- CRIB / PACK-N-PLAY: Your kid will need a bed of her own, eventually, unless you are a hardcore family-bed type. I recommend Ikea cribs, really, truly. The one I eventually bought Gaga, because Diddy was still in her crib when Gaga was born so we had to buy a second one, was Ikea — and it lasted through Gaga and is holding up great for Sausage, who occupies it now.
- CHANGING TABLE / DRESSER WITH A CHANGING TOP: You want someplace comfortable to change diapers and store extra diapers and diaper supplies and clothes and sundries. If I had to do it again, I would have gone with a dresser. You definitely want a dresser if you don’t have a dedicated closet for your kid — in fact, when Gaga was born and before we moved her in to Diddy’s room, we changed her on top of a HUGE Ikea dresser in our room and it was sort of perfect — lots of room for her diapers and her clothes, and our clothes — and if I had to set up a nursery in a closet-less space, I’d totally use that Ikea dresser again. Whatever you choose to use, load it up with extra diapers, wipes, diaper creams, pajamas, onesies.
- DIAPER CHAMP— put it next to the changing table / dresser.
- LAUNDRY HAMPER — Find something with a small footprint, and put it next to the changing table / dresser.
- LIDDED TRASH CAN — You need a lid so that your kid doesn’t get into the trash when she starts crawling around. Put this next to the changing table / dresser, too.
- ROCKER / GLIDER / CHAIR / COUCH: You need somewhere to sit and cuddle and nurse and bottle feed. You just do. The comfier the better, since you are going to spend many long middle-of-the-night hours in whatever piece of furniture you choose. We bought a Dutailier glider for Diddy (after a brief love affair with a gorgeous and incredibly uncomfortable vintage rocker I found on eBay), and used it when she and Gaga shared a room, too — I could have them both on my lap for bedtime stories, and it was awesome. When we moved into our new house, there wasn’t room in the boys’ room for the chair, so I went to Ikea and bought a narrow futon and stuck it on the floor, and threw some pillows on it, and that’s where I sat when I nursed Pancake and Sausage, or on those nights where I’ve had to cuddle a sick or teething baby. It’s been awfully handy for guests, too — I can drag it anywhere in the house.
- RUG: Get something soft for baby to loll around on. I have been happy with Land of Nod rugs — but just as happy with the far more affordable Ikea and Target versions, too (the boys currently have Ikea, as does Gaga, and Diddy loves her pink Target rug).