10 Timeless Nursery Items That Will Grow With Your Kids

published Sep 30, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids. Join us over on Instagram for more!

Cubby. Real solutions for unreal times.

Join us for a weekly dose of fresh, modern ideas for life at home with your kids.

I hate to admit it, but we have spent thousands — yes, thousands — of dollars on things our 19-month-old-toddler outgrew in a blink. Cloud-soft newborn hats? Donated to the local thrift store after a few weeks, thanks to his ginormous, Harvard-bound noggin’. An adorable wooden walker? So cute … and he was so “over it!” in a matter of days. 

Clearly, the phrase “you win some, you lose some” applies to purchases for your little one. But as a design writer — and someone who loathes being wasteful in general — one place I always aim for timeless options for is in the nursery. Why spend serious money on an elephant-shaped lamp if he’ll groan at the sight of it when he reaches his tween years?

“Aside from a crib, I don’t really buy into the concept of purchasing nursery specific items!” says Seattle designer Julie Kleiner, mother of an 11-year-old. “For my son’s nursery, I invested in a classic walnut dresser with leather pulls when I designed his room, knowing it would be a great piece for years to come.”

Evelyn Pierce Smith, mother of a 4-month-old daughter and a Washington, D.C.-based designer, also aims for purchases that will stand the test of time. For her baby’s nursery, she selected decorative wallpaper to give the room personality — while cutting back on actual clutter. “The dresser is from the early 1900s, so I knew it would last and be an elegant solution,” she says.

Here, a few long-lasting pieces to know and love.

1 / 9
Pottery Barn Kids

This fluffy polyester polymer cloud on an iron frame will mesmerise them during their newborn days … and add a note of “the sky's the limit” when they’re applying for college. We love how this takes the typical nursery cloud theme and gives it a new, modern spin.

2 / 9

“A great, upholstered rocking chair is a nursery item that I recommend splurging on, as it can give you longevity to be used throughout the years,” says designer McCall Dulkys, founder of e-design studio Interiors By McCall and mother of twin 2-year-olds and a 3.5-year-old. “A well-made, quality rocking chair or glider can be taken from a nursery into toddler and even teenage rooms.” This one is made of FSC Certified Wood and is (phew!) stain resistant.

3 / 9

No wonder the Nugget — a transformable, machine-washable “sofa” made of low-VOC foam—has had a waiting list in the past. “Furniture that can be configured into various shapes and functions is great for growing with your children and for serving multiple purposes throughout their lives and activities such as play, rest, reading, et cetera,” says Los Angeles designer Joanna Heart, mother of a 6-year-old who recently appeared on Netflix’s Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo. Honestly? I want to curl up on that thing myself.

4 / 9
Serena & Lily

I love the dye-free European sheepskin we bought for our nursery — it was cuddly for tummy time play sessions; adds a little sumptuousness when it’s tossed over the back of the glider; and I know it will live furrrever. This version is Oeko-Tex certified to be free of harmful chemicals, and comes in poetically pretty hues like “fog” and “ivory.”

5 / 9
Lulu and Georgia

Toddlers can crawl up on this pouf, and parents can use it as a much-needed extra seat during story hour. And — because it’s crafted of hard-wearing leather — you can easily spot-wash it clean, whether you’re cleaning off bebe barf or the too-much-pizza-after-soccer kind.

6 / 9

You’ll need a desk lamp with a strong glow to read “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?” on repeat. Why can’t it be an Art Deco-inspired number in polished nickel your kid will later want to steal for their dorm room?

7 / 9

In the days of COVID-19 (ugh) and forest fire smoke (double ugh), air purifiers can bring a little peace of mind, whether you’re fretting about baby lungs or tween ones. This one cleans the air in rooms of up to 361 square feet. Talk about breathing easy!

8 / 9
One Kings Lane

Why shove your stash of Caldecott Award winners on a bookshelf that can only be described as unsightly, when options like this exist? Sturdy cast iron construction means this will last decades; just be sure to anchor it properly to the wall for safety.

9 / 9
Bed Bath & Beyond

Yes, the white noise issuing from this color-changing gizmo is handy when your baby finally gets to sleep … so you can binge your latest streaming addiction without worrying about waking them up. But its sounds — ranging from rain to ocean to a dryer tumbling — also make perfect background noise for their high school cram sessions.