In terms of furniture, what do you consider the true baby essentials?
Nursery and children's room furniture should be multi-functional, grow with your child and be cool enough to be on display in your home, especially for younger parents who might still be in a one-bedroom, loft or smaller living space. These could include convertible cribs and dressers and other durable pieces.
A fabulous crib that can turn into a toddler bed is key, because the transition comes so fast. It is important to buy pieces that can last a while with growing kids -- pieces that are built well out of durable materials. The Ava chair, for example, is upholstered in cotton and microsuede and can be used from ages 1-1/2-5 years.
Armoires and dressers that can convert into changing tables and then back to dressers are ideal for when you are ready to transition into a toddler room.
I believe it's really important to have furniture that is functional and can suit the needs of your children as they grow. It not only gives you a memory to look back on of such a cherished time, but you have a fabulous piece of furniture that will withstand the rest of your household. Keep in mind that a new baby doesn't need too much. A few essential furniture pieces can really go a long way.
I also love to choose items that help to make your new life just a little bit easier at such an exciting time. Functional items I think are essential include:
A baby monitor, especially for first-time moms, eases the desire to check on baby every 15 minutes, which never changes even as they grow up!
A baby sling makes it easy to complete many things at once and promotes attachment parenting. It can also cover up the "after baby" belly we all have!
A Moses basket, bassinet, or bouncer allows for easy transportation of baby around the house, whether it is while you are playing with older children, cooking dinner, or any of the million other things you have to get done. In the beginning it is essential to keep an eye on a newborn, but involve them in your task at hand.
Hooded bath towels. Find the softest ones possible. I just love to wrap up a new baby so cozy and tight at bath time, and it gives them a sense of security.