Transitioning from a nursery to a toddler’s room is a major milestone for a parent and child alike. With a nursery, you can decorate to suit your own personal desires for a nurturing, soothing space. When it’s time to transition to a toddler’s room, however, your little one has probably developed plenty of their own opinions. They will probably want to be involved in the process, and the room should reflect their personality. In practical terms, transitioning to a toddler’s room means switching out furniture, storage spaces and décor. It sounds like a big project, but with the following tips it can be easy, enjoyable, and adaptable to your toddler’s nonstop development.
From Baby-Proofing to Toddler-Proofing
Safety first! As you transition from nursery to toddler’s room, you also switch from baby-proofing to toddler-proofing. New hazards presented by growing toddlers include their ability to grab items from higher places, try to climb furniture, get into drawers and other storage spaces, and peer out of windows. The room transition is an ideal time to double-check your child-proofing efforts. Use wall anchors for furniture, electrical socket covers, doorknob covers and cordless window treatments, among other essential safety steps. Make sure that every single item in your toddler’s room is safe for them to handle; if it’s not, find a safe spot for it elsewhere in the house.
Make Smart Furniture Choices
New furniture—a bed, storage and seating—is likely the biggest change, and biggest investment, in the transition from nursery to toddler’s room. Gone are the crib and changing table, and in are a bigger bed, more substantial storage units and spaces designed for both playtime and downtime. Whether you’re buying new furniture or repurposing items you already own, consider how long the item will be suitable for your growing child. With some smart choices, furniture can stay in your child’s room long after their toddler years.
The Big Bed Switch
If your infant’s crib converts to a toddler bed, now is the time to make the switch. Otherwise, you have a choice to make between buying a toddler bed or twin bed. A twin bed in a neutral style will suit your child for many, many years, and is a better long-term investment than a toddler bed. Attach safety rails for as long as your child needs them.
If you are decorating a room for siblings, or perhaps expect to welcome siblings in the future, bunk beds might be an appropriate choice. The experts at What to Expect advise not to put children in bunk beds too young. However, bunk beds that can also be set up as separate beds before and after the toddler years can be a wise investment.
Much More Storage
Put considerable thought into storage units. A toddler’s room typically requires a lot more storage than a nursery. Toddlers tend to acquire many, many toys and games, and their clothes take up more and more space as they grow. One way to prevent the room from being overwhelmed with stuff is to pack up perhaps one-third of their toys, books and so forth to store elsewhere in the home. You can switch them out every few months.
With increasing independence, toddlers often like to pick out their own clothes and have immediate, easy access to their own things. Make sure your storage units are accessible to toddlers. For example, you could put the current season’s clothing in the lower drawers of a dresser, or install a hanging rail at a lower level. Baskets and bins with open tops or easy-to-open lids are ideal for encouraging toddlers to choose toys to play with and put away again. Look for storage units that do double-duty, such as a toy chest that’s also a bench or a bed with drawers built in underneath.
Choose Easy Décor Changes
It might be tempting to decorate a toddler’s room with a “theme” based on your child’s favorite colors, animals or motifs, but remember that a toddler’s preferences rarely last long. And unlike an infant, they will express their opinions! Your daughter might love purple and monkeys today, but her all-purple room with a monkey mural will almost certainly fall out of favor soon. Instead, choose neutral colors for paint and window dressings. Add personality and color with inexpensive, easily replaced décor elements such as lampshades, bedding and wall art. Also consider including a single accent wall, which you can repaint without too much trouble. Removable wallpaper and decals are other great options.
Add Some Personal Touches
A great way to make your toddler feel really at home in their own room is to add personal touches. A piece of art displaying their name or monogram is a nice choice, as are framed family photos. You might put up a cork board or other display board to showcase their arts and crafts projects.
Create a Special Space
A toddler’s room should be a place suitable for them to sleep, play, learn and develop, and it can be tricky to get all those elements in one room. Try to carve out a special space in the room, separate from their bed and storage areas, that’s suitable for playing and reading. If the room is big enough, try a modular sofa to define a reading and playing area separate from the sleeping zone around the bed.
You could include an activity area with a small desk and chair and easy access to craft supplies. Or perhaps a “book nook” with a floor cushion and low-level bookshelves with a changing selection of their favorite board books. Toddlers often crave a quiet, private spot too. A play tent or even a curtain hanging over a corner makes a nice “secret” hiding space.