Buying Guide to Baby Furniture

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The key to designing a great nursery is decorating it with furniture you love. While a crib should be top on your list, there are a few other important pieces you'll need to make your newborn's room feel like home

image of baby furniture

You had a hard enough time picking out furniture for your own bedroom, how are you supposed to decide what pieces you'll need for a newborn when there are so many cute options out there?

What are the basic pieces you should have in the nursery?

  • Crib
  • Double Dresser or Changer/Dresser
  • 5 Drawer Chest
  • Hutch
  • Glider
  • Armoire
  • Nightstand

The following questions will help you narrow down which of these items to invest in.

How big is the room?

Square footage is probably going to be the biggest factor in determining which furniture pieces you end up investing in. If you have the space, go ahead and get a nightstand, a changing table, a dresser and maybe even an extra set of drawers or a toy box. If space is limited, look for a changing table and dresser combination unit.

Do you have adequate closet space?

They may be tiny, but babies have a ton of toys, clothes and little extras to contend with. Closet space is a must. That said, not every home is blessed with a walk-in closet in every room. If this is the case, consider investing in an armoire -- a two-door cabinet that provides drawer space, shelving and a spot to hang clothes. This piece will serve you well throughout your baby's childhood and teen years.

Do you want to change diapers on the floor or on the bed?

Yes, is possible to use a portable mat to change your little one's diapers on the floor or even on the bed. However, a changing table provides a convenient space at a comfortable height to change or dress your baby. This is especially great for moms who've had a C-section, or parents with back problems who find bending over to be uncomfortable. Invest in a changing table combo unit and you'll also get plenty of extra storage. Never leave any child unattended on a changing table even if it comes equipped with a guard rail or safety belt.

Do you want a place to sit?

Think about investing in a glider chair. This modern take on a rocker is a favorite of moms everywhere as a relaxing and soothing spot to sit for feeding times or just cuddle time.

Are you looking for furniture to grow with?

Want a dresser that's going to last? Children's furniture tends to take a beating -- especially during the toddler years when children like to explore their mechanical and ... artistic skills. Invest in pieces made of premium solid wood or an engineered wood known for having sound structural integrity. Check to see that the drawers have reinforced corners that interlock and glides that aren't going to slip off of their track after repeated use. You'll also want cabinet doors with solid hinges and pulls or knobs that aren't going to pop off easily.

Don’t forget to secure your dresser and chest to the wall to prevent tipping!


*All of our dressers and chests 30" and above will include anti-tip kits from the manufacturer. However, in case you're using a piece of furniture that did not come with a kit, anti-tip kits can be purchased in-store in our safety department or online under baby proofing/locks and levers.
*Unless specifically designed, do not place heavy items such as TV's on top of dressers or chests. TV's should also be anchored to the wall or the furniture.
*Keep remote controls, toys, and other items that might attract children off of TV stands or furniture.
*Keep TVs and/or cable cords out of reach of children.

Do you want solid wood furniture?

Know that it can be heavy. If you're looking for something lighter try furniture pieces with a solid wood base that's covered in engineered wood.

Do you want to assemble it yourself?

If you're a die-hard do-it-yourselfer, then assembling furniture should be a breeze. If you're not, purchase pre-assembled furniture or hire a professional since you want it correctly -- and safely -- assembled for your child's use.

What is your design aesthetic?

Love dark wood? Prefer something painted? The sky's the limit with baby furniture. You can outfit your little one's room in sleek modern pieces with simple lines. Or indulge in ornate items that have carved detailing and colorful trim. It's all up to your personal design preference.

Do you want knobs or pulls on the cabinets and drawers?

You're in luck: baby furniture comes with both options. Typically what you see on the floor model is what you get. However, some manufacturers do offer customers a choice of styles and/or material (metal or wood), or provide two sets that are interchangeable.

Before you make a purchase, practice opening and closing the drawers. Yes, your decision is going to be based on aesthetic, but you also want to choose a knob or pull that feels good in your hand.

How far in advance should you order your furniture?

Ordering as early as feasible will give you one less thing to think about as your baby's birth approaches.

How much storage space does a dresser provide? What little extras do you want to look for when purchasing a changing table? The following chart answers these and other common baby furniture questions.

Baby Furniture

Description Is there storage? What extras should I consider?
Changing table A small, raised platform designed to provide a convenient place to change or dress your baby. They typically stand 36-48 inches tall. Yes storage options are available. Many changing tables have two or three shelves or drawers. A changing pad. Guard rails and safety straps are available. Never leave a child unattended on a changing table even if it comes equipped with a guard rail and safety belt.
Dresser A series of three to six stacked drawers. Yes. A dresser is a great spot for storing clothes, diapers, sheets and towels. A mirror. If the furniture does not come with wall brackets consider purchasing them and affixing the dresser to the wall.
Changer/Dresser unit A combination dresser and changing table. Yes. Some models come with both cabinets and drawers. A belted changing pad that can be attached and removed and a detachable galley rail. Never leave a child unattended on a changing table even if it comes equipped with a guard rail and safety belt.
Hutch A cabinet that attaches to the top of a dresser or a combo unit. Yes. This piece typically has shelves. A removable/ adjustable lower shelf, a one-touch light. If the furniture does not come with wall brackets consider purchasing them and affixing the hutch to the wall.
Armoire A tall, two-door cabinet. Yes. It typically has two or three drawers on the bottom and space to hang clothes up top. Shelving - although this usually means they have less hanging space. If the furniture does not come with wall brackets consider purchasing them and affixing the armoire to the wall.
Glider chair An updated rocking chair that has a smooth, gliding motion. No. A matching ottoman, washable fabric covering.
Nightstand A small chest that is the same height as a bed. Yes. Most nightstands come with two or three shelves or drawers. Adjustable shelves.
Toy box A large box with a lid. Yes. Its whole purpose is to store toys. A lid that doubles as a seat.

Wood

Now that you've chosen which pieces to invest in, it's time to pick the wood. Maple vs. plywood? Natural vs. stained? This chart breaks down the most common types of wood and which finishes they look best in.

Description Finish/Color
Solid Wood
Birch, Beech, Maple Premium hard woods that are smooth and clean Natural color
Poplar Hard wood that is strong and stable Dark stain or paint
Rubberwood Mid-grade hardwood that is good to use for grainy textures Natural color
Marupa Softer hard wood that tends to dent easily Natural color
Pine Soft wood that tends to dent easily Dark stain or paint
Engineered Woods
Veneers Thin pieces of grained or colored woods glued onto other surfaces. They provide a smooth, flat surface that doesn't warp over time. Comes pre-colored.
Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) Made from fine wood particles glued under heat and pressure. MDF has no grain so it can be cut and drilled without damaging the surface. Oil or water-based paints, varnishes, veneers or laminates.
Particle board A mix of sawdust and adhesive. Particle board is known for its structural integrity and smooth surface. Laminate and veneers.
Plywood Sheets of wood glued together in right angles. Plywood is strong and resists warping, shrinking and splitting. Laminate and veneers.

Safety and Durability

Every new parent wants furniture that's durable, safe and easy to use. Look for these little details when purchasing furniture

Dovetailing: This is a style of assembly where the drawer corners are interlocked. It provides reinforcement so your drawers last through years of wear and tear.

Under mount glide: This style of drawer glide is mounted to the under side of the drawer (as opposed to on either side of the drawer), making for a smoother pull.

Drawer stop: This important little device will help prevent a child from pulling out an entire drawer.

Lined drawer bottom: Some manufacturers line the drawer bottom with felt or velvet to protect it from stains and scuffs.

Dust-proof bottom: This extra piece of wood located underneath the unit keeps those dreaded dust bunnies from invading your drawers.

Gliding lock: A safety mechanism that lets you lock your glider chair in place when it's not in use so that little fingers and toes are kept safe.

Safety latch: Toy boxes and even some drawers have safety latches that help to protect little fingers from getting squashed. If your furniture doesn't include this extra, you can always purchase it separately and install it yourself.

Guardrail or Safety Belt: A guardrail or safety belt on a changing table can help reduce the risk that a child will roll over or fall off a changing table. Never leave any child unattended on a changing table even when equipped with a guard rail or safety belt.

Wall Brackets: Wall brackets can be used to mount most furniture to the wall in a nursery or child's room. Wall brackets can be used to reduce the risk that a piece of furniture will tip and cause injury.