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6. Define a play space
An area rug or mat provides a comfortable surface for playtime and a contained site for toys. Keep storage items nearby for easy cleanup.
7. Be careful with crib bedding
Though bedding can be colorful and decorative, you do need to take safety precautions. Don't place loose blankets or pillows in the crib with a baby younger than 12 months, and make sure she can't get her head stuck between the crib bumper and slats. Sheets should be tight-fitting and wrap securely around the corners of the mattress. Or try a crib sheet that stays in place with a zipper, such as Clouds and Stars QuickZip Crib Sheet (cloudsandstars.com).
8. Position the crib carefully
Avoid placing your baby's crib under a window or in the path of direct sunlight, which can be disturbing to a sensitive newborn and, on very hot days, might overheat her. Also, be sure not to place the child's bed or changing table under shelves or artwork that could fall or be pulled down by the baby.
"When arranging furniture, start with the crib," says David Harris, creative director at DucDuc in New York. "It's the largest piece in the room and the one you need most. Everything else will fall into place naturally."
9. Overestimate your storage needs
Clothing, toys, diapers and gear take up more space than you'd think, so you'll need plenty of baskets, bins, shelves and closet organizers to keep your baby's room tidy. If you have a toy chest, make sure that the hinges have a mechanism to prop up an open lid and that they won't pinch little fingers; also look for a model that will let in air if a child climbs inside and closes the lid.
10. Make it a room you love
"Nowadays, baby's rooms are decorated in grand ways," says Nava Writz, custom children's bedding designer for Nava's Designs. "If you want to go all-out, go all-out!" Or, if simplicity is your style, go with that. Whatever you choose, be true to your own style, and the nursery will be a special place.
Design for Small Spaces