When my husband and I moved across the country, going from a large condo to a small studio apartment, we knew we’d have to downsize a little. But when we found out we were expecting a baby, we were overwhelmed by the idea of sharing such a small space with a newborn.
Luckily, by diving into Instagram for nursery ideas, I’ve since learned that there are tons of great ways to fit everything you need—and the baby—into a small space.
So, whether you live in a tiny home, a small one-bedroom, or even a studio, here are some pro tips for making your small home functional for life with a baby.
1. Get smart with your changing table
When living in a small space, it’s important to be mindful of the furniture you buy. So when it comes to a changing table, many parents who live in small spaces choose to skip it all together.
The truth is, you probably don’t need a specific spot to change the baby. In fact, sometimes it’s easier to put down a mat and change a baby on the bathroom counter (conveniently close to a sink) or to simply switch out that dirty diaper on the carpet.
However, if you still like the idea of a changing space, consider placing a changing station on top of an existing dresser. It’s a space-saving compromise that gives you the benefit of a dedicated changing space, without taking up extra room.
Still not good enough? If you are dedicated to the idea of a true changing table, choose one that has lots of storage. Make sure the drawers can fit all of the baby’s clothes, shoes, diapers, and wipes. If the table is going to take up space, at least you can make it count.
2. Transform a wide, shallow closet into a perfect sleeping spot
You may not have loved your shallow closet before, but if you’re expecting a baby, that space could be your new best friend.
Once you take the door off that long, shallow closet, there may be just enough room for a crib or changing table. Plus, there is lots of room for storage for all those cute little clothes.
Get fancy by painting the interior of the closet, adding soft decor, and putting up lots of cute decorations.
3. Use your shoe organizers in a new way
One good thing about baby clothes and accessories is that they’re small.
You might get an overwhelming number of onesies at the baby shower, but you can still fit a whole week’s worth of the baby’s clothes in a purse. That’s why shoe organizers are perfect for organizing baby clothes. One under-the-bed shoe organizer can hold your baby’s entire wardrobe, plus plenty of diapers.
I love the behind-the-closet organizer because it keeps everything organized and easy to reach, but it’s hidden from guests. It’s perfect for rolled-up blankets, swaddles, and neatly folded outfits.
Even the long shoe organizers that hang from closet rods are perfect for storing easy-reach diapers. Plus, when you’ve got your hands full, it’s nice to not have to deal with opening and closing drawers to grab a diaper, and it’s nice to not have to worry about hanging up each of your baby’s tops.
4. Store your baby’s toys on floating shelves
Most of the time, people save wall space for photos or wall hangings, but when every inch counts, it’s important to use that space. Floating shelves can be a great way to store toys when the baby isn’t playing with them and a perfect place to display books. Add a bit of greenery, and the shelves will look more like a statement piece than a storage solution.
5. Functional, not cluttered, decorations
One of the hardest things about living in a small space with a baby is trying not to go overboard buying baby stuff.
Friends and family love buying presents for babies, so you may find your home overflowing with toys. One thing you can do is to think of storage solutions as decoration. You don’t need another bunny stuffed animal if you have a basket covered in pictures of bunnies. You don’t need another floral blanket if you paint flowers on the side of your baby’s crib or changing table.
Another key is to not let yourself become a part of the problem.
When you go to select items for your baby registry, choose things by how functional they are, not their cuteness. When friends and family ask what they can get the baby, give them a list of must-haves (e.g., diapers and wipes), plus organizational things you’ll need (e.g., storage baskets with cute animals and pastel-colored organizers).