INVEST IN A SLEEK NURSING CHAIR: Every nursing mom needs a comfortable glider—but many of the options are far from stylish. That’s all changed with The Grano by Monte Designs ($1,195), a sleek glider-and-recliner that comes in a range of colors, including white, stone, brown, orange, green and gray. With its modern design it’s a great fit for any room in the house, from the nursery to the living room. The chair offers ergonomic arm height for feeding your baby, a high back for proper head rest, and a removable lumbar pillow for extra support. The fabric is water repellant and stain resistant.
DESIGN A KID-FRIENDLY KITCHEN: In many households, the kitchen is the center of activity—making it even more essential that the room be family-friendly. Robert Dobbs, a certified kitchen and bathroom designer with Elgot, a design company based in Manhattan, says families looking to remodel their kitchen may want to consider “u-shaped kitchens, [because they] work well to keep kids on the opposite side of the island [and away from the cooking area].” Also, Dobbs says to be sure to “leave [ample] space between open oven or dishwasher doors and cabinets,” as this helps enable safe passageway through the kitchen. When it comes to flooring, solid wood or laminate floors are both resilient surfaces that make for easy clean-up, while cork is another good option because it makes standing for long periods of times easier on your feet—and on a baby’s crawling hands and knees. For people with small kitchens, Dobbs says internal storage options like pull out pantries really maximize space.
PLAN AHEAD WHEN DECORATING YOUR NURSERY: First-time parents should consider three things before getting deep into plans for a nursery, according to Ali Wing, founder of Giggle, a baby gear and furniture store. First, consider how soon you might have a second child, and plan the nursery around the possibility of a newborn sharing it with a toddler. Second, unless you are someone who likes to redecorate often, design the room so “you’ll like it as much when your baby’s a toddler as when she’s a newborn.” Third, pay attention to safety issues. Be aware of electrical outlets and cords from blinds and lamps, and keep the crib away from them. Also, use paint with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or wallpaper using non-toxic adhesives.
CONSIDER A COLORFUL CHILDREN’S WALL MURAL: Do your children dream of being astronauts, love everything about the ocean or adore animals? Nurture their interests with a customized wall mural designed by Brett McCormack’s Painted Worlds. McCormack, who is based in New York City, has painted window displays for Rockefeller Center, designed holiday windows for Burberry London and has been featured in “LiveDesign Magazine” and on Home &Garden Television. McCormack begins each project with a consultation before completing a series of drafts for the room’s detailed design. He then spends a few weeks creating each personalized room, all with child-safe, non-toxic paints.
MAKE YOUR FAMILY ROOM FAMILY-FRIENDLY: Debbie Weiner, furniture maven and author of “Slobproof! Real-Life Home Decorating Solutions,” draws on her own experience with a full household—including a husband, kids, and multiple pets—to offer tips for keep one’s living area both chic and kid-friendly. Here are just a few to get you started:
*Swap floor and table lamps for overhead lighting. This prevents broken lamps and stained shades, and gives your family more room to play.
*Curious kids always look out the window, says Weiner, which can wreck havoc on delicate draperies. Replace drapes with raise-able shades, which can be made in many stylish fabrics.
*Work with your “trouble spots” to find a carpet or rug solution to shedding pets and spill-prone families. If you have a lot of red stains, buy a red-patterned carpet; if black dog fur is dotting your carpet, find a black-based design.
*Above all, invest in durable seating. “A coffee table from Ikea is just as good as a table from any other place,” Weiner says, “but you can always tell a bad sofa from a good one.” When shopping for a sofa, make sure it has a strong frame, a cushion with down and a thick fabric.
MAKE ECO-FRIENDLY DESIGN CHOICES: Practicing an environmentally conscious lifestyle when your children are young will hopefully lead them to become socially responsible adults in future years. Paulette Cole, CEO and creative director of ABC Home, as well as a mom, is passionate about keeping the business socially responsible. Cole offers the following tips for New Yorkers who wish to set up a “green” nursery or kids room:
*Start with a non-chemical foundation: use non-chemical cleaners and non-toxic paints.
*Buy an air purifier for your urban setting.
*Choose organic mattresses whether you are buying for a crib or a bed.
*Invest in organic mattress pads, duvets, pillows, and sheets. Cole believes “one should keep everything on the bed organic and crisp.”
“At ABC, we have furniture such as cribs sourced from responsibly managed forests,” Cole explains. “Health for the planet is the collective goal.”
INVEST IN FURNITURE THAT GROWS WITH YOUR FAMILY: When Danielle Hansmeyer, SVP of Restoration Hardware Baby & Child, was pregnant and looking to buy furniture for her nursery, she found that there was a “void in the market for good quality, sophisticated design at a reasonable price.” She returned from maternity leave with a slew of ideas, creating the store’s Baby & Child line, which recently launched. It features an assortment of convertible cribs, elegant bedding, bathroom accessories and more that Hansmeyer says are “subtle, but fun” and “seamless with the rest of your home.” Check out their cribs that convert into a toddler bed and “big kid bed,” and changing tables that transform into dressers in styles “that are pretty timeless.” As Hansmeyer notes, “Being able to buy something that will live with your child for 10 years” is worth the investment.
HIRE A DESIGN EXPERT FOR YOUR CHILD’S ROOM: Whether you are having trouble decorating your first child’s room, organizing a bedroom shared between two or three siblings, or transforming your kid’s room from baby to soccer stud, consider hiring some help. Kid’s Supply Co., for example, can send a designer to visit your New York City home and help you create the perfect floor plan for your child’s room. Or, alternatively, bring the room measurements to an appointment for an in-store consultation. The store also carries unique styles of furniture and bedding that you can customize to your own needs. —Reported by Kristen Duca, Darcy Newell, and Kate Willard
ABC Carpet & Home, 888 & 881 Broadway, 212-473-3000, abchome.com.
Brett McCormack’s Painted Worlds, 860-916-8866, paintedworldsnyc.com.
Elgot, 937 Lexington Avenue, 212-879-1200, elgotkitchens.com.
Giggle, various locations in Manhattan, giggle.com.
Kid’s Supply Co, 1343 Madison Avenue, 212-426-1200, kidssupply.com.
Monte Design Group, 1-866-604-6755, montedesign.net.
Restoration Hardware, 935 Broadway, 212-260-9479, restorationhardware.com.
The Rug Company, 88 Wooster Street, 212-274-0444, therugcompany.info.