The Deliberately Minimal Nursery: How to Have Everything You Need & Still be Minimal

Whether you’re a new or experienced parent, we’re here to take the guesswork out. To curate a list of the items, tips and tricks you need to help you create a minimalistic nursery room that has all of the essentials for a cozy, functional, low-clutter space for your little one. 

Our formula is simple: 

minimal nursery

If you’ve already moved out of the baby phase and you’re looking to update your little one’s room for their toddler years, or you’re trying to figure out how to overhaul your space for your big kid, we’ve got you. This series of articles is your one-stop shop. Your quick how-to reference for updating your little one’s nursery through all stages of childhood. 

The essentials we’ll share here:

  • Sleeping
  • Feeding*
  • Diapering* 
  • Clothing
  • Books and toys
  • Storage
  • Quiet space*

*Categories are only applicable to certain ages

For each of these categories, we’re breaking down the essentials by age group: 

  1. Infant
  2. Toddler  
  3. Big kid

At every age, we’re providing you with a list of Kibou-approved essentials, designed to save you hours of online shopping and research. Pro-tip: Bookmark these tabs, or save to your Pinterest, so you can refer back as you’re designing or shopping. 

We’re here to leave you feeling confident that you’re prepared--that you’ve designed a room that has everything you and your baby, toddler or big kid could need, so you can be free to focus on what really matters. 

Curious to know a little more about our key categories? Keep reading for more details on what to consider:

Nursery Room Essentials: Sleeping

First and foremost, before your little one arrives you must find a crib or bassinet that’s the right size and aesthetic, but it must also be safe (check out the US Consumer Product Safety Standards if you’re unsure). To go with the crib, you’ll also need a mattress and two to four fitted crib sheets (This depends on how often you can get around to doing laundry. Spit-up and diaper leaks wait for no one!)

minimal nursery sleeping

We’re big fans of cribs that have the option of a toddler bed conversion. Many come with a kit (or offer it as an additional purchase option) and allow you to build a just-right bed for your little one when the time comes to remove the crib bars.

Beyond the bed itself, you’ll want to create the right environment for sleep: if your ceiling light doesn’t have a dimming feature, having a lamp can also be helpful when you’re setting the mood for bedtime, or doing a nighttime diaper change and don’t need to flood the room with light. A nightlight (or sound machine with a light) is also a comforting addition to add a subtle touch of light when the baby is sleeping.

Nursery Room Essentials: Feeding

A rocking chair or glider is the second essential furniture item for a nursery (if you have the space). Whether you’re nursing, bottle feeding, or lulling the baby to sleep – this will be a frequently used space in the room. An optional touch: a small ottoman to prop up your feet that can also double as storage.

It’s also a great idea to keep a basket with burp clothes, nipple cream and pads within reach. Don’t forget to keep a nursing pillow and a table for your water near the rocking chair as well.

And when you drop the nighttime feeds, this cozy spot can be the perfect place to continue your night time routine of snuggling up and reading together before bed.

minimal nursery sleeping

Nursery Room Essentials: Diapering

Changing tables are very popular nursery items; however, if you have a low dresser you can skip the changing table and place a strapped changing pad on top. You can use the drawers, or a basket for the baby’s diapers, wipes and cream. Alternatively, you could use a rolling cart between the dresser and your rocking chair to store diapering and nursing items. 

In a minimalistic nursery room, less is more. However, if you’re working with a lot of space or your dresser isn’t the right height, choose a changing table with shelves so it can also be used to store the baby’s diapering needs and more.

Diaper pails are also a popularly suggested nursery item that is optional, but not necessarily essential. While some parents swear by them, others have strong negative opinions. Without getting into the stinky details – there are other ways to dispose of soiled diapers without building a collection of them in the nursery. If you’re up for it – opting for cloth diapers also takes up much less space.

Once the diapers are gone (we promise the day will come!), you’ll have more options to consider. The  space that your changing table took up can be the perfect place for other furniture (think bookshelves or a desk) or it can be an open space for play or relaxation. If you go with a dresser topper, this space can be the perfect place to display family photos for your little one to admire. 

Nursery Room Essentials: Clothing

In a closet, hang the baby’s clothing in groups by size, and keep a bin either in the closet, under the crib, or anywhere there is unused space where you can easily place clothes that no longer fit. Especially during the first year, your baby will outgrow his or her clothes quickly. A hanging shelf is also a great option to keep baby’s clothes, accessories, shoes, receiving blankets, or even toys.

As was just mentioned under the “Changing” essentials, a dresser at the right height can double as clothing storage and a changing table all while reducing clutter. Try to organize the drawers by category, and within the drawers, organize clothing by size. As soon as any of the clothes are too small or stained – keep them out of the drawers.

minimal nursery

Nursery Room Essentials: Books & Toys

This is another one that comes down to the size of your little one’s room. In a small room, we recommend skipping the toys (though adding a stuffed animal or two for decor does really warm up the room!) If you’ve got a bigger space to work with, then a basket or toy bin is a perfect way to contain the quantity of toys that wind up in your baby’s room. It also doubles as a way to keep things looking clean and minimal, even when you may have toys of all shapes and colors.

Books are a must in any nursery. Not only do they look beautiful and bring color and life to the space, but you will likely incorporate them into your nighttime or naptime routine. So you’ll want to have them at arm’s length for all those cozy moments. For a small space, one or two display shelves can double as art. If you have the room, finding a bookshelf that can double as your side table--for a small lamp and your water glass--helps to streamline your furniture too! Adding a couple of bookends to this space, will also help to keep the books from falling down in a sloppy way, and double as decor in a minimal way.

Nursery Room Essentials: Storage

It’s already been alluded to several times, but storage is essential to any minimalistic nursery. There’s functional storage for diapering, nursing and clothing so you can find what you need quickly – but equally important is the storage for what you can donate. Clutter builds up quickly with a baby! 

Whether it is clothes, toys, or even a gadget you thought you’d need but never actually use – put these in a designated storage space for donation or consignment. Utilize “dead” space in the room – under the crib, in the closet, or anywhere you can make space for a donation bin. If it’s not in the nursery, you’re less likely to make the trip to place unneeded items there and it will continue taking up space. 

Depending on the size of your space, you may decide to have storage bins to hold clothes that your little one isn’t yet big enough for (again, we strongly suggest storing these by size), or if you plan to have more children you may want to hold onto some of your favorites after they’ve outgrown them. In this case, you’ll be so grateful to yourself if you take the time to organize and label these items by age or size. Then, find the right size bins to slide under your crib or into your closet. While some opt for clear plastic to easily see what’s inside, others choose from the array of beautifully designed storage bins.

In a minimalistic nursery, everything should serve a function, or it doesn’t belong! Limiting what’s in the room to nursery room essentials will make your life easier as you juggle the many needs that come along with a new baby. That’s the principle that inspired the creation of Kibou diaper bags, and it can apply to all areas of parenting a small child.

Now that you’re well seasoned in what to consider, take a look at our age-specific recommendations below. And please reach out with any questions or essential recommendations you think we missed. We love hearing from you! 

Deliberately Minimal Nursery Essentials Checklist by Age:

Photos courtesy of Omurden Cengiz, Alex Bodini, Uby Yanes via Unsplash

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