How to Set Up A Nursery – The Only Furniture You Really Need!

Nursery Furniture Set Up

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Top 5 Must-Have Furniture Items for Your Baby’s Bedroom

Getting ready to set up a nursery is so exciting!  There are many different things to consider.  What colors will it be, what décor will you choose, and importantly what furniture do you need.

When you start shopping for the nursery it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options. It seems like there is so much stuff that you just can’t live without! 

It’s true, baby stuff is super cute and we do need a lot of it.  But don’t fall for the sales and marketing of all the extras.

I’m here to tell you what furniture you really need for a cute and functional nursery!  A crib, rocking chair, an accent table next to the rocking chair, dresser, and bookshelf are the 5 pieces of furniture that are worth the investment. Keep reading for all the details!

You also do need a few decorations that are fun, soothing, and that you enjoy. 

Quick disclaimer!  Most dressers, bookshelves, and other furniture come with wall attachments.  Please make sure you do secure all the furniture based on the instructions. 

1.  Crib

One of the main pieces of furniture for a nursery is the crib! 

Start by thinking about your color scheme.  Cribs come in many colors and styles.  Once you select a color, you can start looking at all the different styles.

crib in nursery with text overlay

Choose the style you like!

Mini Crib vs. Standard Crib

Depending on your space you may want to consider a mini crib. 

A mini crib is smaller in length compared to a standard crib.  If you have a small space this may be the perfect solution.

These cribs are typically 24- 28 inches wide by 38 inches long.  This can vary depending on the brand and style.

small crib in nursery

Remember if you get a mini crib you will need a smaller mattress and smaller bedding.  These can be a bit harder to find.

One perk of a standard crib is that your baby won’t grow out of it as fast.  Also, a standard crib doesn’t cost that much more money to purchase! 

The size and styles of standard cribs are tightly regulated by the government to meet safety standards. If you have space, I think the standard crib has more benefits. 

Mattress for the Crib

A standard crib mattress is 27.25 inches wide and 52 inches long.  These mattresses are 6 inches deep based on safety standards.

I recommend getting a firm waterproof mattress.

There are many other options, including organic materials, whether it is hypoallergenic, and whether it is antibacterial, etc.  Some of these options will depend on your lifestyle and family.

Crib Accessories

The main thing you will see in the crib is the sheet and the mattress pad! Infants don’t typically have top blankets.  Ideally, new babies are swaddled or in wearable pajamas for safety concerns.

So, I would suggest choosing cute fitted sheets that match your theme and color scheme. Get at least a handful!

I had cute matching quilts and pillows for the nursery. I draped the quilt over the rocking chair and use the pillow for back support.  This worked well for decoration and comfort in the chair.

Once they were toddlers, then the matching quilt went on the toddler bed (which was the crib converted to a toddler bed).

While you’re at it, don’t forget to get waterproof mattress pads, at least 3 of them.  Get these even if you have a waterproof mattress!

Crib bumpers are cute BUT given some concerns about safety I never used them.

2.  Rocking Chair

The rocking chair is a super important part of the nursery.  We sat in those rocking chairs for many hours with our kids.

This is the perfect place to soothe your baby to sleep for naps and bedtime, to cuddle, and to read to your little ones. The comfy rocking chair is the perfect place for stories for many years.

Mom and baby in rocking chair in nursery

Rocker or Glider Chair

Whether the chair rocks or glides is a personal preference.  But I do recommend that you choose a chair that moves compared to a stationary one.  

The rocking movement makes soothing your baby much easier. 

You can also find a nursery chair that can lock and stop rocking too.  I liked this for when I had to stand up with a sleeping infant in the middle of the night!

Details to Think About for Your Rocking Chair

There are so many colors and styles of chairs out there.  Choose one that matches the color of the other furniture and in a style you like!

Make sure the chair is tall enough for you to lean back and support your head and neck.  Trust me, you will want to be able to relax and rest your head here.

I would also advise that the padding of the seat and the back support be adequate for your comfort.


If you have the space, an ottoman can be a nice thing to have with your rocker. 

I loved being able to put my feet up and cuddle my little one.  But, it did take up a lot of room in a small bedroom. 

So, it’s a “nice to have” item!  Meaning, don’t squeeze it into the room if it doesn’t really fit.

3. Small Accent Table or Nightstand

Get a small accent table or a nightstand that sits next to the rocking chair, you won’t regret it!! This is the perfect place for a nightlight, a sound machine, a spot to set the bottle down, or even set your cup of coffee while you rock baby!

Having a place to set things within reach of the chair is so convenient when you are holding your baby.

4.  Dresser

A dresser is a key piece of furniture for the nursery.  Baby really does have a lot of gear.  I found that using the dresser for clothes storage allowed for storing toys and other baby gear in the nursery closet.

The dresser does not have to be big, but I would suggest a 4-6 drawer dresser that is around 36 inches in height.  This creates a perfect place for a changing pad.

Nursery Dresser

Using the top of the dresser as the changing table is the perfect solution for saving money and space.  You can have all the storage of the dresser and you don’t need to buy a separate changing table.

Create a changing table on the dresser

Use a thick and secure changing pad on top of the dresser.  Changing pads meant for this will actually attach to the dresser and also have a “seat-belt” so your baby is safe.

Make sure the cover of the changing pad can be washed and changed easily! 

Set up a diaper changing caddy basket on the other end of the dresser.

Mom Changing Diaper on Dresser changing pad

The basket will have diapers, diaper cream, and wipes.  I find it useful to also keep other baby supplies like Aquaphor, hairbrush, and some toiletries here too. Make sure to place the diaper pail at the end of the dresser near the changing pad!  Diaper changes are no problem when everything is just right there for you.

5.  Bookshelf

Reading to our babies is beneficial in so many ways!  We get to cuddle, they hear our voice, and it is relaxing just to name a few great things about reading to our little ones.

It is also amazing how many people give books as gifts to your little one!  So, having a place to store them is a good idea!

Nursery Bookshelf with girl choosing book

A traditional bookshelf works great.  You can store books, pictures, and knickknacks on a pretty shelf.

Wall-Mounted Bookshelf

I suggest looking for a wall-mounted nursery bookshelf.  Find one that allows the front of the books to be shown. 

Babies and toddlers can see the whole cover with this type of bookshelf. When the front of the book is visible it is easier for little ones to see them.  

Seeing the books so easily encourages babies and toddlers to look at them, leading to an increased interest in reading!

Also, as your baby gets bigger, she can choose her own book easily!

And, finally, the wall-mounted bookshelf can’t tip over. Truthfully, we had both types of bookshelves and that worked well for us!

Have Fun Setting Up the Furniture and Decor

These 5 pieces of furniture will be a great investment for your nursery.  These are items that you can use for many years.  So, make sure to choose the ones you like!

I also think it is so important to consider the décor of the nursery.  I love using decals for wall decorations because these are easy to apply and easy to change! 

Make sure there are family photos, soothing colors, and a sound machine in the room also!

Now you know what furniture to buy, you can enjoy choosing the finishing touches of the nursery.

Comment below and let me know how your nursery is set up!

Top 5 Must-Have Items for Your Baby’s Bedroom

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