You don’t have to use that bookcase in baby’s room solely for books. In fact, an empty bookshelf is the perfect way to decorate your nursery with things you already have–or hope to receive as gifts. Use good-looking toys and books to create a functional focal point that isn’t fussy. Try a few of the ideas below to keep your bookshelves childlike yet child-friendly, great to look at and great to use.
1. Try stacking some attractive blocks, like these vintage-looking ones from Magen’s Bay Designs ($36), in a pyramid on the shelves. They are adorable to look at until baby is old enough to play, and when he is they are the perfect size and shape for his first set of blocks.
2. Try some adorable animal bookends ($49 each) to keep books neat and tidy while continuing a theme (choose an elephant for a zoo, or a rabbit for a garden).
3. And between those bookends, choose a set of classic books, like this Winnie the Pooh box set ($32), to create a warm room and an early love of reading.
4. Instead of the predictable wicker baskets, use fun metal pails ($19) to store toys, stuffed animals, socks, or whatever needs a home on the shelves.
5. Add personalization to any bookcase by propping up a hand-painted picture frame ($75) with a photo of the family, a pet or a favorite baby moment.