Sleep tight, baby: A bed system you can use from birth to 10 years old

The Serena collection from Gaia Baby consists of a cot-to-bed system, a chest of drawers with changing table, and a rocking chair with footstool.

Design aspirations for the nursery are a pricey business but offer value if the long-term needs of the child are considered. Carol O’Callaghan checks out a bed system you can use from birth to 10 years old

Whatever happened to the tradition of handing round the family Moses basket? According to recent research, nearly a third of new parents spend over €1,000 on a nursery for their little bundle of joy.

The research, carried out by furniture company Gaia Baby in October 2018, also found that three-quarters of first-time mums and dads buy everything new, with almost half wanting to know the baby’s sex in advance to plan the colour scheme.

Given the limited lifespan of initial purchases, little babas are chronically expensive creatures which prompted baby furniture distributor Joanne O’Grady to invent a bed system for ages nought to 10.

“I saw that parents might need a product for three to four months and then need something else, forcing them to buy more,” she says. “I wanted to minimise the number of purchases.”

The result is the Gaia Serena collection.

It replaces the traditional Moses basket with a co-sleeper attaching to the parents’ bed, giving easy access for night-time feeds. After that, it alters into a cot for up to three years old, then a toddler bed up to age four, followed by a first bed from four to five, and, finally, a junior bed up to age 10.

As the baby grows, the cot can be modified to become a bed suitable for a toddler and later a young child.

Extra components are added to the mattress as it transitions from cot to bed, at each stage encasing it in a zipped cover to create a seamless feel.

“What we’ve made is inspired by Scandinavian design with curves so there are no sharp edges,” Joanne explains. “We use 100% sustainable birch and we meet EU safety standards and standards in the US and Australia. All our textiles are certified 100% organic cotton and so are our pocket-sprung mattresses. We also wanted to create something beautiful that was soft and nurturing.”

So far a few Irish celebrities have purchased it - comedian Jennifer Zamparelli, and Lucy Kennedy bought the rocking chair (€459.90).

The Gaia Serena collection of nursery furniture grows with the child and includes a cot-to-bed system, a rocking chair and footstool, and storage with changing table.

If your accommodation is less than celebrity size there’s no need to worry. “We’ve considered space in the design as many couples are living in apartments or with family,” says Joanne. “As a parent, you spend a lot of time in the nursery sitting while feeding or reading, so we designed a comfortable rocking chair without the usual armrests - there’s room for a toddler to sit beside you.”

The Gaia Serena Complete Sleep starts with the cot configuration, through toddler bed and on to first bed for €699.90. Add the co-sleeping component and the total rises to €849.90. Mattresses are extra at €169.90, and the extension for the junior bed is €119.90, plus mattress at €59.90.

The final configuration of the Gaia Serena is a junior bed to take the child up to 10 years old.

From Mothercare and www.gaia-baby.com.

Tips for nursery design by interiors specialist Lisa Marconi:

  • Consider how much use core nursery pieces get. It can justify investment in pieces which won’t develop splintered corners and sticking, unhinged drawers.
  • A comfortable chair is a must for night-time cuddles. If space is an issue, think about a mini-crib so the chair will fit.
  • Create a nursery you’ll love. For the first few years, your child won’t notice what the room looks like, but you’ll spend a large amount of time in it so make sure you love how it looks.
  • With smaller rooms make use of every bit of space and consider a mini-cot. Storage drawers and baskets can fit underneath. Use ledges instead of traditional shelves for books.
  • Don’t be afraid to embrace more dramatic looks. Dark colours are great if you’re looking for a slightly more grown-up feel to your nursery that will stay relevant as your child grows.
  • The days of exclusively baby pink and blue nurseries are over. Yellows, greys and greens are all brilliant colours to use for painting nursery walls.
  • Wall decals are a great way of getting something playful and fun into the room without spending a fortune. Look for wall art on Etsy or similar sites, or print your own and frame it. This is a quick and inexpensive option if you want to change the designs as the child gets older.
  • You want to have lovely low lights as well as bright lighting when needed. A variety of lighting - overhead, table and floor lamps - is key.

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