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

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When shopping for your baby’s nursery, there are some baby furniture essentials that will definitely be on your list, like a crib, rocker or glider, dresser, and changing table.

But wait—do you really need a baby changing table? Not necessarily. If you want a more modern nursery, you can opt out of excess furniture with a combo, and let your dresser do double-duty!

Shop the baby furniture essentials you need to care for your baby on Nurture&. Click here to shop the dresser now.

What to Look for in a Changing Table

Changing tables have traditionally been considered a standard baby essential, but there are some better alternatives. You may decide that you do not have the space for another large piece of furniture, or that it isn’t worth buying one for such a relatively short period of time.

Before deciding, new parents may want to consider the ideal layout for their baby’s room. Check out these Nursery Design Tips to get an idea of how you’d like to set up your baby’s nursery!

Here are some facts to consider when deciding on a changing table for your baby’s nursery.

Changing tables tend to be 36” to 42” high. This height allows you to change your baby’s diapers without having to bend over much, if at all. They will typically come with a thin changing pad and a safety strap to buckle your baby in. The edges of a changing table are usually raised for an added safety factor.

Changing tables usually have open shelves to allow for easy access to diapers and other baby essentials. Having extra diapers and wipes within arms reach while changing your little one comes in handy.

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.

changing table

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

When making your decision, it is helpful to weigh the pros and cons of a changing table vs dresser. We have made a list of the pros and cons of a changing table here to help guide you in your decision.

The Pros of a Changing Table:

  • Convenience. A changing table provides a designated space for both diaper changing and storing baby essentials for diaper changes—like extra diapers, wipes, and diaper cream.

  • Multiple styles. There are many colors, finishes, and designs available when it comes to changing tables. Whatever your aesthetic and color scheme, you can find one to match the style of your baby’s nursery.

  • Safety. Changing tables almost always have side rails as an added protection method to help prevent your baby from rolling off of them. A quality changing table will be sturdy and well built. It should also include a safety strap to buckle your little one in for an added safety measure.

The Cons of a Changing Table:

  • Expensive. Whether you are looking at a free standing changing table, or a crib and changing table combo, it will add significantly to your baby furniture budget.

  • Takes up a lot of space. Between a crib, glider, dresser, and changing table, there is a lot of nursery furniture you need to fit into your baby’s room. Sticking to bare essentials, you will need somewhere for your baby to sleep and somewhere to store their clothing and other baby gear.

  • Lack of longevity. Just like a bassinet, changing tables serve a limited purpose during the early stages of a baby’s life. After the age of two the majority of parents will no longer need this piece of furniture in their baby’s room. Once your baby is potty trained there is not much else you can do with a designated changing station, so this may be one baby gear item you can live without.

  • Open shelving. Open shelves can look disorganized or messy over time. Most changing tables have shelves for their storage space, leading to another area that will need to be continuously organized for it to look presentable.

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.

nursery furniture

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.

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.


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.

Which Is Better?

Diaper changing is definitely something you will be doing a lot of as a new parent. In the newborn stage, your little one will need as many as 10 to 12 diaper changes per day! With all the time you will be spending changing diapers, you want to make sure you have a changing station set up that works for your family.

Most parents today prefer a dresser with a changing pad over a changing table. Using a dresser allows for flexibility and is both cost efficient and space saving.

Baby changing tables are built for one specific use. On the other hand, just like a convertible crib that grows with your baby, a dresser will evolve to fit your needs. A changing table will only serve its limited purpose, while a dresser with a changing pad has more utility.

Let’s be honest: you will not be venturing to baby’s room for every diaper change. Since you’ll end up changing your baby on a variety of surfaces, buying a standard dresser and equipping it with a changing pad will be more beneficial. Nurture&'s dresser brings even more convenience by arriving fully assembled.

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.

changing table dresser

In the debate of changing table vs dresser, the dresser comes out on top. A changing table dresser is cost-effective, safe, and practical. When creating your baby registry or your baby gear checklist, be sure to add a crib, glider or rocker, and dresser to your lists. Shop the nursery furniture essentials you need to care for your baby on Nurture&. Click here to shop the dresser now.

Nurture& was born out of a desire to create thoughtfully designed and premium quality nursery & kids products for modern parents. We’re here so that you can focus on your number one priority - making the beautiful big moments with your family and soaking in all the little ones in between.
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