One of the biggest purchases you’ll make in anticipation of your bundle of joy is the crib, which, as a pretty basic piece of furniture, doesn’t often inspire much excitement. But as something that will be taking up a lot of precious real estate, you want it to look good (in addition to keeping your little one safe at night, of course). To help you wade through the myriad options out there, we talked to 11 designers and design professionals about their recommendations for the best design-forward baby cribs for every budget. Here, their favorites.
Best classic cribs
For a no-frills, affordable crib that would look great with the rest of your home’s mid-century-modern décor, you really can’t beat Ikea’s Sniglar crib. “It’s the best deal out there,” says Britt Zunino of design firm Studio DB. “The all-natural finish has a Scandinavian vibe that’s perfect for gender-neutral nurseries.” It’s also interior designer Penelope August’s pick, and she likes it because it’s “inexpensive, basic, and can be dressed up with cute sheets.” Liz Libré and Lizzy Ott, co-founders of children’s-textiles company Lewis, agree. In fact, they use the Sniglar in all of their brand’s product photography and get asked all the time by customers where the crib is from. “Because a crib is something that’s so big and hulking in a room no matter what, this one looks minimalist and light and is really appealing.” Not only does it cost a very reasonable $80 and is constructed from solid beech, it can also adapt to your growing child’s needs. “You can take off a side for co-sleeping, lower the mattress for climbers, and convert it into a toddler bed,” says August, who got it for her older daughter. “We used it from the beginning, and three and a half years later, she is still using it as a toddler bed. In a few months, she will hand it down to her sister.”
If you’re looking for an upgrade of the Sniglar, Babyletto’s Gelato is a popular and not-so-expensive option. Keren Richter of The White Arrow has the Gelato for her daughter and says that you can’t go wrong with its classic design, which comes in a natural finish with white feet or a white finish with natural feet. “It gives me peace of mind that it has a nontoxic finish (all their products are ecofriendly) because our daughter has used it as her personal chew toy for the past year,” she says. The co-founders at Lewis like the Hudson, which has a thicker fame and mid-century-modern-inspired feet. It also comes in a range of color combinations and converts to a toddler bed, daybed, and a full-size bed with a separate conversion kit.
Considered by many designers as the platonic ideal of a crib, Kalon Studios’ Caravan Crib is made in Pennsylvania from solid American maple and features rounded edges and smooth, tapered legs that make it feel more like a piece of handcrafted furniture than a place for baby to sleep. “Kalon has perfect silhouettes in both their adult and nursery furniture,” according to Richter. “We’ve used their crib and divan for a recent project, and they fit seamlessly in calm and sophisticated nurseries.” Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. also loves the Caravan: “It comes in a variety of colors, but the raw American-maple finish is my favorite and feels both modern and timeless.” And although it’s expensive, it can transition as is into a toddler bed with or without walls and even into a small divan with a separate conversion kit. It also makes Zunino’s list of her go-to cribs, who likes its delicate legs and the “highly curated saturated colors,” with the fresh citrus hues being her favorite. [Editor’s note: I personally own this crib, and while it is certainly beautiful, I must caution that my husband and I had an incredibly difficult time assembling it, as many of the holes did not line up. We got it used, and the previous owners had the same problems.]
Oeuf’s Sparrow is another plain but design-y crib — thin spindles combine with thicker sides and flared feet to make it a little more interesting — in the vein of the Sniglar and Caravan, and it’s a favorite of Calico Wallpaper’s Nick Cope. “We love the simple lines and natural material used to make this crib — solid birch sourced through FSC Certified Forests and finishes that are free of VOC health hazards. This is important for the little ones,” he says. As with most of these cribs, it can convert to a toddler bed with a conversion kit.
Jenny Lind–style cribs — ones with turned wood spindles — are a popular choice for more traditional nurseries. Libré and Ott recommend the Rowan Valley Linden Standard Crib from Little Seeds, which still sports a streamlined look but with a little flair. It gives off a storybook-cottage vibe that would add warmth to any nursery without being too fussy.
Best nontraditional cribs
While most cribs are made from wood, they come in other materials, too, that are arguably easier to clean, like metal. Although metal frames can make a crib look a little cold, Libré and Ott found that Babyletto’s Bixby “is the only metal one that has a warm feeling and doesn’t look like a little baby jail.” A mid-century modern-inspired beech-wood base adds a nice touch to this crib that also converts into a toddler bed.
Acrylic coffee tables and lucite jewelry will always be cool, so why not consider an acrylic crib? Apparently Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé own this very one, an all-acrylic number from Nursery Works that is both completely extra and surprisingly subtle. It’s a favorite of Luisana Mendoza de Roccia, co-founder and president of Maisonette, who says that “the hand-crafted and laser-etched acrylic design is not only super-chic and minimalist, which is great for small spaces to open up a room, but it offers transparency, which makes it easy to check on your little one all day long.” Another perk is that it is made out of 100 percent recyclable nontoxic materials.
Want to dip your toes into the acrylic trend but afraid to go all-in? Try the Monroe Crib from Pottery Barn Kids, which features a classic white frame with clear acrylic feet. According to PR consultant Alisa Richter, “It’s really well constructed and has a sleek, minimal design that looks great zhushed up with colorful crib sheets.”
The Babyletto Palma is a bed that truly grows with your child — and can move with him to his first apartment as a full-size bed — thanks to its high headboard and dark walnut paneling that give it more heft than the other, airy-feeling cribs on this list. “Beyond its sleek and modern design, it transforms from a crib, to a toddler bed, a day bed, and even a full-size bed,” says Maisonette’s CEO and co-founder Sylvana Ward-Durrett. “This is the ultimate style-meets-function choice.”
If space is tight, try a mini-crib, which measures on average 24 inches wide and 38 inches long (a standard crib is about 28 inches wide and 52 inches long, for comparison). Mini-cribs often have wheels so that they can be easily moved, and some even fold up for storage, like this one from Babyletto that Zunino recommends. “I love the Babyletto Origami Mini-Crib for its compact size, wheels for portability, and fun color options,” she says. “It’s the perfect crib for a small nursery or if you’re sharing a room with your little one. The mini-crib folds flat too, which makes it ideal to have on hand for visiting babies.”
Babyletto’s Gelato also comes in a mini-crib version that’s slightly cheaper than the full-size one. It can also convert into a twin bed with a separate conversion kit.
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