Nursery Buying Guide

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Nursery Buying Guide

Getting the nursery ready is one of the most exciting stages of the ‘nesting' period, and you've probably got some great ideas that you can't wait to make reality. With babies sleeping for up to 17 hours a day in their first year, creating a room that provides a real oasis of calm is important. We've created this handy one-stop guide so that you don't forget anything in the excitement!

Buying your nursery furniture and baby mattresses from Dunelm means you can be assured on quality, as we rigorously test everything to the highest safety standards.

Your questions answered

Where should my baby sleep?

According to the experts, your baby should sleep in the same room as you for the first six months. This makes moses baskets and cribs a popular choice, especially if space is at a premium, as they can usually fit next to your bed. This also makes nighttime feeds a little easier and keeps them in cuddle’s reach.

Which bed should I choose?

After 6 months, you can move your baby into a cot or cot bed . If space is tight then a cot is a more compact choice, however a cot bed will save money in the long run as they last from birth to four or five years old.

How do I make sure baby is at the right temperature?

Babies don't need too much heat - the experts say around 18°C is ideal. Avoid putting the cot in direct sunlight or next to a radiator and be sure to pick up a room thermometer to make it as easy as possible to keep an eye on the temperature. If you want to check how warm your little one is, be sure to check the neck or body rather than hands or feet.

What extra kit should I buy?

Be guided by whatever will make you comfortable, but we always recommend a baby monitor for peace of mind. Just plug the base into your baby’s room and keep the remote unit with you so you can hear (or see!) when nap time is over. Sleeping bags are also great, as they stop your blankets being kicked off in the night and baby waking up because they’re chilly. Go for one with poppers or zips for minimal night-change disturbance - it can be hard to deal with buttons with one eye open!

What bed should I choose?

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Moses basket

The traditional option as baby’s first bed, a moses basket is suitable from birth until they can roll over unaided, which is usually around 4 to 6 months. Moses baskets provide a cosy sleep environment, and is usually made from a natural wicker, palm leaf or maize basket with a mattress (although some don’t include the mattress so be sure to check first). They usually come with handles, so you can move baby from room to room without disturbing their precious sleep. You'll also need a stand if your chosen basket doesn't come with one.

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Larger than a Moses basket, the crib is suitable from birth up to around 6 months and comes in a variety of options - whether you're looking for a fixed, gliding or swinging one, or a bedside crib to allow you to sleep safely next to each other, there's lots to choose from. Cribs are smaller than cots, so will fit more easily into your bedroom, and come in a choice of colours and designs to help you find one to blend with your decor.

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A cot will take you from birth all the way through to around 18 months to 2 years, meaning it’s important to get it right. We know that a well-rested baby means a well-rested parent, and that’s why we’ve got lots of options to help you find what you’re looking for, from classic cots with fixed sides, to drop-sided ones for when they get a little older, all the way through to all-in-one sets that come with all the extras.

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Travel cot

A must-buy if you’ll be travelling with your tiny tot, our range of travel cots come in either foldable or pop-up designs, both ideal if you’re on the move. It’s always worth getting your little one used to it for a few nights at home before you travel, and be sure to check if you need to buy a mattress separately.

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Cot bed

A longer-lasting investment, the cot bed is suitable from birth to around 4-5 years. Featuring removable end panels, this multi-functional wonder can easily convert to a junior bed when they're ready for the next step, usually at around 2 years old. Sturdy and easy to assemble, these newborn-to-toddler beds are simple and very cost effective.

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Toddler bed

If they’ve outgrown their cot but they’re not quite ready for an adult bed, you need a sleepy stepping stone. Toddler beds , also known as starter beds or junior beds, are smaller and lower than a standard single, encouraging little ones to get safely in and out of bed on their own. A bed guard is very handy to prevent any accidental rolling-out, but not all models include them so check before you buy and get one separately if need be.

Choosing a mattress

The golden rule of baby beds is that you should always buy a brand-new mattress. Old ones can get compressed and unhygienic, and with a huge range available for all budgets and requirements, there'll be one that works best for you.

According to the experts, baby mattresses should be firm not soft, at least 8-10cms deep to support baby while they sleep, and fit the cot snugly with no more than 1.5cm space around the edge.

Foam Made from high-density, non-allergenic foam blocks, these mattresses are great value for money. They are designed to provide support and maintain baby's natural posture, are lightweight and generally easy to clean.
Spring Coiled or individually-housed pocket springs are covered with a layer of foam. If you're opting for a cot bed, this could be a good choice as they tend to be longer lasting and hold their shape better than a foam version. The space within the springs allows for increased airflow too, meaning baby's temperature can be regulated.
Natural Our natural mattresses are made from coconut fibre or coir, which gives them enhanced support and breathability. If you're looking for a natural and environmentally friendly option, this will be your best option and they are usually very long-lasting - although can be more expensive than other options.

Do's & Don'ts


  • Buy a new mattress for each little one.
  • Put baby to sleep on their back, it's the safest position.
  • Position them ‘feet to foot' - with feet touching the foot of the cot to stop them sliding underneath the sheets.
  • Make sure your mattress is clean, dry, firm and flat.
  • Check the room temperature is between 16-20°C.
  • Use a sleeping bag to keep them cosy at night.
  • Use waterproof or washable covers to make it easier to clean up little accidents.


  • Use an old mattress or one that has tears, cracks or holes.
  • Put your little one to sleep near a radiator or window.
  • Use a pillow or quilt until they are a year old.
  • Hang mobiles within reach of your tot.
  • Use a mattress that is the wrong size for your cot - there should be no more than a 1.5cm gap between the mattress and cot.

Other furniture

Often one of the bigger investments that you’ll make before baby arrives, it’s not always clear which nursery furniture pieces you’ll need. We’ve put together a list of everything we think you’ll need, whether you’re decking out the whole room or just looking for the essentials.

Nursing chair Midnight feeds, quiet cuddles, late afternoon lullabies… a nursing chair gives you the perfect place to sit with your little one and have some quality time together. Whether you’ve chosen to breast or bottle feed, having a comfortable and cosy spot to do it in will give you both maximum comfort. Our chairs come with soft upholstery and some have a smooth gliding motion to help gently rock baby back to sleep.
Changing unit Nappy duty calls up to 12 times a day with a newborn, so take the backache out of the job with a proper changing unit that makes sure you’ll be working at the right height. Whether you go for shelves or drawers, having everything you need to hand can be invaluable, especially during those middle of the night and early morning changes.
Cot top changer Save yourself from aching backs and sore knees with a cot top changer - perfect for nurseries where space is at a premium and having a separate changing unit isn't practical.
Drawers For such a little bundle of joy, you'll be amazed at how much stuff they accumulate! There's no such thing as too much storage, so whether you go for a bedside table, a classic chest or some nifty under-bed drawers, there's a solution to suit your space and keep you organised.
Wardrobe You might not want to hang up those cosy little babygros, but as they get a little older, keeping their clothes organised and hung up in a wardrobe can save you a lot of hassle!

Nursery accessories

Often one of the bigger investments that you’ll make before baby arrives, it’s not always clear which nursery furniture pieces you’ll need. We’ve put together a list of everything we think you’ll need, whether you’re decking out the whole room or just looking for the essentials.

Mobiles & Lights We all love our mobiles, and so do babies! Whether it’s got colourful critters, sounds, lights or even a projector, having a mobile above your tiny tot’s cot stimulates their senses and can soothe and relax. Always make sure they’re out of reach from curious little hands, though! Projectors are also a great way to create a calm haven for your little one to drift to sleep.
Mattress protectors Accidents happen, and that’s why choosing a mattress protector comes highly recommended for easy clean-ups. Go for something waterproof and washable and it’ll see you through nappy leaks and potty training without having to buy a whole new mattress.
Bed guards It's a big step going from cot to big bed, and one of the best ways to keep your toddler safe while they're getting used to sleeping without barriers is a bed guard . Designed to stop them rolling out at night, our bed guards are lightweight and portable, and will give you the peace of mind needed for a great night's sleep.