?First off congratulations! Having a baby is an exciting time. That said many new parents are overwhelmed with all there is to do when trying to decorate a baby nursery. Questions like "Should I pick the room color or crib bedding set first?" and "What about the nursery furniture - do I buy a convertible crib or a standard one?" are very common. The following step-by-step guidelines will help answer some of your questions and guide you through the process of decorating a baby nursery. When it comes to decorating baby rooms you have many options. If you have a particular paint color in mind or have discovered some baby bedding you love you can start with that - just about anything can be used as inspiration for a nursery decor theme. Step 1: Research first before making a purchase The most important thing to do when trying to come up with just the right look or theme for your baby's room is to do your homework first. Gather some inspiration by window shopping, browsing through magazines or searching out what's available online. The key is to first browse and get ideas but not to buy anything until you have a firm plan in place, otherwise you may end up spending more time and money shopping than you really need to. You see, if you start buying everything you like when you first see it, you may find your ideas don't end up working so well together and then you may be faced with having to take things back (that is if the store you shopped at will even accept returns). In short, it does pay in both time and money to plan out your baby's room in a logical and organized manner. Step 2: Jot down your ideas As you gather some inspiration from various sources, make note of your ideas as well as your likes and dislikes. What colors do you prefer? What kind of feel do you want your baby's room to have? Consider what furnishings you want if you are buying new. Consider quality nursery furniture that will stand the test of time like convertible cribs that can later become a toddler bed or twin bed. Step 3: Walk around the room and note measurements Explore the space that will be converted into your baby's nursery. Walk around the room and envision how you would like it to look. Will the ideas you like work within the available space? Take measurements and make notes so you have everything you need on hand when it comes time to make your purchases. Step 4: Come up with a plan Once you have a good feel for the space and have your measurements in hand, the next step is to create a floor plan. A floor plan (even a rough sketch) will give you a better sense of if your ideas will actually work within the available space. Step 5: Experiment with different furniture arrangements As part of your floor plan, create some simple furniture templates and play around with different arrangements to see what will work best. This is a very important step to do if you are planning on buying new furniture and will be using the space for your child's bedroom for years to come. You see, while a new crib may fit in nicely alongside a bookcase, a toddler or twin bed may not. You should take into consideration not only your baby's current needs but also his or her future ones. Step 6: Test out different colors The first step to selecting the right paint color(s) for a baby nursery is to pick up a collection of paint chips from a local paint retailer. With the aid of paint chips, explore a variety of colors until you find a color that appeals to you. Once you have a favorite color or two in mind, you can narrow it down to a particular shade or shades. Usually one base color is good with one or two other colors as an accent. The accent colors can be introduced into the room using a second paint color, crib bedding, artwork, wall stickers, wallpaper, accessories etc. Step 7: Decide on how you are going to decorate the walls Decorating the walls of a baby nursery can be fun. There is so many nursery wall decor ideas out there to go with just about any baby room theme you can Imagine. The key is not to overdo it - the last thing you want to do is to create a room that is busy and will overwhelm your baby. A little wall art or a mural on one wall should suffice. You may also wish to consider wall decor ideas that can be easily updated as your child grows. Peel and stick mural stickers are a great idea as they are usually easily removed. Step 8: Consider window treatment ideas You don't have to know how to sew in order to come up with adorable window treatments for your baby's nursery. The key is to first decide on practical window coverings like black out shades or blinds (for daytime naps) before making a decision on how you will dress them up e.g. with a valance and/or side curtains. For longevity, select quality drapery fabrics that complement the wall color and flooring. Nursery curtains and valances with a baby motif can be beautiful but will need to be updated sooner than later. Step 9: Are you make any changes to the flooring? In most cases, you probably won't be changing the flooring but you may want to consider adding in an area rug that will help pull together the colors in the room. A colorful area or throw rug placed on top of neutral wall-to-wall carpet is a wonderful way to bring an added splash of color into your baby's nursery. Step 10: Shop for a bedding set A good crib bedding set can be all you need to inspire an entire nursery theme. A crib itself can become the focal point of your baby's nursery or it can simply be an accessory item and a hand painted wall mural can take center stage. If you are planning on creating a nursery that will also function as a toddler's room and beyond, you may want to consider solid or stripes instead of crib bedding with a baby related motif. The reason I suggest this is that the crib bedding you buy today usually fits most toddler beds therefore if you've purchased a quality bedding set, you child could use it for several years before outgrowing it. Finally, test your design ideas out using a sample board. It brings all your wall, window, flooring, and bedding samples together and allows you play around with your options. (A sample board can simply be a poster board showcasing all your ideas.) A lot of beautiful baby rooms come from trial and error. Have fun and experiment with different baby nursery looks until you achieve the one you desire for your baby. Happy Decorating! Sherrie offers up additional baby nursery decor tips and ideas at her www.babybedrooms.net blog and through her FREE Kids Decor Newsletter. Click here for your complimentary subscription. Sherrie Le Masurier is an organizing and decorating consultant and the owner of a variety of kids decorating and organizing websites and blogs.