20 Functional & Cute Things For The Nursery, Because You Need Both

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It's easy to get caught up in the idea of a Pinterest-perfect baby nursery, until you realize all of the stuff you need in there to help you get through those first 12+ months. When decorating, you want to focus on buying functional and cute things for your nursery so that they serve a long-term purpose and look sweet at the same time.

Whether this is your first baby or this isn't your first rodeo, there are all sorts of things you'll need in the nursery to get you through those late-night feedings, keep your baby entertained during the day, and encourage your little one to eventually sleep longer than three-hour stretches. An old-school sound machine may not go with your general nursery theme, and that's okay because there are plenty of cute options you can get instead.

Investing in products that do more than look pretty is going to help you in the long run with your baby. You'd be surprised by how many great things there are out there that can give you the nursery of your dreams while still helping you live through those foggy newborn days. Here are 20 must-have items to get you started.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

1. Portable Toy Storage

This little toy box comes with wheels and a rope handle. During those immobile days, it's a great spot to store some toys you want handy for playing on the floor, and once they're older they will love dragging/rolling it around as a toy by itself.

2. Sweet Nightlight

This ceramic globe nightlight has little star cutouts that will show up on your baby's walls. It has a little switch on the cord that's easy to grab, so it's perfect for beside your glider to give you just enough light to feed the baby without blinding it (or yourself) and waking it up.

3. Full Size Dresser

You might be wondering what in the world a tiny baby needs a full size dresser for - not for clothes. But, you can use the top as a changing table, store your diapers, cream, wipes, etc in the top drawers, keep your extra sheets in the bottom drawers, and then let your baby keep using the dresser as they get older. This one by Ikea is a favorite because it holds so much (just make sure you anchor it to the wall).

4. Educational Rug

If you're already planning to put a rug in your baby's room, consider one that will benefit them as they get bigger. This 3 x 5' rug has a lot for your baby to learn from, letters, colors, and shapes. Plus, they will love running their little hands across the wool material.

5. Adorable Storage/Book Shelf

A bookshelf is definitely a long-term product for the nursery. You can store diaper essentials, pacifiers, sound machine, or anything else you need handy on this nearly 5' tall bookcase with three shelves. Eventually, once you're not running in there constantly, you can transition it to house all the books your kiddo has collected.

6. The Cutest Storage Basket

You can use this 8 x 8.75 x 8.75" rope basket for toy storage, as a hamper, or flip it over to serve as a little table to put a sound machine or night light. The three poms on it are adorable and will add a little charm to any nursery.

7. Touch Lamp

When you're carrying a baby, a bottle, your phone, and probably something else, turning on a dim lamp isn't exactly easy. This small table lamp is activated simply by touch so all you have to do is tap it with your elbow and it'll turn on. Pro Tip: put a low watt bulb in it to give the room a glow for late-night diaper changes.

8. Side Table & Night Stand

You're going to want a table of some sort next to your glider so you have easy access to pacifiers, a bottle, a drink for yourself, or your phone, so consider getting one that can transition into your child's nightstand when they're a little older. This delta nightstand is 23.25"W x 18.75"D x 23"H, has two drawers for storage, and can be paired with its complementing furniture line or look great with other models as well.

9. Blackout Curtains

Blackout curtains are a must if you want your baby to nap during the day (or before the sun goes down in the summer). You can get some really cute patterned blackout curtains to complement your decor and help your baby sleep, like these striped full-length curtains. Just remember to measure your window to determine how many panels you need and what length will work best.

10. Colorful Clothes & Coat Hanger

This colorful clothes hanger is just over 4" tall and has eight hooks coming off around it. During the baby stage you can hang a sleepsack up between uses, drape some headbands on it, or store some hooded towels. As your baby grows up, it's a great height for them to start hanging up their coat, hat, or dress up clothes on their own.

11. Play Mat

If you don't love the idea of laying your baby directly on the carpet (or hard floor) this cute play mat will provide a soft cozy spot for them. It's covered in soft polyester velboa, has a padded interior, and you can even have their name embroidered onto it.

12. Chalkboard Wall

You can get chalkboard paint tinted to just about any color, which, in itself, makes for a fun accent wall in a room. During those early days, it will be a great spot to quickly write when you fed the baby, when they got their last dose of Tylenol, or anything else you need to keep track of. Then, when your baby is older it will be a fun spot for them to play and draw.

13. A Multi-Purpose Shelf

Unless you have a camera monitor you plan to mount to the wall, you'll want a shelf where you can put it so you can angle it right to see into the crib. This round metal shelf from Target is a great option, especially if you can disconnect the cord from your camera because you can discretely hide the cord through one of the grid holes. You can get this shelf in gold or gray.

14. The Most Magical Clothes Hamper

There's not much that needs to be said about this hamper, the cute factor is clear. It's 15.5" tall (not including the metallic gold horn and ears) and has an 11.5" diameter. You can toss those dirty onesies right in it and still have the nursery looking cute.

15. Soother

You can have a quality sound machine/soother without it looking bulky and boring. This soother by Fisher-Price is covered with neutral colored jungle animals, has three sound options, volume control, three light options (including two projection choices), and can be controlled from your smart phone.

16. Colorful Diaper Pail

A good diaper pail is key for a nursery, but they're usually not exactly cute. Diaper Genie now offers their famous pails in several colors, one of which is bound to compliment your nursery. If you want to make it even cuter, you can add some decals to give it a little character.

17. Bookcase & Toy In One

During the first 12 months, a bookcase will serve as storage, a place to display pictures, and decor. This one from Crate & Kids will do that as well, but then gives you the option to transition it into a little doll house when your kiddo is bigger. It stands about 20" tall, comes with an anchoring kit, and has little window cutouts around it for maximum fun. This is definitely an investment piece, but one that will last for years.

18. Somewhere To Put Your Feet & Store Toys

If you purchased a glider that didn't come with its own ottoman, consider getting one that doubles as storage. This ottoman measures 16.5"H x 17.5"W x 17.5"D, can hold up to 200 pounds, and comes with a one year (limited) warranty. Use it to store swaddles, magazines for pumping sessions, or toys.

19. Colorful Floor Lamp

Not all rooms come equipped with an overhead light, so if your nursery needs some lighting, this 5' tripod floor lamp is a cute and colorful option. It comes with the base and shade (which has multi-colored poms all over it), has a turn knob for turning it on/off, and the power cord has a chevron pattern - because why not? To make this even more functional, consider using a smart bulb that you can control from your phone so you can dim or brighten the room with ease.

20. Wall Hooks

How cute are these little animal wall hooks? They may not be made for kids but they will look great in a jungle or zoo themed room. You can hang towels, footie pjs, headbands, or tomorrow's outfit on them before handing the space over to your kid to start putting their jackets or superhero capes away themselves. This set of five animal hooks comes mounted on a piece of mango wood that measures 22"W x 3.5"H and each hook can hold up to five pounds.

While it would be lovely to have that dreamy Pinterest-worthy nursery, they are usually lacking a lot of key functional items. By investing in products that are cute and functional, you can have it both ways and set your baby's nursery up to easily transition into a toddler and big kid room down the road.