Every parent wants to create an Instagram-worthy nursery, one that’s always clear of clutter and has no bad angles. While most new parents spend some time considering color schemes or themes, we often lose sight of the fact that the primary purpose of this room is for our baby to S-L-E-E-P (hopefully, often and for long periods of time). So, without further ado, here are five tips to optimize your little one’s sleep environment–no matter if you’re leaning towards modern Scandi or traditional nautical.

  1. Create a cozy cave. Babies snooze best in dark sleep environments. Heavy-duty blackout curtains will do the trick, ensuring maximum darkness for naps and overnight. Pottery Barn Kids offers stylish options or you can opt for a blackout liner to enhance your existing curtains. In a pinch, simply affix thick garbage bags to the window with masking tape–not the most stylish solution but nonetheless effective.

2. Consider noise. City-dwellers or those living in homes where noise travels easily should consider investing in a white noise machine. My favorite brand is Marpac, which makes both full-sized and travel-sized products. While white noise won’t magically make your baby fall asleep, it serves as an excellent sleep cue and helps to mask external noises that could disturb her slumber. Be sure to place the white noise source at a distance from the crib and ensure that it’s no more than 60dB (the level considered safe for hospital nurseries). If you’re unsure, download a free app to measure the noise level.

3. Go low-tech. Try to keep most electronics out of the nursery, with the exception of a baby monitor. Be especially wary of mobiles that play music or have bright lights. A baby’s crib should feel like a relaxing safe haven–not a rave. If your heart is set on a crib mobile, choose one that’s zen.

4. Clear out the crib. If you spend ten minutes on Instagram, you’ll see the cutest nurseries with fancy-schmancy cribs filled with bumpers, blankets, and pillows. Don’t be tempted! The AAP recommends that your crib or bassinet contain only your baby and a tightly-fitting sheet. That’s it! Also beware of sleep positioners or cocoons, which aren’t approved or recommended for unsupervised sleep–especially in a crib.

5. Above all, safety first. When designing your nursery, remember that you’ll soon have a teeny, defenseless baby sleeping there. Avoid hanging heavy objects above the crib that could potentially fall and injure your little one. Equally important, ensure that the crib is far away from any window cords or tassels, which pose a very real strangulation risk.