You’re expecting! Congratulations!
(Or maybe you’re not expecting, but you want kids some day and you like to plan ahead. That’s cool too.)
I bet your mind is racing with all the things you need to do before your bundle of joy arrives. I’m here to help.
Furniture items are some of the biggest, most expensive things you will buy for your child. Perhaps you already have a home full of furniture and only need the items for a nursery or perhaps you’re moving into a bigger place now that your family is expanding and you need a few more necessities.
Whatever your situation, the following tips should help you think not only in the short term, but also to the future as your child grows.
Furniture Buying Tips for New Parents
1. Buy a crib… or don’t
Some people use them from the get-go and others end up having a really expensive holding cell for all the crap they don’t know where else to put.
If you’re absolutely adamant that you WILL NOT co-sleep, then buy one. Just know that when you become a parent, most of the things you’re absolutely adamant about are the first things that change.
Or maybe you’ll stick to your guns, but your baby will have reflux and will sleep in her car seat for the first year.
Or maybe he’ll sleep in the crib from Night Number One and it’ll be your best purchase ever.
Go with your gut. You won’t be sorry. Or maybe you will. It could really go either way.
2. What’s with changing tables??
Changing tables are weird. What’s with all the wasted space underneath? Just buy a low dresser. It serves the same purpose and you can actually store stuff in it.
3. Wooden rocking chairs are medieval torture devices
The greatest thing to consider when choosing a rocking chair is the fact that you will spend a lot of time in it. Like multiple times a day and entire nights.
I have a beautiful wooden rocking chair that I can’t sit in for more than ten minutes without feeling like someone is driving nails into my spine. You can imagine that as pretty as it is, it’s not very functional for those all-night rocking sessions.
I suggest getting something as comfortable as possible. Something padded. Something that allows you to put your feet up. Something on which you can rest your head. Something that reclines. What I’m saying is, either buy a La-Z-Boy or an extra bed.
Other Household Furniture
4. Microfiber is evil
Sure it looks good, and you think you’re safe because the furniture store sprayed that stain-proofing stuff on it. But you know what removes that stain proofing stuff? Anything that touches microfiber.
And once microfiber gets wet… gross. That spot will live there forever and whenever you have guests over, they’ll do a bit of a double take as they sit down and they’ll hope you don’t notice that they’re perched on the very edge of the cushion because they have no idea if that stain is from water or juice or pee or puke. And you’ll laugh in embarrassment and tell them your kids always leave their water bottles laying around, but you’ll also be remembering last week when the baby had a blowout while you were changing his diaper… right in that spot.
5. Leather is not evil
Whatever piece of furniture it is, if there’s the option to buy it in leather, do it. You don’t like how leather feels so cold? Get over it. Because remember #4. Leather is easy to wipe off.
6. There’s a lot more to choosing a color than you think
I once watched a show where they made a fancy tree house and when they put furniture in it, they chose a white sofa. I’m just gonna let that sit here for a sec.
In a tree house.
Oh, it looked beautiful and clean and inviting. You know why? Because it had never been touched. The first time someone walked into that tree house with their woodsy clothes and sat down on that sofa, you can guarantee it didn’t look beautiful and clean and inviting anymore.
Now if you’ve ever been around any kids, you know that they are a million times dirtier than someone in woodsy clothes, so just imagine them sitting on your white chair.
What’s that? You saw Prince George and Princess Charlotte sitting on a white couch? Of course you did.
What you didn’t see was how there were spit up and poop stains on it after their photo shoot, so Kate called the butler and he ran down to the furniture store and brought home a brand new white couch. If you were royalty, you’d do it too.
But you’re not.
So what color should you choose?
That’s tricky. We’ve ruled out white, but we should also cross all light colors off our list for the obvious reason that they show everything. Unfortunately, anything too dark also shows everything.
So nothing too light and nothing too dark.
You should be safe with anything the color of dirt or poop. You may think that’s limiting, but once you have your baby, you’ll be impressed by the surprising number of colors poop comes in.
7. You’re crazy to spend more than $____ for that item!
Whatever you buy, no matter how much it costs, your kids will ruin it. This is fact. Now obviously they might ruin that $3 Goodwill coffee table a little more quickly than the Took Out a Second Mortgage night stand, but eventually you’ll have to replace it all. Keep that in mind when you’re looking at price tags.
8. Easy. To. Clean!
This kinda goes hand in hand with #5, but it bears repeating for all the furniture that doesn’t come in leather. Love that dining room set with the intricately carved chairs? Imagine digging dried oatmeal out of all those crevices. Still love it?
9. Better yet, just wait to buy furniture until after your kids move out
Pick up a few camp chairs and TV trays, throw some mattresses on the floor, and revel in the knowledge that you are saving beaucoup bucks. If you really want to feel good about yourself, take the money you save and open up a college fund for your little bun in the oven. Not only are you making an investment in his future, but you’re also living like you did during your college days. How fun are you?! Your kid is going to have the coolest parents around.
Fellow parents, what buying tips would you offer new moms and dads? Tell us in the comments below or join the conversation on my Facebook page.
Oh man I JUST bought a microfiber couch. CRAP! I agree though, no white and we just put a changing pad on top of our dresser!
Just tell the girls no drinks on the couch!
Heather aka HoJo says
HA! Our little guy is now four months old, and I can relate to so much of this! We bought a pack’n’play instead of a full-blown crib. It’s great for home and trips, plus much cheaper than a crib. We set up a small table to use at the changing pad, and he uses a 3-tier plastic storage bin as a dresser. Nothing fancy, but it’s functional! (And it’s what we had around the house, so we didn’t have to make any huge purchases.) We do own brown microfiber, but I’ve been diligent about using Scotch Guard and wiping things down daily. I guess we’ll see how long that lasts…
Thanks for the read!
~Heather aka HoJo~
It sounds like you did a pretty good job of figuring things out! We did use our crib, but have gotten a TON of use out of our pack’n’play too.
White is a big no-no and so is spending too much money. My kids are the reason I can’t have nice things, LOL! We never used a changing table, honestly. However, even though we co-sleep at times, we got a LOT of use out of our convertible crib!
We used our crib a lot too (still do as a toddler bed now!), but I know some people buy it and then never use it. That’s a lot of money to shell out to never use something.
I love this post and wish I would have read it six years ago. I found out the hard way…but luckily didn’t buy any white furniture. I was one of those pregnant, first time mom-to-be’s that read every Consumer Reports/Baby 101 bibles to have the safest and most effective gadgets and gizmos. I researched the best and safest furniture companies only to find out the company went out of business the following year. Though we all want to be prepared and have the nursery done, house baby proofed…I wish I would have waited a few months because my needs ended up being different than my pre-planned wishes.
It’s true; you don’t really know until you’re in the thick of it. And even then, what you need, someone else will say isn’t necessary, and what you think isn’t necessary, someone else will find indispensable!
Jane Allen says
I love the tip about watching the price tags as the kids might ruin the furniture. Perfectly on point. I can so totally relate, having raised 4 kids. The trick is to save money on the initial purchase and then splurge when the kids are grown. That is, when you want to replace the furniture. For the initial purchase, I suggest you buy online. There are amazing deals on Amazon and a couple of other online marketplaces.
Yes, it doesn’t sting quite so bad when you know you haven’t spend a ton on something!