We spend a lot of time planning our baby’s nursery. It’s new, exciting and there are so many adorable things we can incorporate into the room. Of course, those first couple of years went by at lightning speed! Now you have a moving toddler that has outgrown some of the things in their room. If you want to keep your child in the same room, there are simple steps you can take to convert a nursery to a toddler room. How much you change is completely up to you. Maybe you want to keep the exact same theme, or you want to change it entirely. Either way, there are some key things you want to consider changing.
My first son Miles’ nursery was gray and yellow with large geometric patterns. You can see his room design here. We added black and white and traded out some furniture to make it fit for a big boy’s growing curiosity and independence! If you have a budding toddler, but want to keep them in their same room and keep some or all your design efforts- keep reading for ideas on how to convert your nursery to a toddler room.
1) Toddler Bed
Moving our son to his big boy bed started his room transformation from a nursery to a toddler room. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure to check out my tips for transitioning to a toddler bed! There are some essential safety updates outlined in that article, now that they can get out of bed and roam the room. We made the bed change first and after he was adjusted, converted the other areas of his room. You can totally make all the changes at once and get your toddler excited about the new room! The crib sheets fit toddler beds, so you can keep those and the same mattress. You may want to get a toddler sheet set– it adds a pillowcase for your new adorable toddler pillow and a loose sheet. We barely used the sheet at first, because our son loved the comfort of his crib blanket.
There are many fun themed toddler beds– if that will be the focal point of your theme, start there first. We kept ours white, like his crib color. I’m seeing him sharing a room with his baby brother one day, who inherited the crib (converts into a toddler bed). This way they will both have similar sized white beds.
Your toddler is learning independence at an exciting rate! More and more, they are wanting to do things on their own. Use this to your advantage. Replace some furniture or add new items and rearrange things so they are at toddler height and can be reached by little hands.
- Clothes, towels, pajamas- okay, I don’t always let my toddler pick out his clothes in the morning. Because if I do, he’ll always wear the same orange shirt. Lol. But I give him a couple of choices. He can also reach his towel to bring to bath time, access the drawer with his pajamas to pull out, and knows to throw his dirty clothes in the hamper.
- Books and toys- utilize bins, toy boxes and bookcases that are close to the ground. Have a system where they know what goes where. Miles and I talk about it every time we clean up- legos go here, music toys here, motor vehicles, etc. It’s pretty amazing when my two year old tells my husband that he put the toy back in the wrong place. Hilarious! You can label them or color coordinate- legos in red, cars in blue etc.
3) Create a magical space such as a reading corner
This is EVERYBODY’s favorite space in the room. It’s just so cozy and the LED string lights give it a perfect ambience for reading before going to bed. Their imaginations really come to life at this age and it’s fun nurturing it with their rooms or activities. My mom made ours out of a king sized sheet, there are many good tutorials out there! We bought the cushion at Land of Nod. You can also buy canopies and tents at a lot of places now!
When we finally move into a house and can have a stand alone playroom, I plan on doing other projects to create magical spaces. Check out my favorite ideas for creating magical spaces for kids!
4) Make a theme update
Ours was a simple color addition, but you can go any direction you and your toddler desire! I added black and white to Miles’ room. It was complimentary to the gray and yellow that already existed, and gave it a nice modern pop. Think about what you already have and what you are going to introduce. It helps to integrate with some of the existing elements- cheaper because you don’t have to replace everything and not as time consuming.
5) More floor space- remove baby stuff!
The glider/rocking chair and ottoman can go. I know, there are memories of a lot of late nights on there! You guys can still cuddle in the reading corner or on their bed! We moved ours to the new baby’s nursery, but you can put yours in storage if you anticipate using it in the future or sell it online. The same goes for rockers, swings, saucers, jumpers and all other baby items they have grown out of that take up room. Our diaper days were not over when making the transition (unfortunately), but if you are- replace the diaper pail with a trash can. You can also repurpose the changing table to have accessible toys or clothes on the bottom drawers.
We also added a play table and an arts and crafts corner to the room. Strongly suggest a toddler height table set or comfy chair! The play table was a thrift store find that I made over. The reason it’s in his room is because we don’t have a playroom and there was room (it replaced the area where the glider was). Surprisingly, he does not get into any of the crafts during bedtime (knock on wood 😉 ). If you have a playroom, a crafts corner has been a fun addition. We always do some coloring or a project there after nap.
And that’s it! Your toddler room is ready! Hopefully the next few years won’t go by as fast as the first two did.