Creating A Nursery When You’re In A Small Space

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(image: Denise Roos)

No room for a nursery? No problem! These tips can help you turn your tiny space into the perfect cozy nursery for your little one.


When a new baby is on the way, creating the nursery is one of the fun things on the long to-do list. But what if you live in a tiny house or small apartment, and you have no room for a nursery? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to create a nursery when space is at a precious premium.

One of the most important steps is to adopt the “make it work” mindset. It might seem impossible at the start, but with the right attitude, you will find that almost anything can fit into a small house or apartment. It’s just a matter of changing your view of what you truly “need” versus what you want. It’s also a matter of looking at those traditional “must-haves” and making them more creative and space-friendly.

Making the most of what you already have

Start by looking around your house for things that will do double-duty. Do you have a closet that can turn into a sleeping nook? If so, look for a smaller profile crib that will fit in the space.

Do you really long for a changing table? Though they are not a necessity, you can create a great changing table out of your low-profile, wide dresser. Speaking of storage areas, look for anything that you haven’t yet used, such as the space underneath the bed, and add rolling storage boxes to hold everything from tiny baby socks to diapers.

A new roommate

Many parents choose to have their newborn sleep in the same room, for a variety of reasons — including limited space. If that’s the case for you, make sure you still have “your” space, too.

You can do this by putting the crib or bassinet in one corner of the room, and using gauzy curtains to separate your room from the “nursery.” It gives you a bit of separation while still ensuring that your baby is right there with you.

dad and newborn

Closet reshuffle

Then take a good look at your closets. Most closets have ample space, and we use it all up. In a tiny home, seasonal switching of clothing is one way to keep things streamlined, but things get even more creative when baby is on the way.

Consider moving the main bar down a foot or so, and putting a new bar above it. The bar on the top is for baby clothes, while your clothes are still on the bottom. Moving that top bar down still gives you plenty of clearance between the floor and your clothes, but makes use of closet space you might not have considered before.

Creative new moves to make it work

Who doesn’t want to celebrate the new baby with a few new things? When you do indulge, make sure to choose things that do double-duty. Here are a few baby decor tips to keep in mind:

  1. Choose functional decorative pieces. Want to give your baby a pretty wall-hanging with his or her name on it? Make it one of those fun wooden pieces that has hooks for their cute clothes. Want to create more room where there was none? Replace that old TV stand with a dresser that gives you plenty of drawers (and still holds the television quite nicely, too).
  2. Opt for a Murphy-bed changing table. If you must have a changing table, make it one that folds away when you aren’t using it — which means it is hidden most of the time. A simple Murphy-style changing table can fit right against the wall (or just inside it, depending upon how handy you are). As an alternative, go with a stand-alone folding changing table that can be tucked behind a dresser when not in use.
  3. Look for vertical space-savers. Rather than put all the baby things under the bed, under the crib or on shelves, look for vertical solutions. Space-savers that attach to the wall, like those that are used in showers or in the kitchen, can hold a variety of lightweight things such as diapers, tubes of lotion and stuffed animal toys. Attach one of these inside the front corner of the closet and those sundries are hidden away, too.
  4. Ditch the hamper. Babies go through a lot of clothes. Rather than let them pile up in a hamper, opt for a hanging bag that will hold all of those ready for the wash. When it’s time to do laundry, simply take down the bag and carry it with you. If you have a washer in your house, you could skip all of this completely and simply throw the clothes directly into the washer, then start a load when it gets full.

Other baby space saving ideas and the future!

As the baby gets older, there are plenty of other space-saving tips that go from the nursery to the rest of the house, such as the use of smaller-profile high chairs, folding strollers that are lightweight enough to hang on a hook just inside the door, and toy hammocks to keep those stuffed animals off the floor.

Start now by creating the nursery that isn’t really a nursery. You will find that baby still has everything he or she needs, and besides that, you save a great deal of money and space.


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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.