How to Change a Nursery to a Toddler Room

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What do you do when you've got a young tot AND a little one on the way? How do you change a nursery to toddler room?

I ran into this situation myself with my two boys and I recently worked on a similar project for Mark and his son Will. Check it out, because you can make this nursery to toddler room transition, too!

Nursery to Toddler room: What do you have? What do you want?

Mark had a great space to start with for the new room design for Will.

  • The layout of the room was huge! A nice big bay window, tons of closet space, lots of natural light (okay, I might have been jealous of Will's room, but anyway).

  • Mark also shared that Will really loved basketball (a boy after my own heart. Future Jayhawk, perhaps??), books of all sorts, animals and the color orange.

  • One last request for the new room was that we incorporate space for the cousins to stay when they had sleepovers.

With this in mind, we were off to the races!

Nursery to Toddler Room: Furniture


The biggest part of this nursery to toddler room project, and the part that used the most budget was the furniture.

  • Since Will was still fairly small, we went with a toddler bed as a middle step between crib and big bed

    • Lots of cribs currently convert into this option, but with baby arriving soon, we decided to woo Noah with the idea of a new bed and leave the crib for baby #2.

  • Money saving tip: cribs and toddler beds use the same sized mattress so need to purchase a new one if you're sizing up!

  • The other large purchase was a bunk bed, both for visiting cousins and for Will as he grew.

    • Since there was plenty of room, we went with the full bed on bottom and twin on top. Will will have plenty of options when he gets to big bed size.

  • Other complimentary furniture included a nightstand, cozy reading chair, bookshelves and toy storage.




Now that the large pieces were in place, we tackled the layout of the room.

  • For this, we grouped the furniture into smaller areas.

  • Will had his own nook for his toddler bed, nightstand, lamp, changing table/dresser.

  • Another large area was given to the large bunk bed, and the last space was reserved for my favorite part of the room: the reading nook.

  • We took advantage of the gorgeous bay window to give Will a reading nook.

    • I always advocate for having a reading area as near to natural light as possible; the soft light and cozy placement inherently encourages reading. Everyone wins, right?

    • So we put short bookcases (not blocking the light!) along each of the three sides of the window, a reading chair for Will (appropriately toddler sized) and a beanbag for friends or parents to join him.

All set for furniture placement.


Nursery to Toddler Room: Decor

The last part (and the most fun) was the décor. The icing on the cake. The last hurrah. The…okay, I'm running out of metaphors here. But it's essential.

  • Just like in other rooms, I like to have a "star" of the room.

    • Often it's something colorful and/or with a pattern to base the rest of the room around.

  • With Will's toddler room, I found a brightly colored, graphic rug.

  • Other pieces fell into place…animal wall art here, a basketball lamp there, curtains…all based on Noah's tastes and complimenting the rug.



Nursery to Toddler Room: Ta Da!

In the end, we turned Will's nursery to a toddler room he was ecstatic about.  Mom and Dad were happy, too. They then turned their attention to where Baby #2 would stay, but that's a whole other story.


If you've reached this point and are still feeling a bit unsure about how to tackle this, let's talk about your project. Working together can include just a nudge in the right direction or it can be a complete room makeover. And everything in between. So don't sweat it.