Oftentimes when I’m working with new clients who are expecting their first baby, I find that they worry about getting the right items and products for the nursery. Because there are so many unknowns, a lot of my clients try to stay with the items they’ve read about on registry checklists and are afraid to step outside the box. This happens frequently with the changing table. The typical changing table is a specially made dresser that usually matches the crib and may also have a changing tray attachment or a dual height. However, there is no reason why other types of dressers can’t be used for this same purpose. There are so many changing table alternatives out there, and there’s no reason you have to stick with the basics.
Go vintage. The dresser is the perfect opportunity to use a great vintage or heirloom furniture piece in the nursery. It’s not safe to use a vintage crib, but the dresser is fair game. Look for a piece that has a comfortable height and drawers that open and close easily. Also make sure there was no lead paint used in the finish, the drawer mechanisms are solid and there are no missing or loose parts. Using a vintage dresser is a great way to give character to the space, and it’s also a good option for those who are budget conscious since great vintage pieces can be found online or at flea markets.
Repurpose. If you have an old dresser that’s functional but not very aesthetically pleasing, you can repurpose it in the nursery. With a little DIY effort (or with the help of a local refinishing shop), you can bring an old dresser back to life. This is another great option if you need to stay within a budget or if you have an old dresser taking up space in storage. In Laila Ali’s nursery below, we chose a changing table in a gorgeous custom shade of pink to bring out the femininity of the space, and add a punch of color. While this was a new piece of furniture, you can see how painting a changing table can really make a statement.
Mix and match. Just because your crib has a matching changing table doesn’t mean you have to buy it. There are so many fun options out there for dressers, and you can always buy a changing tray to go on top if you prefer. Try mixing colors and finishes in your nursery to create an eclectic look. In addition to colors, you can also mix materials like wood, metal or acrylic.
Dress it up. No matter what type of dresser or changing table you end up with, you can always add a little extra oomph by switching out the knobs or handles. Crystal knobs will add instant femininity, leather pulls will add a rustic touch, and a little spray paint can turn dull silver into shimmering gold. You can even mix a few of these ideas together if your piece has both knobs and handles. In the photo below (from a nursery I designed a million years ago), we purchased a distressed white changing table, but my client really wanted to add sparkle wherever she could in the space. We found some great antique-style crystal knobs and switched them out for an instant makeover.
Would you choose a traditional piece for your baby’s nursery, or will you opt for one of these changing table alternatives?
[This piece was adapted from my original post for Project Nursery]