Flexible furnishing in a nursery is a great idea as it is surprising how quickly a child outgrows nursery decoration and furnishings. Small children tend to have more clothes and larger toys so a tallboy and large toy cupboard are a great start. Save the wardrobe until they are older and have clothes to be hung up.
If you are buying the cot second hand strip back all layers of paint in case any of it contains lead. Cot bumpers, duvets and pillows won’t be necessary until after 1st birthday.
Instead of a cot which the child will outgrow there are those available now with removable sides which converts into a proper bed so they can carry on sleeping in the same bed. The top of a chest of drawers makes ideal changing area with changing mat. Use the top drawer or a basket within easy reach for nappies and wipes to avoid leaving baby while you try and find them. Lastly and equally important a comfortable chair for feeding and holding baby. A washable floor is easier in a nursery. Toys will run and stack better on a hard floor surface. A wooden floor surface is probably the most attractive and absorbs impact better on falls and jumping up and down. Little boys and girls love to snuggle up in soft warming textures so make sure there is a fleecy blanket on the bed.
For safety’s sake keep blind cords short in children’s bedrooms. Use blackout blinds or shutters for daytime naps and early bedtimes. Keep electrical cords out of reach and freestanding furniture should be tip resistant low corners on furniture should be rounded. Check paint and varnish for VOCs and avoid as well as mdf which contains formaldehyde and can now get formaldehyde free fibreboard. Fit childproof window locks if windows are at all accessible. Use stoppers on doors and drawers to stop furniture trapping little fingers. For children sharing bedrooms bunk beds are the obvious choice in a smaller room to allow plenty of floor space for play but for safety reasons it is best to wait until the child is at least 6 before using the top bunk.
A popular choice now is a bunk bed with a desk or sofa and storage beneath as are folding chairs and small tables and hanging space in alcoves. Furniture can be used to divide up space in shared rooms or ceiling hung blinds which can easily be raised for an open plan room to play or lowered for privacy. For colours allow each child to choose their favourite colour for the two walls nearest them. When two children of very different ages share, the room will need careful thought. If you are using bunk beds give the older child the lower bunk or the bed nearest the door to make it easier for different bedtimes. As regards children’s decoration, it is easier to indulge them by having football colours on bedding than on the walls or hanging a mural or large picture printed on to washable fabric which can then easily be moved and used as a play mat or hang in a new room. Teenagers want a room which is more of a bedsit than a bedroom. Hang posters from stretchers to avoid damaging the wall. You will need plenty of powerpoints for computers, mobiles, games, music and other gadgets. Look for a desk that can be adjusted for height as the child grows and allow for a desk lamp, lots of containers and a notice board to attach school timetable and invitations.