Changing Table vs. Dresser: Which is Better for a Baby?

Written by: Melissa Loehle

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Time to read 10 min

If you are a new parent or you’re expecting a new addition to your family, you may be looking at setting up a diaper changing station in your baby’s room. Dedicated changing tables and nursery drawer dressers are a great piece of furniture to set up your changing station, but choosing between them can be a headache.


Continue reading to learn the factors you need to consider when buying one of these baby essentials.  

Changing Table or Dresser?

Most parents today prefer the combo of a dresser with a changing pad or changing table topper over a standalone changing table.


Baby dressers are more versatile and practical, while changing tables only serve one function, and they become useless once your baby is consistently going on the potty chair. 


If you get a standalone changing table, you’ll still need some place to store your baby’s belongings. This makes baby dressers with a changing station a space-saving and cost-effective option for new parents.

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Most people find it easier to customize baby dressers to make them fit different decor styles, while changing tables can end up clashing with the rest of the room if you decide to change the theme of your nursery.


Dressers also offer more storage space, versatility and durability than a changing table. A dresser is a smart investment that will save you a lot of money and hassle in the future. 

Made with non-toxic and sustainable wood, The Dresser from Nurture& is safe for your baby’s nursery and gentle on the environment. You won’t have to worry about easy access storage space with the dresser’s extender panels. 

For added safety, Nurture&’s removable changing table topper has raised edges to help prevent baby from rolling, and the Organic Cotton Changing Pad is contoured to prevent baby from rolling, and equipped with a safety strap. It is also nontoxic, and 100% waterproof.

What to Look for in a Changing Table

Traditionally, baby changing tables have been considered essential items in any baby’s nursery. When buying a changing table for your little one’s room, there are some things you need to consider:

Safety and comfort

You need to make sure that your changing table is baby-safe. It should be sturdy, stable and secure. Some of them even include safety straps or belts ro prevent your baby from falling off. You also need to ensure that the changing table is safe for your back. They tend to be 36’’ to 42’’ tall to prevent you from crunching over the table.

Space

Choose a changing table that doesn’t take up too much room in your nursery. Some of them include shelves underneath to keep extra diapers and other baby gear at arms reach. These shelves should be easy to open and close so your baby isn’t at risk of falling while you’re usign them.

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Free-standing vs. wall-mounted

Free-standing changing tables are easy to store, they usually have height adjustability, and they can be used as bookshelves when you no longer need them. However, they take up too much space and are not very stable. Wall-mounted changing tables take up less space and tend to be sturdier, but you sacrifice height adjustability and there’s not much use for them when you no longer need them.

changing table

Most changing tables are free-standing, but some are mounted to cribs. You can also find a bassinet and changing station combo.

 

Changing tables function as a place to both change your baby and store items. Many come with a safety strap to keep your baby safe. Remember that even if you buckle your baby onto the changing station, it is never safe to leave them unattended.

Is It Worth Having a Changing Table?

If you have your heart set on a separate dresser and changing table, then it is worth it to have a changing table in your baby’s room.

 

However, it is not a necessity! If you would like to save space and money but still have a designated area to change your baby’s diapers, then a changing table-dresser – a dresser combined with a changing table topper and water-resistant changing pad—would be the perfect solution.

 

Consider utilizing the top drawer of the dresser for diapers, wipes and creams, or purchase a storage caddy that you can place within the changing topper for easy access.

When Do You Stop Using a Changing Table?

Changing tables are similar to bassinets, as their use does not extend past the early baby stages. Whereas a quality dresser will last your baby into childhood or beyond, most babies will outgrow a changing table before two years old.

 

You can use one as long as your baby is in diapers, if they still fit and meet the height and weight limits set by the manufacturer.

 

But once your baby is using the potty, there is no more need for a changing table. There may be better options out there for you and your little one. Portable changing mats bring convenience to changing not only when you’re on the go but at home too.

Changing Table Pros and Cons

A changing table is a piece of furniture designed to make diaper changing easy and comfortable for parents and babies. But is it really worth buying one? Let’s look at some pros and cons:

The Pros of a Changing Table:

●Convenience: A changer allows you to change your baby’s diaper at a comfortable height, without having to bend over or kneel on the floor. Some models even provide a bit of storage space for baby essentials, so you don’t have to run out looking for them while your baby is on the table.


Multiple styles: This piece of furniture can match your nursery decor. You can choose from various colors, materials and designs to suit your taste.

 

Safety: A changing table can help you avoid injuries by preventing your baby from rolling over with the safety straps and raised edges that some models have.

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"Gorgeous

Obsessed with this dresser. It’s absolutely gorgeous and has so much room! Also me and my partner are not exactly “handy” people so it was so convenient that it came assembled. Overall would highly recommend"


The Cons of a Changing Table:

●Expensive: Changing tables can be quite expensive depending on the brand, quality and added features. 

 

Takes up a lot of space: Changing tables are bulky and heavy items that require a dedicated space in the nursery. They are difficult to fit in small baby rooms, and they may limit the placement of other furniture or accesories.


Lack of longevity: This piece of baby furniture is designed for a specific purpose and age group. Once your baby outgrows diapers, a changing table becomes obsolete and you’ll need to get rid of it or think of ways to repurpose it.

 

Cluttered room: They can make your nursery look messier over time, especially if they have open shelves filled with baby items. Also, they may attract dust and germs since they can be hard to keep clean.

What to Look for in a Baby Dresser

Dressers offer many of the same benefits as a changing table: storage, a flat surface, and height. The average dresser is similar in height to a changing table, making it a great alternative for your changing station.

nurture& dresser

Can You Change a Baby on a Regular Dresser?

Yes! There are changing pad toppers and cute washable covers that you can purchase. Just remember to never leave your baby unattended during diaper changes, the same as with a changing table.

 

If you want something secure that will hold the removable changing pad in place, a changing table topper is the perfect solution. They are relatively affordable when compared to the price of a changing table, and provide at least a changing tray to hold the pad.

 

This one comes in white and natural wood and includes the designated space for the changing pad, as well as one for extra diapers and baby essentials too!

 

The top of the dresser provides a flat surface to place a changing mat or changing tray. A changing pad with a strap allows you to have a changing station that is both removable yet safe.

The drawer of a dresser offers a concealed storage space for your baby gear and extra diapers. Using a top drawer allows for easy access to diapering items. If you like the open shelves that come with changing tables, you can try a dresser like this one that has extendable sides to keep everything within arms reach.

 

Adding a water-resistant pad to a dresser turns it into a functional changing table, and arguably, one that is more convenient and multi-functional. A changing table topper paired with a changing pad creates a combo that is safe and saves your space from another piece of furniture.

 

Here is an organic cotton pad with a waterproof design that pairs seamlessly with this sustainable wood changing table topper.

 

For even more storage space you can add storage baskets and additional accessories that will make changing your little one as comfortable as possible.

 

The top of the dresser is multifunctional and can serve as a changing station in the early days, yet easily live on for years to come. The additional pieces needed for it to become a changing table-dresser are quite inexpensive and don’t take up a lot of space.

 

Choosing a high-quality dresser with extra storage options like extendable sides provides easy access to the baby gear you need quickly during diaper changing.

nursery furniture

Is It Safe to Use a Dresser As a Changing Table?

Yes! By adding a changing pad, you can turn any dresser into a baby changing table! Consider a removable changing topper and removable changing pads that can be placed on the top of the dresser to make a budget-friendly changing station while you need it, and still ensure your furniture will live on long after the diaper days are gone.

 

When your baby outgrows the changing pad, you can simply remove it without having to remove furniture from your baby’s room.

Baby Dresser Pros and Cons

As we mentioned earlier, it is helpful to weigh the pros and cons when deciding on a changing table vs dresser for your baby’s room.

dresser

The Pros of a Dresser with a Changing Pad:

●More storage. Using a dresser gives you the convenience of drawers for storing not only baby’s clothes and other gear, but also baby’s diapers and other diaper changing essentials. Utilizing a top drawer for extra diapers is a great idea, since it isn’t exposed like the open shelves of a typical changing table.

 

●Cost-effective. Instead of purchasing another piece of furniture, opting for a combo piece like a changing table-dresser—a dresser combined with a changing table topper and water-resistant changing pad—is still the less expensive option when it comes to furnishing your baby’s nursery.

 

●Longevity. Using a dresser as a changing station gives you an easily removable option for when your baby is potty trained and no longer needs diaper changing.

 

●Changing station is portable. A changing pad or a changing mat are two easily removable options for diaper changing that can be used in places other than the top of the dresser.

 

 ●Space saving. If you want to declutter your baby’s nursery, skipping the changing table and changing your baby’s diapers on top of a dresser is a great option to free up some floor space.

The Cons of a Dresser with a Changing Pad:

Storage. A dresser by itself does not offer the same kind of storage as having a separate changer. That being said, the storage space of a changing table is typically only open storage and useful for a single function—diaper changing.

 

●Designating a top drawer for extra diapers and changing station items for a couple of years is a small downside compared to the longevity of a dresser. If you are concerned about storage space but do not want a changing table, an item like Nurture&'s Storage Ottoman is a great way to add versatile nursery furniture to your baby’s room.

 

●Heavy and difficult to move. Dressers are bulkier nursery furniture that can not easily be moved around your baby’s room. However, a changing mat or changing pad are easily removable from the top of the dresser.

Shop the baby furniture essentials you need to care for your baby on Nurture&

Melissa Loehle

Melissa Loehle

Melissa Loehle is an Educator, Graduate Intern, Writer, and Mother. She has experience teaching children in general education, English as a foreign language, and speech pathology. She is a former kindergarten teacher and is currently completing her masters in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Baylor University. Melissa has taught English as a volunteer and online. She is a freelance writer and editor who loves to help educate others. Her favorite accomplishment is becoming a mother. She is the mother of two boys, ages four years old and five months old, as well as a dog mom to two mixed breed oddballs. She currently resides in Saratoga County, NY.