So much to prepare for and where to begin? Besides the crib, there are several other furniture pieces you will want to consider. They are:
- Changing Table
- Combo Unit
Changing Table - Is a small, raised platform designed to provide a safe, organized and comfortable place to change or dress an infant. Most tables stand 36-48 inches high and have guard rails on all 4 sides to provide added security. Some models have open shelves for storage, while others have drawers or cabinets, which allow the unit to be used as a small dresser later on. Other optional equipment includes wheels to move the table from room to room, and a changing pad.
Combo Unit - Is a combination of a changing table and a large dresser with drawers and cabinets for clothing and diapering storage. Usually a belted changing pad can be attached to the back of the unit to create a changing station (this can be removed to turn the unit into a dresser when needed). Many units come with a detachable galley rail (a three-sided frame that provides extra security while using a changing pad) so the unit can be used as a dresser and with a hutch later on.
Hutch - Is a cabinet that attaches to the top of a combo unit or dresser, creating shelves for storage. The hutch is sold separately from the combo unit and most models have a removable and/or adjustable lower shelf that allows for a large changing area. Select models come with one-touch lights.
Chest - Is tall and narrow with a single row of five or six drawers to store layette and other clothing items.
Armoire - Is a tall, two door cabinet with drawers (typically two or three) plus wardrobe space to hang clothes. An armoire is the perfect solution to a lack of closet space.
Nightstand - Is a small, short chest of drawers or shelves that is about the same height as a bed.
1. Finish/Color - The different stains or paint finishes range from 1-25 to match the crib, depending on the manufacturer.
2. Wood Type - Most nursery furniture has a solid wood frame, along with veneers or some form of engineered wood (sometimes referred to as "MDF").
- Birch, Beech and Maple - Premium hard woods that are smooth and clean. Great choices for natural color.
- Marupa - Softer hard wood from South America. Dents more easily than other hard woods, but works well with natural color.
- Rubberwood - Environmentally friendly, mid-grade hard wood and great for natural color.
- Pine - A soft wood that tends to dent and scratch easier than harder woods.
- Poplar - Another soft wood that is great for use with a dark stain or paint.
Engineered Woods (4 types):
- Thin pieces of richly grained or colored woods, glued into sheets and attached to other surfaces.
- Not as susceptible to changes in humidity that can cause expansion and contraction.
- Provides a smooth, flat surface (where solid lumber could potentially warp over time).
Medium Density Fiberboard ("MDF")
- Made from fine wood fibers glued under heat and pressure.
- It has no grain so it can be cut, drilled and filed without damaging the surface.
- Oil or water-based paints, varnishes, veneers and laminates may be used to finish MDF.
- Engineered wood that is extremely sound in structural integrity and has a smooth surface to better allow the application of laminated materials.
- Made by mixing sawdust and adhesives.
- Laminate and veneer materials are frequently applied to this material.
- Made from thin sheets of wood glued together.
- Grains of wood are arranged in right angles, which makes it exceptionally strong.
- Resists warping, shrinking and splitting.
3. Drawers - You will find it helpful to understand how drawers are constructed.
- Dovetailing - Is a type of drawer assembly where the corners interlock to provide reinforcement, and is capable of lasting through years of use. There are two types of dovetailing: English Dovetail and French Dovetail.
English dovetail is made of two interlocking joints. Each side of the drawer features a set of "fingers" cut out and designed to interconnect (similar to a jigsaw puzzle). This type of dovetailing uses a 4-sided drawer box construction (the inner box of the drawer has four sides and the drawer front is attached on top of one of the sides).
French dovetail uses a slot system. A slot is cut out from one side of the drawer and cut into another. This type of dovetailing uses a 3-sided drawer box construction (inner box of the drawer has 3 sides, and the drawer front creates the fourth side).
- Drawer Glides/Runners - drawer glides help to keep the drawers properly aligned. Check that any drawer includes stops so you cannot pull out the entire drawer.
There are two types of drawer glides.
Wooden drawer glides - typically have one glide running down the bottom center of the drawer.
Metal drawer glides (come in 2 types) - are the most common drawer glides. Some metal runners have ball bearings in them, making the drawers seem to virtually glide on their tracks. The first type of metal glide is called a side mounted glide since it is usually attached on each side of the drawer. The second type is called an under mount glide which is mounted on the bottom of the drawer. You may find drawers with one or two under mount glides; however, in general under mounted glides tend to run smoother and prevent children from being able to pull out the entire drawer.
- Drawer Bottoms - can be made from any of these materials: melamine, plywood, particle board or MDF. Some manufacturers will line the bottom of a drawer with felt or velvet.
- Drawer Knobs - come in metal or wood. Most nursery furniture pieces come with the knobs shown on the display model; while some manufacturers offer customer's a choice, and others include two sets that are changeable.
4. Dust-Proof Bottom - A special feature to look for.
- An additional piece of wood located underneath the unit (found on select models) that prevents dust from the floor or carpeting from getting into the drawers.
5. Back Panel - The back panel is attached by using one of three methods:
- Recessed back panel: back panel slides into the back of the furniture before the top piece is attached.
- Screwed on back panel: back panel is attached with screws.
- Stapled on back panel: back panel is secured with staples.