Few design endeavors require the planning and preparation that goes into a nursery. It’s a huge undertaking if you’re expecting parents, especially when time is of the essence and life doesn’t stop. And, of course, you want a space that’s comfy and stylish for both you and your baby.

Some of the biggest hurdles and considerations are around finding the right nursery furniture. Should I get a crib that transitions into a toddler bed? Is a bassinet better? Do I want a full changing table or just a topper that fits on top of a dresser to save space? What about black-out shades—are they really necessary?

It can all quickly start to get overwhelming! But don’t worry, we’re here to help. To guide you through your nursery design, we’ve compiled our ultimate designer-approved nursery furniture checklist below. Read on to get our essentials to shop for with your nursery design.

Want more nursery inspiration? Check out our gallery for more nursery design ideas, get our designer’s foolproof nursery design tips, and read some of our nursery design stories from real Modsy customers.

nursery with green walls and modern white crib

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Crib, Cradle, or Bassinet

First and most important is deciding on a place for your baby to sleep. Your nursery furniture options here include cribs, cradles, and bassinets.

Cribs come in many forms, and can even be bought as convertible ones that transition to a toddler bed or a full-size kid bed. If you’re hoping to minimize spending on a new twin bed once your baby grows out of their crib, a convertible crib is a great option. Milk Street Baby furniture is one of our favorite go-to’s and they offer a convertible crib that goes with any design style space.

Alternatives to a crib include a cradle or bassinet. These are easier to move around than a crib so if you’re working with a small nursery and need more flexibility in your furniture, these are great for consideration. Cradles usually come on a rocker, stand, or even wheels, and bassinets can be set up anywhere as needed. Both are good for small spaces and great if you want to keep your baby sleeping close by next to mom and dad’s bed.


Along with baby’s bed, cozy blankets for both mom and baby are essentials—from swaddling blankets to throws for when you’re rocking baby in a glider or armchair. The style of blanket is up to you, but it’s good to have a variety, such as one that you can throw down on the floor for baby to lay on, or one that can be pulled out to be an impromptu changing station.

baby blue nursery with chair and ottoman

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Glider or Rocking Chair

A good chair is one of our top nursery furniture must-haves for rocking baby to sleep, feeding and nursing, or reading to infants as they get older. As a parent, you’ll be spending most of your time holding your little one in a glider or rocker, so make sure to choose one that’s comfortable for you, with depth and plush cushioning that supports you for long periods of time. Also, consider investing in a glider or rocker with a versatile style—they can often be used in other areas of the house when you no longer have a need for it in the nursery.

dark wall nursery butterfly artwork above crib

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A Baby-Safe Rug

It’s also important to pad your nursery floors with a soft rug. Be sure to find one that doesn’t have toxic chemicals and finishes that are sensitive to babies, especially since they’ll be crawling and lying on the rug often. Remember to use a non-slip rug pad to secure it in place. Need help selecting a rug? Read our complete guide to choosing a rug with expert tips from Modsy’s very own Senior Director of Sourcing!

Soft-Glow Lamp or Night Light

Controlled lighting is ideal in any nursery. Whether it’s a table lamp with a soft glow that’s easy on everyone’s eyes or ambient lighting that’s connected to a dimmer, you’ll want gentle lighting since your baby will mostly be sleeping in the nursery. Also consider a nightlight, which is great for when you have to go in and out of the nursery without disturbing a sleeping baby.

natural texture dresser for nursery

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Dresser or Wardrobe

When it comes to practical nursery furniture, a dresser or wardrobe with concealed storage is a must. This will help you keep the baby’s clothes, diapers, blankets, and small items organized and always within easy reach. A wardrobe can be great if you have no closet space in a nursery. Either way, think of the dresser or wardrobe as your command station for holding all your baby essentials.

Changing Table or Topper

Every nursery needs a place to change diapers and dress your baby. A changing table is ideal if you have lots of room in your nursery while changing toppers and pads is great if you’re working with a small nursery design that’s already packed with other nursery furniture essentials. Toppers and pads that can be securely placed on top of dressers are more common these days—or a portable changing pad that you can lay out on the floor or on a bed. Whatever you choose, be sure that it’s easy for you to access and use every day!

Blackout Curtains or Blinds

Much like lighting, blackout drapery is something to always consider for your nursery. Natural light can affect your baby’s sleep during the day, especially during nap times, so having curtains that block out light when you want it can help keep them on their sleep schedule. It can mean the difference between sleeping through the night or waking up at 2AM!

green wall nursery with basket and bear

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Toy Storage

Little storage helpers, such as trunks, baskets, and toy chests are great organization pieces to have in any nursery. They’re good for keeping toys, blankets, books, and other small trinkets neatly and safely stowed away and they fit nicely into corners and spaces. The best part is that the toy storage pieces can be used long after the nursery, moving into kids rooms and play spaces once they get older. Check out our kids room furniture checklist for other essentials that can grow with your little ones over time.

Hanging Mobiles

Not an essential but also an essential. Hanging mobiles are always a nice addition above a baby’s crib or in a corner. They give babies something to look at that also lulls them to sleep.

Get More Nursery Ideas:

10 Gender-Neutral Nursery Designs

6 Perfect Nursery Color Schemes

Try On Nursery Furniture In Your Space

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