How to Go From Nursery to Toddler Room

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When we first put Killian’s nursery together we focused on simple pieces, that didn’t take up a lot of space. We also, only baby proofed what we thought he could reach as a baby.  Being a first time parent we didn’t realize how fast he would grow, learn to walk and even climb on things. Now that he is 14 months old he is in desperate need of a toddler room. This lead to the budget friendly update of his nursery to toddler room. With number two on the way I needed him to have his own space he could play in, safely. With a budget of only about $150 this is what we updated in his nursery to make a toddler room.

How to Go From a Nursery To a Toddler Room

The first step is to figure out what you are working with.  I am going to share before and after pictures of our nursery to show you what we updated.

Problem Areas

Take a good look at your nursery and try to imagine you are a toddler (I know that sounds absurd, but bear with me) and answer the following questions:

  • What can be climbed?
  • What can you reach?
  • Are there any cords, blinds, or outlets you can reach?
  • Can any furniture fall over on you?
  • Do you have a space for everything you need (toys, clothes, sleep, etc.)?

Once you identified the problems, make a short list of what you need to update in your nursery to make it a safe toddler room, safety hazards first!  I promise we will get to the fun, cute stuff in a second.

This was our list:

  1. Anchor the dresser to the wall.
  2. Cover outlets.
  3. Move humidifier, monitor and sound machine out of reach.
  4. Clear area under the window so there is no access to the windowsill.
  5. Remove the standing lamp and replace with something mounted.
  6. Make a space for toys that is age appropriate. 

Find Solutions

Many of our problem areas involved our son being able to reach and get to things he couldn’t as a ‘crawler.’  He could’t get behind his crib to the outlet there before, he couldn’t reach his dresser drawers, etc.  So, we set out to find solutions.

  • Furniture– I can’t stress this enough (at least in our case and in yours too I’m sure) our son is smart and strong! He can get into stuff so quickly and he is learning so quickly!  Furniture can fall over.  Especially tall furniture.  We ended up needing his dresser for baby 2 so he is getting my dresser which is a bit taller.  Mounting it to the wall was priority.  Accidents can happen so fast!  These furniture anchors are awesome and super easy to install.
  • Outlets– The next issue we had was outlets and more specifically cords.  When we put our son’s nursery together we used the traditional outlet covers for the outlets that were not being used. But since he can actually pull on things now we needed to toddler proof the cords that were plugged in so we invested in the outlet covers that kept him from the outlet AND plug.  Both of these items are great for making outlet safer and a great solution for this problem.

  • Moving “pluggable’ items out of reach– As you can see in the ‘before,’ photos there are a few items that have cords that he could reach and get into.  If you are having the same issue we opted to hang another small shelf to put things up he could reach.
  • Lighting– We needed to remove the standing lamp or mount it to the wall.  If you are like us and a have a standing lamp OR a normal lamp that could be pulled over, a wall light is a great option.  We bought one very similar to this one that is a cloud.  You can run the cord down the wall and pin it to the base board. The switch is right on the wall and there is nothing to be pulled over.
  • A space for everything This is not necessarily a safety issue unless you are working with a small space (like us).  I wanted to make it so there was an area for everything my son needed.  This also ensured I wasn’t falling over things 7 months pregnant. Which leads us to the FUN PART, DECORATING!

Decorating a Toddler Room

Our son is only 14 months but he is walking, climbing and is pretty mature for his age so I wanted to make an area where he could play independently.  (But he also isn’t old enough for a toddler bed necessarily so I won’t be covering that in this post.)

I had to move some furniture around to make a corner but here is the before and after of the corner we converted for a okay area.

Lots of these items came from IKEA because we have one so close to us but there are similar products you could buy online to make the same look.

When we started to pick pieces for his room I wanted the following:

  • inexpensive (remember we had a budget of $150)
  • compact (for his small room)
  • colorful
  • and items he could use independently

For the decorating, which took place mostly in this corner we picked the following items (the links are similar items to what we bought):

Finished Product

We managed to stay on budget with a grand total of just under $110 after tax!

Here is what the after looked like for our little guy!

This is how we went from a nursery to toddler room on a budget.  What did you need to change in your babies room to make it toddler appropriate? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

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