Top Ten: Nursery Must-Have’s

I’m not a professional interior designer, nor am I the Baby Whisperer. But after bearing five sweet babies and decorating their nurseries, I have learned a few things about what’s nice, important and completely unnecessary. But, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. You won’t find a Diaper Genie or a Wipe Warmer on this list. Those have to be the dumbest baby inventions – ever. Just ask my friend, Dwija. It’s quite possible you have your very own “must-have” idea or item and I would totally love to hear about it.


1. Hanging pegs. Once upon a time, I read some fancy schmancy baby book and of all the tips it shared, this was its best gem. Our pegs are right beside the changing table and are used for clothes that aren’t clean, but aren’t dirty enough for the laundry – last night’s pajamas, yesterday’s shorts, etc. We also hang the baby’s backpack there and it’s filled with a diaper and an outfit should we need to “grab and go.” I know, genius, right?

2. A Blackout Curtain. Y’all, if you buy NOTHING else for the nursery, buy this. We got this one at Z Gallerie, but any room darkening shade can be made  by buying blackout fabric at the fabric store. I mean, if you like your baby waking up at 5am in the spring and then not bedding down until 9pm during the summer, go for it. But I value sleep and this little piece of fabric heaven has restored my sanity.

3. A rocking chair. For babies 1-3 we had the wooden kind. And it worked, but at 2am when I was nursing and fell asleep I had some nice neck pain. We sold it in a garage sale and bought this one. I love it, mostly because it doesn’t scream BABY and it’s so comfortable it isn’t even funny. I was never a huge fan of gliders, mostly because I wasn’t coordinated enough to get the chair and the stool going at the same time. That’s my reality, folks.

4.  White noise. Yeah, we’re a little cheap and I opted for the $20 box fan from Target. I know there are fancy machines that play oceans and chirping birds, but we went with the old standby. Plus, it cools off the room in the hot, hot, hot Texas summers.

5.  The changing station basket. When our first was born, my mom bought this basket and rather than put it on a shelf, I decided to make it functional. It’s particularly handy at oh, say 3am, when you’re fumbling in the dark for a diaper, wipes and buttpaste. They’re all in one easy-to-access place. It’s prevented many a curse word, my friends.

6. A Holy Water font. Now, I realize some of you may not be 100% on board with this, but for my Catholic readers I can’t imagine a nursery without one. In fact, all my children have a font in their rooms. Most, if not all, were given as gifts by a Godparent so they are especially meaningful. If you’re non-Catholic and wondering what all the fuss is about, I’ll tell ya. Holy Water is water that’s been blessed by the priest. It’s what we use during baptisms and it’s what is in the fonts at church. As we dip our finger into the water and bless ourselves by making the sign of the cross, we’re reminding ourselves of our baptismal promise.

7. A video monitor. This camera is old school. We bought it twelve years ago from a security company because the ones Babies ‘R Us were selling were a racket and a piece of junk. We have four cameras and a monitor that allows us to switch between the four. Obviously, we only use one now, but I might be reinstalling it in the gameroom when the kids hit the teenage years. It’s got a light so you can see in the dark and while it’s no HD quality, it has done the job for five kids. It’s allowed me to see what they’re doing rather than rush upstairs only to find a now-awakened baby that was sound asleep until I panicked and bolted in.

8. A bookcase. This particular one was made by my grandfather many years ago and it’s survived about five coats of paint! I bought the baskets on sale at Target and we use them to house books. I don’t need to tell you how great reading is for your kids. But, I do need to tell you that the baskets have been great because we can shift them around to rotate what we read and they are easily accessible for little hands.

9. Useful storage. Let’s be honest, the one shelf and rod the builders install in houses is, um, bad. I speak from experience, get yourself a decent shelving system so you can get things off the floor, up on a shelf and in things that you can see. It will help you use what you have and not buy double, plus those tiny clothes look so dang cute on hangers. We opted to put all the storage-y type stuff up high and make the hanging clothes and socks down low so little hands could help.

10. Don’t forget the details. Anybody can slap a crib and a dresser in a nursery. But I encourage you to make the room your own. I opted to only buy one set of bedding way back when. It’s survived five kids, hundreds of laundry cycles and it still looks great. It’s the details that I love, though. The shelf with photos and special gifts…

the name on the wall…

the photos that captured a special memory…

the artwork…

and the Papal blessing.


What are your favorite pieces in your nursery? No doubt, that room is full of many sweet memories. I’m sure yours is, too.


  1. lena on July 11, 2012 at 10:22 am

    great tips. the black out curtains are a must for any bedroom in my home. i love the addition of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic blessing for your child’s baptism. I always intend to do this for my children but have failed on all five occasions. maybe next time! 😉 +AMDG+

  2. Silvia on July 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Beautiful ideas. In Portugal, we can’t even find Holy Water in most churches anymore. So, it had never crossed my mind one could have Holy Water at home. Now I would like some but don’t know how to get it.

    • Kathryn on July 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      You can take any water and have it blessed by your priest. Voila!

      • Silvia on July 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm

        Thanks! I’ll talk to him. Hopefully, he will understand. I would like to bless my children each morning before they go to school.

  3. Jen Crowley on July 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    How do you get a Papal blessing at baptism? That is SO neat! Do you go through the diocese like you do for a Papal marriage blessing?

    • Kathryn on July 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      My husband works for the Diocese so he walked down the hall and requested it :). However, you can go through your parish priest and request one through your diocese.

  4. Dianna on July 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    This is wonderful!

    I was happily reading along, loving all your suggestions, then saw the holy water font.

    My face about broke from the huge, huge smile.

    I’m an improper Catholic, and will be buying holy water fonts post haste!

  5. Mothering From Scratch on July 15, 2012 at 7:01 am

    {Kathy} As a mom of four, I completely agree with everything here. I am going to look for holy water fonts for my house. I love, love, love that.

    • Kathryn on July 15, 2012 at 10:48 am

      Thanks, Kathy! I had no idea the holy water fonts would be everyone’s favorite. Your site is great, by the way!

  6. Baptism Week {Feeding the Party} on March 23, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    […] to place a holy water font in all of our children’s rooms and I have it on my list of top ten nursery must-have’s. Now, a lucky reader can have one, […]

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