Published on September 22, 2019

Almost every nursery has a past life. Before becoming bona fide babyland, it may have been a spare guest bedroom or an occasional office. Babies are tiny, so it would seem they don’t need that much space, but when you start counting all the things that come with a kid (a cradle, diapers, play mats, bouncers), you lose square footage fast. Incredibly, rather than too big, the room ends up feeling small. But what other choice do you have?

Well, one alternative is to pick up and move to a larger home. It’s costly and dramatic, but efficient. Or you could stay put, knock down a few walls, and expand your living area, though a major disruption is hard to justify when you’ve got so much else going on. Or here’s a thought: Just take the doors off the closet. 

Chances are, the room you’re considering turning into a nursery comes with a decent-size wardrobe that’s only ever really used for out-of-season clothes or as a makeshift filing cabinet. Grab your toolbox, remove any unnecessary shelves, paint the interior, and suddenly you have a cozy nook for the crib or a spot to stack wipes and onesies. A few ideas for making (additional) space for baby: 

Carve Out the Ultimate Changing Station 

changing table in an aclove witha shelf of clohtes abovePin It
Design by Noble Carriage. photography by Rico Castillero for Noble Carriage

After disconnecting the doors from the double-wide closet in her child’s room, pulling out the clothing rod, and painting everything white, Jen Hartford, founder of organic baby e-shop Noble Carriage, topped the interior shelf with storage baskets and blankets, adding a mini wood dowel for displaying cute outfits. 

Decorate It Like Any Other Space

a crib and dresser inside of a closet with lots of plants and mirrors around itPin It
photography courtesy of whitney leigh morris of tiny canal cottage

Whitney Lee Morris of The Tiny Canal Cottage and her husband, Adam, had two options when mapping out their nursery: leave everything as is and rely on modular, rolling nursery components, or downsize their belongings and dedicate an existing space to their son. They chose the latter, sacrificing their clothes to squeeze a crib and narrow dresser into the master bedroom closet, not to mention a mobile, a piece of artwork, and multiple hanging baskets.

Bring On the Wallpaper 

sloped white ceiling over a wallpapered nook wiht a crib in itPin It
photography by tessa neustadt

In addition to some minor electrical work and a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling, designer Stefani Stein turned this quirky, sloped cubbyhole into a restful retreat by swathing the walls in a sweet cacti print. “Defining the niche made it a great focal point without overpowering the space,” says Stein. Floating shelves topped with toys above the crib make the nook even more purposeful. Hasta la vista, hinges.

See more stories like this: 
A Cool, Contemporary Nursery That’s Not Afraid of a Little Neon
This Bright and Beautiful Bedroom Steers Clear of Kids’ Rooms Clichés
9 Nursery Essentials That Will Grow With Them