When we were having our second child, I kept waiting for the nesting instinct to kick in. It never did. So this meant that when we brought the baby home, it was to a nursery that still looked a lot more like a guest room than a baby's room. To be fair, due to laziness on my part, the guest room always retained the childlike decor it came with when we bought the house because I figured we'd have kids eventually. But the furniture still included my grandmother's bed set, among other items, and we just moved the crib right in next to the twin.
I felt a little bad about that until a friend came to visit, and we needed to go to the baby's room. Before I could get out a half-hearted apology for the leftover furniture in there, my friend said admiringly, "Oh, you are so smart to leave the bed in here!" I was so startled I couldn't even ask what she meant but happily she went on. "This way, during those all-night eating sessions, you have a place to rest without disturbing the rest of the house!" And she was totally right. I'd never thought of it, and here it was the best suggestions she'd received from a friend.
The other unusual "best thing ever" was putting a chair-and-a-half in our older child's room. Pre-kids, we had purchased a sofabed and a coordinating chair-and-a-half. We really beat up the chair piece, and once the kids arrived, we needed a different setup downstairs. But our older son loved the big chair, and begged us to keep it. So we moved it up to his room. This has been the best chair for cuddles and snuggles and reading books ever. It's perfect for one parent and two kids (or one kid!) to have enough room for being together without turf struggles. The chair dominates the room but it's totally worth it. A place to read together as a family that we all love? That works for me!
For significantly more creative tips, go see Shannon's page. Happy new year!