Which Crib Style Is Best for Your Baby and Nursery?

Explore the Many Options in Baby Cribs

Your baby's crib is certainly the central piece of furniture in your nursery. Babies' cribs come in so many styles, shapes, designs, and colors—it's enough to make an indecisive parent's head spin. Have no fear, this run-down on the various options for your baby's crib will help you sort through the styles and find the best option for your baby and the layout of your nursery.

Overview of Your Crib Options

There are plenty of design styles available in baby's cribs.

  • Standard cribs
  • Convertible cribs
  • Round cribs
  • Sleigh cribs
  • Portable cribs
  • Crib and changer combo sets
  • Complete nursery sets

Differences in Wood Cribs

In the past, cribs were mostly made out of hardwoods. Hardwood seemed to be the preferred choice because they tend to be more durable and easier to stain or paint.

Cribs may be made out of any type of wood. The most common woods for cribs include maple, oak, cherry, ash, mahogany, birch, and beech.

Incidentally, there is also a modern trend of using pine to make baby cribs. Pine is typically a soft wood and can nick easily. If you love the look of pine, just be prepared that after use, it may not look as pretty as it did when you first got it.

Stains, Paints, and Finishes

These days, with the ability to find custom-made cribs, you can quite possibly find cribs in a variety of paint colors and finishes. Keep in mind that when a crib is identified as having a certain finish, say cherry, that doesn't necessarily mean it is made from cherry wood. It's quite possible it is simply stained with a cherry-like finish. Don't be deceived!

The Drop-Side Crib

For many of the past few years, drop-side cribs have been all the rage. Many parents found the ability to lower one set of rails very convenient and much friendlier to the back. However, the convenience simply isn't worth the cost, because several babies have lost their lives or received substantial injury from the design of the drop-side railings. In light of that, drop-side cribs have been banned since June 2011.

The Standard Crib

Parents hanging out next to their baby's crib
PhotoAlto/Ale Ventura/Getty Images

Generally, your standard crib is the most basic crib option on the market. What that means is it is a crib that fits the industry standard size for a crib mattress. More specifically, it often refers to cribs that have no other bells and whistles: it isn't a convertible crib, it doesn't have an attached changing table, etc.

Your standard crib is, well, just a crib. That being said, sometimes manufacturers do lump convertible cribs into that mix, but technically those aren't standard cribs.

The Cost

More than likely, you'll find that your least expensive cribs are usually standard cribs. You can generally find them for around $100. 

Now that doesn't mean that all standard cribs are cheap. You certainly can find a broad range of standard cribs for a mid-price budget or even luxury cribs that can cost you more than $1000.

Benefits

Convertible cribs certainly have become popular, but not every parent is wooed by the transforming design that allows you to turn your crib into a toddler bed, daybed, bench, or double bed. Why not, you may ask?

There are a couple of reasons. For one, parents who plan on having a second child may know that they are going to need the crib sometime soon. Two, depending on the cost of the crib, the wood can get fairly dinged up from constant use (not to mention bite marks from teething toddlers). And three, some parents like the idea of having nursery furniture that is distinctly "for baby."

The Convertible Crib

Convertible crib
Image via Amazon

No doubt, you'll likely run into the convertible crib more than any other style. The option has a lot of appeal to parents who are looking for furniture that will last not just for the baby and toddler years, but beyond.

Convert Into...

Depending on the model, convertible cribs can transform into many other pieces of furniture. Combinations can include any of the following:

  • Crib
  • Toddler bed
  • Daybed (essentially the toddler bed without the toddler rail)
  • Bench
  • Single bed
  • Double bed

If you see the distinction "2-in-1," that means that the convertible bed has 2 purposes (generally a crib/toddler bed). Likewise, "3-in-1" will offer 3 purposes, and so on. This re-purposing of the crib can be a very economical purchase and save you the hassle of upgrading to toddler beds and full-size beds later on down the road.

The Drawbacks

Not every parent will be so keen on the convertible crib. While these can be a great option for parents looking for frugal baby tips, there are some things to be aware of with this design.

  • Some cribs are made from softer woods, and because of that, they can ding up easily as belt buckles and jean buttons bang against the side of the crib as you lift your baby out. Additionally, babies do like to chew as they teeth, so don't be surprised if your crib starts looking rather used very early on.
  • If you don't buy your crib as a complete set along with other dressers, it can be difficult to match the wood finish. As your child grows and needs more pieces of furniture, it may not blend in so well.
  • If you have a second child shortly after your first, you'll need to buy a second crib as well.

The Round Crib

Round crib
Image Via Amazon

More than likely, if you've got your eye on a round crib, it is primarily because you like the look of it. Round cribs are certainly unique and can be designed with anything from a modern to a classic look, complete with posters and canopies. However, these cribs may not be the most practical choice for your nursery.

Additional Expenses

A round crib requires round accessories. You'll need to be on the hunt for a round mattress, round crib bedding, and round bumpers. These supplies are typically more expensive than your standard crib bedding and sheets.

Space Concerns

Additionally, round cribs are going to waste more floor space in the nursery. If you have a nice big room, then perhaps that isn't a concern for you. However, if you need to be mindful of space constraints, stick with a traditionally sized crib that can fit more snugly in the room.

A Hard Resell

If you are going to cling to your crib has an heirloom (bearing in mind that using an antique crib is not recommended), then the resell value of your crib isn't going to matter. But, if you want to eventually resell your crib, having a round crib may make it a harder sell.

Round cribs don't appeal to a majority of parents. Many prefer the practicality of convertible cribs.

The Sleigh Crib

The Storkcraft Aspen Sleigh Crib is also a convertible crib.
Storkcraft

Sleigh-style bedroom furniture has become increasingly popular. These bedroom pieces are designed to look like a sleigh. As a result, they have a quaint appeal. Like round cribs, the unique style does come with some drawbacks, however.

The Downsides

It all depends on what sleigh crib you have your heart set on, but you might find that sleigh cribs are slightly more expensive than other models and styles. The reason? A majority of sleigh cribs are made with solid headboards and footboards, rather than slats. These solid pieces of wood drive up the cost.

Another problem with the solid head and footboards is that it makes tightly securing crib bumpers to the crib impossible. However, with more and more medical and child's welfare communities noting the dangers of crib bumpers, this may be a moot point for you anyway. Instead, you could opt for alternatives to crib bumpers. Check out Go Mama Go Designs for Wonder Bumpers that would work with sleigh cribs.

Convertible

The good news is that you can find sleigh cribs that are also convertible cribs. So, if you are looking to stretch your dollars while maintaining the captivating appeal of a sleigh crib, you can.

A Word From Verywell

Choosing a baby crib is a big decision and it's important to consider the pros and cons of all of your options. Keep in mind that your baby's safety is more important than anything else, so it's a good idea to research any crib you're considering very well.