After bringing home your bundle of joy, time only seems to speed up. Before you know it, your baby grows into a rambunctious, playful toddler. And the nursery may need a few updates to accomodate your child’s growth, energy and curiosity.
When designing a toddler room, it’s important to create space that will inspire their imagination and spur creativity. You’ll also want to design for functionality, safety and interchangeability. Your child might not be a baby anymore, but they are still a child. They have a lot of growing left to do, so creating a room that can grow with them is important as well.
1. Buy a Toddler Bed. Make the transition to a big-kid bed easier by first replacing the crib with a toddler bed, which is lower to the ground and smaller than a twin bed. If your child tends to roll out of bed without the rails, you can make your own wooden ones to keep them safe. You could also convert your crib into a bed by removing the rails from one side, allowing your little one to safely crawl in and out of bed on his own.
If you opt for a toddler bed, you’ll need some new bedding to go along with it. Purchase toddler sheet sets and new pillows as well as a new comforter with a fun print. And don’t be afraid to choose bright colors or prints. Dinosaurs, rainbows, giraffes, and butterflies are fall fair game.
2. Repurpose the Changing Table. By the time your child reaches the toddler stage, diapers should hopefully be on their way out. Which means you can use that changing table for other things now. If it is a free-standing table, use it for toy or clothing storage and place some fun decorations on top to jazz it up.
Make the room safe for your little one by securing the furniture to the wall with anchors. This will prevent any toppled furniture and injuries due to climbing or playing. You might also replace the knobs or drawer handles if they have sharp edges or stick out too far. So, if your child falls or bumps into the table, they won’t hurt themselves on sharp drawer pulls.
3. Create More Space. Your child is likely crawling and walking by now, which means they need more room to play and explore. Replace the diaper pail with toy storage compartments and the exer-saucer with a cushy toddler-sized chair. You could also remove any other furniture you and your child have outgrown like rocking chairs and ottomans to create more floor space.
Additionally, you’ll want to organize the toys and allocate a place for each item. And, since your toddler will be learning how to do things on her own now, try to keep most toys and books within her reach. Place books on low-hanging shelves and coats or jackets on low hooks and hang artwork at eye-level so your toddler can appreciate and enjoy it. Keeping everything accessible for your child will give them the independence they desire and create space for them to learn and play.
4. Add Subtle Decorations. Is your little boy totally into dinosaurs? Get artsy and paint a tyrannosaurus rex on the accent wall or add a few stuffed velociraptors to the room as decoration. Likewise, if your daughter loves mermaids, add some sparkly fish or paint some waves on the wall.
Adding subtle decorations will help personalize the room to match your child’s interests. And you can easily cover any murals with a fresh layer of paint as your child’s fascinations change. Eventually, you may want to transition to more pastel colors or a more grown-up design. But, for now, lime green walls and glittery decorations are completely acceptable.
5. Hang a Magnet Wall. Turn a blank, boring wall into a creative outlet for your child with a do-it-yourself magnet board. All you need is some sheet metal, a hammer and nails and some cardboard. When you’ve finished hanging the metal, throw some colorful letter magnets on there and let your child play. This helps grow both their cognitive and non-cognitive skills.
You may also hang artwork on the board or photos of your family and baby. Or, to match the dinosaur theme, add some stegosaurus magnets. Feel free to incorporate new magnets and art as your child grows to keep the wall engaging.
Designing for Saftey and Independence
A successful transition from nursery to toddler room is generally one that promotes your child’s safety and overall independence. You want to make space for your little one to create, learn and explore without them having to ask for help at every turn. And, as they test their independence, you want to ensure their safety by anchoring heavy furniture, incorporating bed railings and removing and dangerous objects or materials. This way, no matter where their imagination takes them, they’ll be safe.
Once you’ve designed and created this new space, sit back and watch your child’s pride, knowledge and independence grow as they accomplish new things on their own. This stage won’t last forever, so relish every moment and enjoy the time you have with your toddler.