When my little guy was born, my wife and I spent an entire paycheck or two on a stroller, car seat, crib, and a mountain of diapers. And for a while that was the extent of our baby stuff. Over the next 10 months our mountain of diapers dwindled with amazing rapidity and our little bundle grew into a larger one that walked around picking up everything and putting it in his mouth. At the same time the amount of clothes, toys, and other assorted baby gadgetry had accumulated to such a degree that it was encroaching on the rest of the house.
It was time to give our little man his own space!
We pulled all of the junk out of our extra room and started transforming it into a baby haven. This required a great deal more effort and time than I had previously thought but, luckily for my bank account, it required a lot less cash. We slowly started piecing things together from thrift stores and generous family members with older kids.
Finally, today I can say that it’s all complete. The last piece of furniture is in place and the lingering pain from strained back muscles is fading. And so, I present to you, the 5 pieces of furniture essential to a functional kids room.
1. Some Sort of Sleeping Apparatus
You can’t really call it a kids room if there isn’t somewhere for them to sleep. It doesn’t have to be shaped like a race car or the Millennium Falcon. It just has to be comfy enough to cradle a little body for the night and sturdy enough that it won’t break when that little body is bouncing around on it like a pinball.
Our crib came from my wife’s aunt. Her kids had outgrown it and, although the mattress cover was pretty thrashed, the rest of it was in pretty good condition.
2. A Place for Clothes
If you don’t have kids then you have no idea how quickly they amass large quantities of clothing. I swear every time Grandma comes over she’s got a cute new outfit. As a parent it’s great because you don’t have to buy them stuff, but even though baby clothes are tiny they still have to go somewhere.
A baby dresser is a must have. Drawers that keep clothes nicely folded and can separate the onesies from the footie pajamas will make changing times much easier. Again I think ours came from another relative. It has weird bear stickers all over it but it was free.
3. A Place for Stuff
This is for all the things that kids need but that you don’t necessarily want them to have easy access to. Books, crayons, and boxes of wipes, are all crucial kid items but only if they remain well out of reach to curious toddlers.
One of the dressers we procured from someone has a set of shelves attached to it. It is a great place to keep things away from our little boy. It’s also bright pink with glittery nobs on the drawers but again the price was right.
4. Creative Platform
When your kids are really little they don’t require much to keep them occupied. A squishy ball or a cardboard box can amuse them for hours. But as they get older they learn about crayons and how they can make magic with paper. You will try your hardest to keep them from learning about crayons and walls but you will inevitably fail.
Once our son starting showing interest in drawing I knew we needed to get him a better environment. The kitchen table was way too high and he is a perpetual wiggler so it was unrealistic for us to lift him up and down from a booster seat a hundred times. Luckily, working for a kid’s furniture company gave me access to some really cool stuff and I’d been eyeing the table and chair set for a while. Now my little boy can grab a coloring book, plop down, and color outside the lines to his heart’s content.
5. A Black Hole
This is where all the things that don’t go in any other piece of furniture belong. Most people call it a toy box. It is where every little plastic doo-dad and wooden thing-a-ma-jig end up, woefully separated from whatever set of toys they belong to by great distances of space and time. It’s also the first thing that your kid likes to overturn once he wakes up in the morning.
Every kid’s room needs one of these for one simple reason. It makes cleaning up so much easier. Just grab everything on the floor and throw it in. In 2 minutes you’ve cleared the floor and you won’t have to worry about stepping on noisy or painfully sharp (I’m looking at you LEGO) objects when you go in to check on your child in the middle of the night. Our toy box is just a canvas bin. I have no idea where it came from but it’s wonderful.
There you have it, 5 essential pieces of furniture for a functional kid’s room. I’ve learned that children can make your life wonderfully crazy. But getting them into a room that meets all of your needs and theirs can make it more of the former and less of the latter.