Nine Months to the Perfect Nursery

From ordering furniture to painting, learn how to plan a nursery remodel during pregnancy.

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Photo courtesy of Laurie March

Outfitting your baby's room can be one of the most enjoyable parts of pregnancy. "At a time when your life is about to change radically, and you’re not really sure how, the baby’s room is one thing you can control," says Pam Ginocchio, co-founder of Project Nursery. "So take the time to really have fun with the process, and to get all the details right."

Whether you're transforming a spare bedroom into a baby haven or carving a corner from a sibling’s room, you’ll need to plan ahead to ensure the work is finished in time for the big arrival. A good finish goal date is week 36 (make that week 33 if you’re expecting twins or triplets, who often come early). That gets the work done before you’re too uncomfortable to move around much, and leaves you a month to relax and enjoy your work. Follow this timeline to keep the project on track.

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Nursery Design Ideas

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First Trimester

Congratulations, you're expecting. Right now you're probably feeling excited, nervous, and most likely nauseous. No need to jump right into a renovation project, but it's not to early to think about your needs, evaluate the available space in your house, determine a budget, and gather ideas.

Second Trimester

Now's the time to dig into your nursery project. With any luck, you’re in the golden days of your pregnancy: feeling energetic and strong, and beginning to believe that your growing bump will actually be a baby someday. If you're planning a major renovation in the baby's room—replacing flooring, repairing walls, rewiring—you’ll want to start it right away, around month four. This is also a good point to finalize your furniture plan and decorating theme.

By month five, you should be ready to order any new furniture you may need. It may take as many as 14 weeks to come in. It may seem early, but it’s smart to choose your crib bedding and any fabric for window treatments or upholstery now.

"Most people pick their wall paint color first, then try to find fabric and bedding that coordinates with the paint," says designer Barbara Tabak, CID, of Harrisburg, PA. "But it’s actually easier to do it the other way around: There are endless paint colors available, so you’ll always be able to find a shade that works with your fabrics, but it can be much more difficult to find fabric that matches the paint."

Once you’ve chosen the fabrics, pick your wall color; then, spend month six painting the room, hanging wallpaper if applicable, and installing any new light fixtures or built-in closet systems you’ve purchased.

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Serene Colors

Relaxing Sitting Area

Include Unexpected Elements

Personalize a Wall Mural

Go for Vintage Furniture

Color Harmony

Layer Patterns

Mind the Scale

Charming Accents

All Natural

Creative Lighting

Display What You Love

Third Trimester

You’re in the home stretch. Soon, you won’t feel like bending, reaching, rearranging furniture, or doing much of anything. Month seven is when you should have someone else move in the furniture, hang window treatments, lay an area rug, and add artwork.

In month eight, wash all those adorable new baby clothes and put them away, arrange shower gifts in the room, and take a deep breath. You’re done. Relax in the cozy armchair you chose, put your swollen ankles up, and appreciate the peace and quiet of the beautiful space you’ve created for your newborn. It may be the last chance you get for a long, long time.

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