest in a changing table with extra space, so there’s room for double the diaper changing.

When designing a twin nursery, there’s many nursery layouts to consider, but this is one of our favourite nursery layouts for shared spaces. Placing both the cribs against the same wall with the dresser in the middle to balance the room is the perfect layout. 

Nursery Layout With Crib And Nursery Chair Next To Each Other

This nursery layout is a great option if the room is small. You place the crib and the nursery chair against the same wall and use the opposite wall for the dresser, hence giving the room balance.

Nursery Layout With Crib Placed Opposite The Nursery Chair 

It’s important to place the crib away from large windows. So in this nursery layout, the crib is positioned alone while the nursery chair and the dresser/ changing table are across, making diaper duty easier.

Nursery Layout With Crib In The Corner

This small nursery layout maximizes space in the room by placing the crib in a corner. This placement allows you to place a dresser/changing table as well as a nursery chair in a small room. 

Nursery Layout With Crib And Diapering Station Next To Each Other

Here the nursery layout optimizes the space and makes the nursery super functional. The diapering station close to the crib makes late-night diaper changes quick and easy while the placement of the crib away from the window, allows the warm light to flood into the nursery but from a distance.

For Sleep Keep Cribs Away From Windows

One of the basics of baby nursery layout that serves the sleep routine is keeping the crib away from windows. Sometimes, parents get so caught up in fun nursery room designs, and they forget baby care basics. One of those basics is to do everything possible to be sure your baby can sleep well.

Windows are not conducive to good sleep. Unless you have expensive room-darkening shades, light from the window can disturb your baby’s sleep. Also, windows let in heat in the summer and cold in the winter. This is not only disruptive to good sleep, and it can be uncomfortable for Mom when she’s attending to her baby.

Ideally, you want to position your crib on a wall opposite to or adjacent to the room’s window or windows.

For Feeding Combine Chairs with Cribs and Storage

Besides the crib, one of the essential pieces of baby room furniture is the easy chair. Momma, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in this room. You need a comfy place to sit while you feed or watch over your baby.

You don’t want to position your chair in any old place. Put it where it will be the most convenient for you. For economy of motion, you’ll want your chair near the crib, so you don’t have to go far with a crying baby wanting to be fed. One lift and a sit, and you’re settled if the chair is near the crib.

Once you’re seated, though, you’re going to want some things within reach. You may need a spit-up cloth or a pacifier. So either places your chair near a chest of drawers or place a storage basket or container near or under the chair.

For Changing Pair Changing Tables and Cribs

Just as you don’t want your chair too far from the crib, you don’t want your changing area too far away either. A quick shift of an unhappy, smelly baby to the changing area is always a good idea. For additional convenience, be sure your changing table includes drawers or other types of storage, so you have all you need to clean up and diaper your baby.

For Playing and Learning Put Fun Within Sight of the Crib

All nurseries should have elements of fun, but the fun shouldn’t just be in the look of the room as a whole. That fun needs to be within the sightline of your baby while he or she is hanging out in the crib. An engaged baby is a happy baby. So arrange your nursery so that playful items like plush toys can be easily seen from the crib.

Surround the Crib with Color and Contrasts

Keeping fun nursery elements near the crib good, but placing bold colour and contrast near the crib is even better. When a baby is born, its nerve cells aren’t yet well-connected. Creating these connections comes from sensory input. So visual stimulation is crucial to your baby’s development.

Research has shown that stark colour contrasts like black and white or other bold colours paired with white work best to stimulate your baby’s senses. Stripes are also important for developing nerve connections.

Because newborn babies see best up to 12 inches away, surround the crib with sharp colour contrasts and striped patterns.

Get Soft and Fluffy on the Floor

Although you can have any type of flooring, you choose in your baby’s room, at least part of the floor should be covered with a plush, fluffy rug. When your baby starts to crawl, both baby and you are going to spend a lot of time on the floor. Cushion baby knees and your own with a crawling-friendly space in your nursery so your play routine will be enjoyable for all. Including some floor, pillows will also help with your playtime routine.

Baby nursery decorative decor unlike any other. Check out My Baby Nursery’s range here.

For Storage and Organization Keep Shelves Low

When it comes to a list of nursery decorating hacks, keeping shelving relatively low to the floor is right up there at the top. Although this might seem counterintuitive to someone who doesn’t want to bend over all the time to get and store needed items, think about what’s going to happen when your child starts to crawl and toddle around.

It’s fine for larger nursery furniture, like chests and wardrobes, to be at adult height, but shelves are a special case. When your baby starts exploring, tall shelves can look like a mountain that would be fun to climb. Shelves also aren’t the most stable pieces of furniture; inquisitive toddlers can easily pull them over.

Incorporating low shelving and other low to the floor storage containers into your nursery room layout is not only safe, it’s also helpful for teaching children to pick up and put away their toys and clothes. When storage is accessible to them, they can learn to use it.

Taking care of a baby is one of the most joyful and rewarding of life’s gifts, but it can also be one of the most exhausting. The above seven nursery room layout ideas should help you optimize all your baby care routines so baby care will be as easy as possible.

Our tips for getting the layout right are as follows:

Create a Sleeping Zone

The positioning of your cot or cot bed is one of the most important things to consider.  

Ensure that it is not next to a radiator or a window in order to avoid any draughts or excessive heat and if possible position it where you can see it from the doorway – this will not only make it the key focus in the room but will ensure that you are able to check on your baby without disturbing them easily.

It is sensible to keep all other furniture out of reach of the cot, as toddlers love to climb and will use anything that they can get their hands on to pull themselves up and out! 

The ideal space for your nursing chair is next to the cot so that you can easily move your baby into their bed after a feed. 

Create a Changing zone 

Changing Units (changers) should ideally be positioned near wardrobes/dressers. However careful you are, explosive nappies often result in a full change of clothes, and it makes sense to have everything that you need on hand so that you are not tempted to leave your baby alone on the changer.

Whether you have opted for a nappy disposal system or just an ordinary bin, it goes without saying that the ideal place to position it is next to the changing unit.

Consider allocating a small area for play

However old your child is, it is likely that they will have a collection of toys and stuffed animals from very early on. If space permits, creating a play zone makes sense. This should be positioned away from the cot so that your child isn’t able to try and reach for toys from their bed.  

Include a Reading Corner

One recent trend in nursery design has been the inclusion of a reading corner. The Internet is awash with clever ideas for developing an early interest in books, and this is one of them. Our Nursery tips board on Pinterest has some inspiring examples of reading corners and is well worth a look! 

Remember Lighting

Often forgotten and Oh so important, lighting is very important when it comes to a nursery. If you haven’t got dimmer switches on your main lights, then give some thought to ensuring that you can access low wattage lamps or nightlights around your changing zone and nursing chair. The last thing that you want to do is wake a sleepy baby when you change their nappy!

Think Storage!

Quite simply put, a nursery cannot have too much storage, so we suggest that you avoid compromising where possible. From toys to giant packs of nappies and the countless gifts that you may receive from family and friends, it is likely that you will at some point, fall short in the storage department. Consider planning in where you might be able safely to position some hooks, baskets and also give some thought to how and where you will store items that need to be kept secure such as medication etc.

Plan Ahead

Sadly, your baby won’t be in their cot forever, so if you want to avoid having to replace all of your nursery furniture in 5 or so years, consider the space that will ultimately be required for a single bed and build that into your plan.  

Two Awkward Nursery Design Layouts, Solved!

The Playroom Nursery

Poses the challenge of a sloped ceiling and a corner nook that almost stands out as a room of its own. For us, the design work was all about making the most of the nooks and leaving lots of open floor space for baby to crawl around and play. Here, balancing comfort and function ultimately meant choosing the right size furnishings and mixing up wide and vertical storage pieces to get the most out of the room.

The best part of this layout is that a round crib fit in one corner perfectly underneath the sloped ceiling, which provided the ideal height for hanging a cute mobile. An adorable double solution

Why This Nursery Design Works

While there are many places to fit the crib, we chose to optimize one of the sloped ceiling corners for around option. This left more room to include a large dresser with a changing table topper that fits perfectly around the corner. (You can nix the topper in a few years and continue to use the dresser as baby grows up!) This sets it apart nicely as a functional spot that feels slightly separate from everything else.

The dark-blue palette also makes for a neutral and versatile backdrop that goes with any number of furnishings but also lends a playful but relaxing atmosphere. Another bonus in having the round crib in a corner is that it allows a glider to be placed closely across from it.

The Sit and Sleep Space

Has a more straightforward approach with a separate nursery and cozy corner seating area. With this approach, we placed the crib and dresser together in the same space to create a cozy, quiet sleeping space. This also left room for the changing station beside the crib, which makes for easier diaper changes.

Just off in the corner, we tucked away a glider into the nook for a comfy place for nursing and rocking baby. To further play up a calming atmosphere, we opted for a soothing, safari-themed, gender-neutral green wall colour as well as a whimsical palm wallpaper print.

We have the best range of decorative decor for your baby nursery. Check it out here. 

Why This Nursery Design Works

The distinct, separate areas for seating and sleeping emphasize a functional furniture setup, which works seamlessly for daily life with a baby. The crib has its own space and gives the baby a space they can call their starting as an infant.

Additionally, storage and daily activities don’t have to interfere with nap times, given the separate seating and storage nook. Here, vertical storage for daily baby needs allows everything to be within convenient reach and toys to be easily stowed away in a chest. This also gives you a relaxing space to unwind and even have some shut-eye when your baby is napping.

Regardless of your nursery design style, organization and nursery layouts are key to making sure that the baby’s room is functional.

Taking care of a little bundle of joy is no easy task. There’s the late-night feedings, constant diaper changes and of course, hours spent trying to calm a fussy baby.

So when designing your baby’s nursery, of course, you want the nursery to look beautiful, but you should also focus on practical nursery layouts. 

You may start off designing the nursery by considering design elements like the colour palette, furnishings and decor details, but first, you need to think about the nursery layout. 

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