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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

When it is time to ditch the crib and go from baby to big-boy or big-girl status, there are some essentials your toddler’s room will need. While it may be tempting to strip the room clean and start from scratch, these useful ideas will keep your budget low and you and your little one happy.

Skip the Baby Bed

Unless your crib converts into a toddler bed, skip the transitional bed your babe will soon grow out of anyway. Opt for a twin or double bed instead. The size difference may seem like a monumental move at the time, but it will grow on you. In the long run, choosing a full-size bed in the beginning will save you money, and your child can use it into his or her teenage years.

Tip: Attach a guardrail to the side of the bed to prevent falling. Also, children under age 6 shouldn’t sleep on the top of a bunk bed. After that, use your best judgment.

The Transitional Toddler

Children’s personalities and preferences are continually changing and forming into who they will become. Instead of redecorating the baby’s room into a toddler room, consider the future. Choose traditional designs for bedding or curtains so your child can use them for years without outgrowing the style or print. To avoid a potential juvenile ambiance, stick with stripes or nature motifs that can transition into every phase of your child’s life.

Tip: Functional and age-appropriate, wood blinds can subtly add style.

Decorating for a 3 Year-Old

Don’t think your baby has to grow up too soon. Use inexpensive decorative pieces to make the room age-appropriate, like bright paint, wall decals, stuffed animals and art work. A multi-colored rug or square-tiled carpet pieces can liven the room and give your son or daughter somewhere soft to land. ABC-stamped canvas and shelves lined with stuffed animals are simple ways to decorate for a young child without making a serious purchase or room modification.

Tip: Splurge a little if you find something your son or daughter would love, like a race car rug or princess lamp.

Treasure Storage (and Clothes, too)

Hopefully your child’s changing table can double as a dresser. If not, replace it with a quality wardrobe piece. Install built-in storage and clean out closet space to make room for books, toys, sports gear and treasures. An open dresser or horizontally-laying shelf can organize clothes, toys and shoes in baskets, giving your child easy access to the things they use most.

Tip: Easily teach your child organization by color-coding baskets or using picture labels to help her identify what goes where.

A Toy Rotation Station

With the abundance of toys that children have, it is easy to get overwhelmed and bored with the selection. Create a toy rotation system so every few weeks your child has something fresh and new to play with. They will look forward to the rotation and get the most use out of their toys while you are keeping the clutter under control.

Tip: Let him help you decide what can be stored, kept in rotation or donated. While the updates to his room can be a big change, the more he is involved the more he’ll be excited for this new stage.

Written by Julia Alvarez: A former grade school art teacher, Julia retired early to pursue a full-time career as an art critic, and now she’s living the dream, traveling to different cities every week to write about the latest shows and art openings. She wouldn’t changed her life now for all of the money in the world

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want the transition to big kid bed to go smoothly.