TIPS FOR CREATING A SMALL SPACE NURSERY
Zach and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment. So, when we found out I was pregnant and were planning out Eleanor’s nursery, we knew that she would go into our guest bedroom. However, we love hosting family and friends so we wanted to leave the guest bed in the room and design a small nursery into the existing space.
With this goal in mind, I started my dive into essential nursery registry items and started compiling a list of the basics we would need to care for her.
I know for many people, depending on their living or financial situation, a separate room dedicated to a baby nursery may not be possible. And yet, when people found out I was pregnant I constantly got questions asking if we were going to either buy a house or if we were going to move the bed out of the guest bedroom to accommodate her. I personally couldn’t understand the logic behind a baby needing their own room and received many strange looks when I would reply that her nursery would be put in our existing guest bedroom.
And maybe you’re in the same living or financial situation or subscribe to the same point of view: that your child does not need their own room and their nursery needs to be designed into your current space. But maybe you’re not sure how to plan or create a small space nursery.
I’ve got you. I spent so much time researching and creating a small space nursery as well as a minimalist nursery that I wanted to share my process and essential purchases with you.
THE ESSENTIALS NEEDED FOR A SMALL SPACE NURSERY:
PACK AND PLAY
Zach and I travel a lot. We love to visit family at least once a month if not more frequently, so we knew a pack and play would be a necessary purchase. However, we didn’t want to have to store it when not in use. I began researching the use of a traditional crib versus using a pack and play with a bassinet insert and it turns out that most pack and play bassinet inserts are safe for infant sleep. I chose the 4moms Breeze Plus Playard because we wanted a pack and play that was easy to setup and breakdown and the 4moms Breeze Plus Playard has a one-hand open and close. In addition, the infant bassinet insert was very large with a firm sleep surface and had mesh paneling which it made it safe for infant sleep. Eleanor has slept fantastically in it since day one of bringing her home from the hospital and we love that it serves a dual purpose at home and for travel.
For most of you reading this, putting a pack and play in your bedroom works well for your situation. However, we have a cat named Cleo who just so happens to be the cuddliest cat in all of kitty history. She loves to climb into small spaces or sleep on our faces, so we knew we needed Eleanor’s pack and play to be placed in a separate room with the door always closed. However, in those first few months of having a newborn there is a lot of getting in and out of bed for feeding, diaper changes, spit up cleanups and more. Therefore, we knew we needed a bedside sleeper for our master bedroom. To stay in line with safe sleep practices, we wanted to find a bassinet with mesh paneling for breathability but we also needed a netting or cover to keep Cleo out. That’s when I discovered the travel bassinet by ComfyBumpy. It fits perfectly right next to my side of the bed and I sleep peacefully knowing that it has both breathable sides and a mosquito net cover to keep our curious and cuddly kitty out. This bassinet also folds up easily for travel convenience!
PACK AND PLAY AND BASSINET ACCESSORIES
The only accessories that are needed for the pack and play and bedside bassinet are a waterproof mattress pad cover and 4-5 sets of fitted sheets. Many companies sell the accompanying accessories for their product, but no matter which pack and play or bedside bassinet you choose, I highly recommend having these essentials on hand. As long as the items are tight fitting you can use any brand. My favorites are these sheets by Elys & Co. They are incredibly soft, fit both our bassinet and pack and play mattresses, and a pack of 2 is only $20.00.
CHANGING TABLE OR DRESSER
Do you already own a dresser? Then don’t buy a changing table or new dresser for your small space nursery. A changing table is basically a glorified dresser so if you already have a furniture piece on hand, repurpose it for your baby’s nursery. I love the dresser we already had in the guest bedroom and I hated the idea of getting rid of it. So we emptied it out and lined all of the drawers. Then we plopped a changing pad on top and voile! a changing table was born.
Surprisingly, traditional changing pads have a lot of accessories. They require a few changing pad covers as well as absorbable urine pads to place on top in case your child decides to go the bathroom mid-change (trust me when I say this happens more than you think). I originally registered for this type of changing pad, but when I received all of the items and started thinking about where to store them in my small space nursery, I knew it wasn’t going to work well. So, I researched alternative changing pads and that’s when I decided on a foam and wipeable changing pad. There are no covers or urine pads needed since urine cannot absorb into the pad and it is completely wipeable or washable. There are a couple of different options for wipeable changing pads on the market, but I decided on the Bumbo Changing Pad. I highly recommend this changing pad and it has been such a dream being able to clean up messes hassle-free.
Now, a diaper pail may not be a necessity but it is a 10/10 on the convenience factor. With the number of diapers you will go through on a daily basis you’ll be glad that you don’t have to walk to the bathroom or kitchen to throw away a diaper and wipes after every diaper change. In addition, diaper pails are designed to trap in the smell unlike a traditional trash can. I chose the Dekor Classic Hands Free Diaper Pail because of the cost of the diaper pail bag inserts. The Dekor Classic Hands Free Diaper Pail is also unique in that the bag inserts are 990 feet of continuous use and they have a biodegradable bag option, which is a win-win!
When it comes to creating a small space nursery, the number one priority is maximizing storage options. Since Eleanor’s nursery was in our guest bedroom, we knew it was important to leave space for our guest’s clothing and items when they came to visit. We have managed to fit everything we need for Eleanor into her changing dresser, three under-bed storage bins, one drawer in the guest bathroom, a small corner of the guest room closet, and one drawer in our pantry. Finding or creating storage for your small space nursery is key to having a sustainable and efficient space.
Here is a breakdown of how we chose to store all of our small space nursery items:
- The changing dresser: the top drawer contains diapers, wipes, burp clothes and bibs. The second and third drawer contain all of her clothing. The very bottom drawer contains all of her blankets and swaddles.
- The under-bed storage: one under-bed storage bin contains extra wipes, bibs and accessories. The second under-bed storage bin contains clothing that she has either outgrown or doesn’t fit into yet. The third under-bed storage bins contains medical supplies.
- The guest room bathroom: when guests are not visiting, we keep her infant bathtub inside the tub. In addition, the top drawer of the guest bathroom vanity contains her bath supplies such a soaps, lotions and hygiene items. Her infant bath towels are hung on hooks behind the bathroom door.
- The guest room closet: a small corner of the guest room closet contains items we don’t use every day such as her baby carriers and slings, extra diapers and baby gear we will need for when she’s a little older.
- The kitchen pantry: within our kitchen pantry we have one drawer dedicated to her bottles and breastmilk storage bags.
STORAGE IDEAS FOR A SMALL SPACE NURSERY
When deciding on your storage options, think about how to utilize currently unused pockets of space within your current home. Can you store items under your bed or under the dresser? In nightstand or console drawers? In baskets or bins under the bathroom sink or in the linen closet? Not everything you need for you little one needs to be directly on hand so any back stock items that can be stored away will prevent your small space from looking cluttered.
AND THAT’S IT. THE ABOVE LIST IS TRULY EVERY ESSENTIAL ITEM YOU NEED TO CREATE A SMALL SPACE NURSERY.
If you were to go on the Internet or scroll through Pinterest, you’ll likely find beautiful photos of traditional baby nurseries. Traditional nurseries are typically an entire bedroom with a central theme and color scheme that contain multiple pieces of furniture and accessories.
When designing a small space nursery there does not need to be a theme or color scheme. Zach and I chose neutral colors and purchased white items so that they would blend well with the current guest bedroom decor. Your nursery will look more cohesive and calming if you coordinate it with your current decor instead of choosing a whole new theme or color scheme.
While certain items may be nice to have, they are not always logical or necessary for a small space. For instance, you do not need a glider or rocker for nursing your baby. Whenever it is time to feed Eleanor, I carry her out into our living room and sit in our wingback chair or on the couch. I use couch pillows to prop up my arms and then when she’s done eating I return her to her bassinet.
DESIGNING A SMALL SPACE NURSERY CAN BE EASY AND SIMPLE.
Just remember that whatever items or space you choose for your baby, your choices are the the best choices. You are the expert on your own family and living situation.
Do you have a small space nursery or are looking for ideas to design a small space nursery? Share your experience or thoughts below!
P.S. Have you read Eleanor’s birth story? Let’s just say it involved 1) non-traditional contractions 2) a toilet and 3) Zach and I delivering her into our hands. It’s a wild story and one for the books! Read about it here.
Disclosure: Some of these links are affiliate links which means when you click the link to purchase something on this page, it won’t cost you more but I may receive a commission for sharing this with you. But I would tell you about these items regardless, so it’s a win-win!