How To Kit Out: A Nursery

In the first of a room-by-room series offering help with furnishings and decoration, Joey Canessa has the lowdown on what's best for baby
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The Independent Online

The arrival of a new baby, particularly their first, is the ideal opportunity for parents to let rip. When shopping for a new-born, safety and comfort are the first essentials, but sheer indulgence comes in a close second.

The arrival of a new baby, particularly their first, is the ideal opportunity for parents to let rip. When shopping for a new-born, safety and comfort are the first essentials, but sheer indulgence comes in a close second.

COTS

Many parents prefer their new baby to sleep beside them in a Moses basket for the first weeks, but a cot is still an essential piece of equipment. The most basic models have three height-adjustable sides and one drop side. Mothercare's Hereford cot (£60 at www.mothercare.com) represents extremely good value.

A bedside cot with easily removable drop sides, which fits snugly against your bed, is convenient for night-time feeding. The Global bedside cot, with its eight height adjustments, is good (£199 from Babyworld; www.babyworld.co.uk), and can convert easily into a toddler's bed and then into a child's sofa, as the years go by. Babyworld also sells the Danish Leander cradle in 100 per cent organic cotton, £124.99, which hangs from the ceiling. You can buy a wigwam stand for it, at £79.99, if you don't want to drill into your ceiling joists.

If you're more interested in an heirloom piece, try a hand-painted cot from Dragons of Walton Street (01903 816916; www.dragonsofwaltonstreet.com). Their exquisite furniture is hand-made, and decorated on popular themes such as Flower Fairies, Beatrix Potter and toy soldiers. The range includes cots from £816, four-poster cots draped in luscious quantities of matching fabric from £1,052, and rocking cribs from £1,762.

CHANGING TABLES

For comfort and safety, a changing table is a huge help, and Boots's Rebecca dresser and changer, from East Coast, is an excellent example (£200; www.boots.com). John Lewis has a larger selection, including the free-standing Georgina changing table in white washed wood (£120; www.johnlewis.com), or the more substantial Arabella, (£350), consisting of a four-drawer chest with changing table on top. A simpler and cheaper option (from £30, also at John Lewis), is the changing top that is positioned on top of the cot.

WALLPAPER AND FABRICS

Quick and easy to use, Stickarounds are self-adhesive wall decorations that come in a range of colourful themes (£9.99 at Babyworld). One pack contains enough to decorate an average-sized room, and an accompanying border is also available, in 5m lengths (£7.99). They can be easily removed without damage to surfaces when your children want a change. On a larger scale, Fun To See sells giant stickers that will allow you to create an instant mural. Designs range from pastel shades to the brilliantly colourful Funky Flowers (£39.99, www.funtosee.com). One tube contains up to 96 stickers, some of which are over a metre tall. Nursery Window (020-7581 3358; www.nurserywindow.co.uk) sells an inviting range of nursery equipment, including a pretty Paris Rose design available as fabric (£24.95 per metre), and co-ordinating wallpaper (£23.44 per roll). Their designs are also available made up into duvet covers and pillowcases. Designer's Guild (020-7893 7400; www.designersguild.com) stocks an irresistible selection of nursery wallpapers and fabrics, the latest of which is the Hide and Seek range, with fabrics and wallpapers costing £24 per metre. One of the loveliest is Bear Hugs, with cotton fabrics (from £39 per metre) and the delicate Dish Dash voiles, from £33 a metre. Dragons of Walton Street have a beautiful selection, too, with prices ranging from £28-£35.25 per metre.

BABY MONITORS

The latest baby monitors cut out the crackles with digital sound. The Tomy Walkabout Classic Advance, with a two-way "talkback" to baby and a remote controlled night-light, is great value (£40, Argos, Mothercare, and department stores). BT's Digital Plus is highly rated, with adjustable sensitivity and, for those with very large gardens, a 300m outdoor range (£79, Argos). The Tommee Tippee Reassurance 8, (£100, Mothercare, has an additional sensor that is placed underneath the mattress to monitor your baby's every breath.

LIGHTING

It's a good idea to avoid turning on very bright lights. For good value, check out the Lindam automatic sensor light (£7.99 at Babyworld), which softly illuminates the room when darkness falls. The Autofade Bedside Light (£19.95 at John Lewis) has an ingenious automatic fade system that dims the light over 15 minutes. More exciting still, The Space Bowl Magic Lantern rotates slowly, projecting moons and stars across the ceiling and walls (£35 at John Lewis).

EXTRAS

Kaloo produces a range of coloured bedding including sleeping bags and quilts (from £24.99, Babyworld). Hippychick has a cosy selection of soft cotton fleece blankets (from £19.99, www.hippychick.com), and Noukies makes beautiful soft toys, including Paco the musical donkey (£17.99 at www.whizzywheels.co.uk). Whizzywheels also supplies the Deluxe Remote Mobile, £39.99, which attaches to the cot and plays stimulating music by Beethoven, Bach and Mozart.

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