Fixing Up the Nursery
From the man's point of view, one nice thing about fixing up the nursery is that you actually get to do something. For the father-to-be, so much of the pregnancy consists of waiting … and waiting … and waiting. Not much happens directly to you, and there is not a whole heckuva lot to do. The nursery gives you a chance to break out a can of paint and get your hands dirty.
What if my partner wants to do something I don't like?
Let her know, but give her an alternative. If you know you're having a boy, and she wants to paint the nursery pink, suggest that a more gender-neutral color, such as yellow or green, may be more appropriate. She will be more open to you if she doesn't feel criticized.
Many parents-to-be, of course, do not have a separate room for a nursery. They make do by using a portion of their own bedroom or another room. It may not be ideal, but it works just fine and the baby doesn't care one whit. He and all the gear related to him are basically going to take over your whole place anyway.
Reporting for Duty
It may be that you are an interior decorator at heart and have elaborate ideas on the colors and look of your baby's nursery. It is more likely, however, that you have not given this subject one thought in your entire life. Almost certainly, your partner will take the lead in this area, and you will follow. She will be the head designer and make the big decisions. You will be the laborer. So it goes.
Expect there to be several changes to her design scheme before she settles on a final look. She may want to sample different paint colors to see which ones she likes. She may want to call in outside consultants—her mother and friends—to help her with her decision-making process. She will likely ask you what you think.
For many women, putting together their child's nursery is a little like planning a wedding. They have certain ideas and expectations on how they want things to be, and these feelings are quite strong and will often manifest in their emotions.
While you may be willing to go along with your partner's design scheme for the nursery, the one area that you cannot be silent about is safety. The safety of your child's surroundings is your number-one consideration. It takes precedence over everything else.
Painting and fixing up the nursery is a good middle-trimester project, say around the sixth or seventh month. Paint the nursery well in advance of the baby's arrival—you want the room to air out completely before he has to sleep in it. You do not want him breathing harmful paint fumes.
Look around at the placement of the crib and the arrangement of furniture in the room. Do you see any potential hazards? If you live in an earthquake-prone area, do not place a heavy clothes dresser where it could fall over and hit the crib. Bolt it solidly to the wall. Also, do not place a bookshelf with lots of knickknacks above the crib for the same reason.