A special place

A special place

Whether you are preparing for the arrival of your first child, or just want to update your toddler's room, creating a special place for your precious little ones can be quick, easy and inexpensive.

The arrival of a new baby means there's an extra strain on the family budget, but IKEA stores offer some fantastic ranges of practical, fun and inexpensive children's furniture and accessories to help transform an ordinary room into a kid's paradise. It's all about making a few small changes, like adding colourful textiles and fun storage, hanging some sweet prints on the wall or installing a cute night-light to help little ones sleep tight.

For a new baby, IKEA stores offer coordinated ranges, such as the flexible, country-style LEKSVIK series in beech, which can adapt as your child grows. Once the kids have out-grown nappies, the LEKSVIK changing table/cabinet, $319.00, can be transformed into a simple chest of drawers; while the LEKSVIK cot, $349.00, has removable sides so it can convert into a toddler's bed. The LEKSVIK extendable bed can also be lengthened as your child gets taller, and is great value at only $269.00.

Once you have the basics organised you can start adding accessories to decorate and personalise the room. For a cot, choose colourful, coordinated bed-linen such as the five-piece BARNSLIG FLODHÄST set, which for only $29.00 includes two blankets, a quilt cover, pillow case and fitted sheet. Then choose toys that will stimulate your baby's senses, such as the colourful BARNSLIG mobile, rattle, soft toy with teething plate, musical box, or super cute soft toy animals from $4.95. There's even the unique LEKA baby gym, $49.00, for a baby-style workout.

As babies quickly become toddlers, make the most of colourful textiles to re-decorate the room. You can easily refresh and change the look of any room with a pair of inexpensive curtains, a few cushions and a patterned rug. For example, the BARNSLIG RUND rug features a cute hippo design and can be coordinated with the BARNSLIG DJUR curtain, $35.00 a pair, to create a completely new look. You can also turn bedtime into an adventure with the fun KURA bed-tent, $39.00, or LOVA bed canopy, $39.00.

Lighting is also very important to create the right atmosphere in a baby's room. There should be a mix of task light for changing nappies and dressing, and soft mood light to help them play and settle. Also make sure the task lighting isn't too harsh by using a lamp with a shade, such as the KAXIG pendant lamp, $29.00. You can create gentle mood light with something fun like the beetle-shaped SMILA BAGGE wall-lamp, $14.95, and for restful nights try a SPÖKA night-light, $19.95.

We all know toddlers can make a bit of a mess when they're having fun, so IKEA designers have come up with some clever storage solutions specifically for them. The TROFAST storage series is a flexible and brightly-coloured storage system that can be configured to suit the storage needs of any room, big or small. The TROFAST frame can be fitted with drawers or doors and can be added to as your children and their toy collections grow.

For more inspiring ways to create an extra special space for your little ones, visit your local IKEA store or www.IKEA.com.au.