8 Small Nursery Ideas That Make the Most of Every Square Inch
The walls are your best friends.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:47 AM
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Our favorite small nurseries come in the form of reimagined closets, guest rooms, and offices. These tiny spaces are surprisingly up to the task—as long as you figure out where to put all the furniture, toys, clothes, and diapers that come with an infant. When you’ve got roughly 100 square feet of wiggle room, you have to think outside the box.
The one thing all these mini babylands have in common: They expand the possibilities of four walls. Want to squeeze in a bassinet? Pull the doors off the closet. Struggling to find a spot for blankets? Take the shelving up to the ceiling. These eight innovative small nursery ideas will leave room to grow, right along with your little one.
A Streamlined Storage Unit
Refinery29 cofounder Christene Barberich had a mere 8-by-12 feet of space to play with when she and her husband, architect Kevin Baxter, designed their little girl’s room. Instead of assembling a smattering of small furnishings (they would have made the nursery feel cluttered), the couple built a floating wall unit complete with a changing table and mini closet. With a few structural tweaks, the set of drawers and doors can adapt as their daughter grows.
A Closet Nook
If you just need more room to spread out, here’s an idea: Take the doors off a closet. Designer Stefani Stein transformed this quirky cubbyhole into a restful retreat by covering the now-exposed walls in a cacti print. She even added floating shelves above the crib to make the area feel more intentional.
A Tippy-Top Shelf
Domino‘s executive editor, Alex Redgrave, installed a wide shelf high above a dresser–turned–changing station to create extra storage in her teeny Brooklyn nursery. Everyday items like wipes go in the drawers, while the ledge is designated for large baskets that hold seasonal clothing (for both the baby and parents!), so they’re out of sight and out of mind until the seasons change.
An Adult-Friendly Layout
What was once a guest room in yoga instructor and holistic health expert Jessie De Lowe’s Los Angeles home is now a place for mom, dad, and baby. (De Lowe and her husband’s bed is on one end of the room, and their daughter’s crib, dresser, hamper, and toys are on the other). She designated the separate zone with a shag rug and an extra-long dresser that spans almost the entire width of the wall. Hanging baskets filled with blankets and stuffed animals helps to keep the floor clear of clutter.
A Breezy Corner
Rockers have a tendency to skew clunky and oversized. Veronique Nguyen and her husband, Ben, went a different route with their Brooklyn nursery: a cane piece with slim arms and legs that doesn’t take up too much space, physically or visually.
A Step Up
Graphic designer and illustrator Marie Willumsen’s answer to apartment living with a baby is a lofted bed. Down below is a full-on nursery, complete with a crib and credenza. Up top, there’s plenty of room for her little one to grow into a twin bed once the tot is ready to climb the stairs.
A Patterned Paradise
You might expect filling a small space with vibrant color and playful prints would make it feel even more cramped, but these bold additions have just the opposite effect. Take it from Justina Blakeney’s friend-cum-client Kim Muroff’s nursery. Blakeney accentuated the height of the 10-by-11-foot space by covering the wall behind the crib with an intricate mural. Accent lighting and a large round mirror further the illusion.
A Curtain Divider
While removing the doors of a closet didn’t technically add space to Mix and Match Design founder Chaney Widmer’s nursery, it makes the niche feel much bigger. Widmer plans to keep the curtains open most of the time, which meant the inside had to look put-together. She painted the walls a soft blue, mounted the fabric on handsome brass tension rods, and put bins on the simple Target shelving unit to hide the less-than-pretty items. See? Square footage is nothing but a number.
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