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When to set up your baby’s nursery

Wondering when is the best time to set up your baby’s nursery?

Once you’ve had the exciting confirmation that you’re expecting a baby you may be eager to get started with getting organised or a little unsure about when you should begin planning for baby’s arrival. 

Setting up nursery for baby

But when should your baby’s nursery be ready for use, and what do you actually need to do to set up a cute and organised bedroom for your little one?

This baby prep timeline for setting up baby’s nursery is exactly what I did with my own kids and it worked a treat for me! Plus I found it so fun just sitting in the nursery in the final weeks of my pregnancy and thinking about the baby’s impending arrival! 

When to start working on baby’s nursery

The best time to start working on your baby’s nursery is in the second trimester. 

Most parents will wait until after 12 weeks, when the first scan takes place, to start making big purchases and decisions about how to prepare for the baby. 

This is a sensible starting point for anything related to getting ready for baby. The only thing I suggest you do even earlier is figuring out your budget! The sooner you assess your finances and consider how much you may need to save for your maternity leave the better. 

Aim to have everything ready in the nursery by the time you are eight months pregnant.

This means in the final month you can focus on other baby prep, like filling your freezer with meals to eat right after the baby is born and packing your hospital bag. Plus resting in the final few weeks of pregnancy is really important.

Take some time to just chill and enjoy time together as a couple, because life will be busy once the baby arrives! 

With nursery prep you’ll want to get the physical stuff like painting and building furniture out of the way as early as possible, just so that the big jobs are taken care of.

Remember that even if you don’t manage to get the nursery done before your baby arrives that the NHS recommends your baby sleeps in the same room as you for the first six months after birth.

This has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS in babies.

So getting the nursery done before baby arrives has advantages in that you will be well prepared and have less to do in the final weeks of pregnancy when you’re feeling a little more tired.

However it’s not essential to have everything done and looking perfect by your due date! You’ll be able to pop baby on their play mat or in their bouncy chair so they can watch while they organise their bedroom! 

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How many baby clothes do you need

Nursery prep timeline 

When it comes to getting the nursery ready for baby this easy prep timeline will give you a step by step guide to what to get done. 

This is exactly what I did when it came to getting ready for my own two babies, so I know it works when it comes to getting organised! 

Have a checklist of what you need 

Although the baby industry is booming with products for your little one’s nursery, there’s actually very little your baby really needs to begin with.

The essentials for your baby’s nursery include:

  • Crib or cotbed 
  • Mattress 
  • Bedding – fitted sheet and blankets 
  • Nappies
  • Wipes 
  • Barrier cream
  • Clothes 
  • Nursing chair – whether you are nursing or not it helps to have a comfy chair to sit in to feed your baby 
  • Nightlight – it can be much easier to feed your baby at night and resettle them to sleep if you keep the lights down low, so a nightlight is essential so you don’t need to switch the full overhead lights on. 

Stuff that is nice to have for your baby’s nursery in the early weeks includes: 

  • Toys 
  • Books
  • Decor – pictures on the walls, cute curtains

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Complete this stage by: Week to 16

Think about how you want the nursery to look

This is the really fun part where you decide what kind of theme or colour scheme you want in the nursery. 

Choosing colours may be easier after your 20 week scan when you can find out what gender your baby is. 

However if you decide not to find out your baby’s gender – which many parents do – then you can go for a neutral colour such as lilac, yellow, white and black or green. 

You could create a board on Pinterest to gather inspiration, as there are so many great images and ideas on there! 

Complete this stage by: Week 20

Decide where everything will go 

Figuring out where everything will go is really crucial to helping you decide what furniture to order and what size. 

So try to decide where everything will go. You could sketch out a design on a piece of paper, or you may find it helpful to use masking tape to show where the furniture will go to make it easier to envisage how the space will work. 

Once you know what size limits you have for the bed, chair and storage then you can begin to think about what specific furniture you need to order. 

Complete this stage by: Week 21 

Decide on your budget 

Now that you have an idea of what you need for your nursery you need to decide what your budget is. 

Hopefully you have already worked through how much money you have to spend on baby stuff ahead of time. I have an article breaking down the costs for baby stuff in the first year that you may find very useful when setting your budget. 

When it comes to baby stuff you can spend a small fortune, but you definitely don’t have to! 

For example baby changing tables are often pretty pricey and actually you can do just as well, and save a lot of space, with a cot top changer. This fits on top of the baby’s cot rails and you can normally pick them up for roughly £20 to £60, depending on what they are made from. 

When it comes to the bed this is often the highest price item. 

The NHS recommends that your baby sleeps in the same room as you until they are six months old, as this reduces the risk of SIDS. For this reason you may find having something like a Moses basket or side sleeper will be easiest, as they don’t take up much space when compared with a wooden crib or cotbed. 

I purchased a Moses basket, which went next to our bed in our room for the first few months, but I also bought a cotbed for the nursery. 

Both of my daughters slept in cotbeds from when they grew out of the Moses basket at four months right up until age four. The great thing about cot beds is that you remove the railings once your baby becomes a toddler and so you don’t need to buy them a big kid bed. So if you’re looking for great value for money, I recommend a cot bed for your baby! 

Complete this stage by: Week 22

Order your furniture 

Now that you know your budget and the size of furniture that will work in your baby’s nursery you can get shopping and order what you need!

The delivery time for furniture can be really variable so I recommend that you get the furniture ordered around the middle to end of your second trimester at the latest. 

Do double check how long furniture will take to arrive from your favourite brands ahead of time, just in case they have a particularly long delivery window. 

Complete this stage by: Week 25

Prepare the room 

If the room needs a fresh lick of paint then get this done early on in your nursery project. 

You’ll likely find it much easier to paint the room before all of the furniture arrives as you’ll have a bit of extra space to do the work. 

The NHS says you don’t need to worry about fumes with most household paints when pregnant. 

Use this time to fix any issues with the walls – such as filling holes – and paint the skirting boards too if they are looking scruffy. 

If you are going to add things like wall stickers then the paint will need around four weeks to properly dry before you add those. If you add them to early then they won’t adhere as well, and if you come to remove them they will take the paint away with them! 

So if you are adding wall stickers then make sure you give yourself some extra time for this stage. 


This is also a good time to give the carpets a thorough clean with a carpet cleaner. It’s so much easier to do this when there’s no furniture in the room! 

Complete this stage by: Week 28

Assemble the furniture 

Now you have a room that is clean and decorated you just need to wait for your furniture to arrive and assemble it. 

You definitely want to try and do this several weeks before baby arrives. 

Do remember to take it easy if you are building the furniture, and get help with heavy boxes and items. 

Building flatpack furniture is often easier when you’re doing it as a pair, as often there are awkward steps that require two pairs of hands! 

So arrange a day where you are both available, or when you can get a friend to help you, and get all of the furniture built. 

You may find brand new furniture has a strange smell to it, which is really common when fresh out of the box. 

Once the furniture is built simply air the room as often as you can by opening the window and you will soon find that the smell disappears. 

Complete this stage by: Week 31

Organise baby’s stuff 

Now that you have the furniture in place you can organise your baby’s toys and clothes into the storage you have and set up a baby changing station. 

Remove baby’s clothes from the packaging and arrange them in drawers. 

If you have bought different sizes then have the newborn baby sizes in the most accessible place, and place the bigger sizes somewhere convenient as you will be shocked at how quickly your little one grows! 

When it comes to toys you may find fabric or wicker storage bins useful for keeping stuffed toys. 

You can also use toys as a way of decorating your baby’s nursery! Arrange things like blocks and cute soft toys on the shelves to add some cute splashes of colour to the room. 

Decide exactly where you will place your baby changing essentials such as nappies, wipes and barrier cream. You will want these within very easy reach of the changing station. 

Complete this stage by: Week 32

Make the bed 

Baby may not be sleeping in the bed for another few weeks but it’s a good idea to get the bed where they will be sleeping made up ahead of your due date so it’s ready to go! 

Add a waterproof fitted sheet to the mattress, and have a spare in the drawer, because at some point an accident will definitely happen! 

Newborn babies do not need pillows and in order to reduce the risk of SIDS you should keep the crib as empty as possible, so avoid piling in lots of toys and you do not need a cot bed bumper. 

You can keep baby warm with blankets, adding layers if it is a chilly night. Once your baby is a few weeks old you will be able to start using baby sleeping bags which are really amazing, and mean your baby won’t be kicking off their blankets and getting cold. 

I recommend you have at least a couple of sleeping bags ready in a drawer in the nursery for when your baby is big enough to use them, they really are a brilliant baby product! 

Complete this stage by: Week 33

Make it look pretty 

Now that everything is sorted out you can add any finishing touches that you may like. 

This could include a new pair of curtains that match the colour of the walls, or that make it look more like a kid-friendly room. 

You may also want to swap the light shade for something that fits the decor in the nursery. 

Play around with where your essentials are to make them look neat and just have fun getting the nursery looking beautiful ready for your baby’s arrival! 

Now in the final month of your pregnancy you will find it so relaxing to sit in your baby’s room and imagine what it will be like when they are finally here. 

Complete this stage by: Week 35

Final thoughts on when to get baby’s nursery ready

So there you have it, a step by step guide to getting your baby’s nursery ready by the time you are eight months pregnant. 

I hope you have found this useful and that you are looking forward to getting organised for your baby’s arrival!

New mama with baby in nursery

Remember this should be a fun thing for you to do, so if at any point the tasks are stressing you out, it’s OK to take a break and just relax. The most important thing during your pregnancy is to take care of yourself. 

Enlist friends and family to help with things like decorating and building furniture if you are struggling. You will find loved ones will be more than happy to help you out!

Best of luck getting your baby’s room ready! 

When to start working on your baby's nursery

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