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Small Spaces, Big Ideas

My husband and I live in NYC with our three young children, and finding space for a growing family has its challenges. When our second son Graham was born, we converted part of our alcove dining room into a small, cozy nursery. To jazz up his room, we hung an over-sized mirror on one of the walls, and not only did it look great, but it created the illusion of a larger space. Instead of a bulky crib, we bought a crib, similar to the one pictured below, that is sleek with enough room underneath for additional storage space.

image from ELLE Decor

The nursery did not allow space for a changing table and a dresser, so we put a changing pad on top of the dresser. Easy. We installed wall-mounted shelves to store books and display mementos.

image from LIfamilies

My daughter Maeve has inherited Graham’s room, and the boys now share a room with bunk beds. In order to keep things organized and to create  more room on the floor for playtime, I got rid of the chest of drawers and had an elfa systems representative from The Container Store revamp the shared closet to create space for both Liam and Graham. They also installed drawers for clothes. Brilliant!

I’ve repurposed a Moroccan blanket box as a storage space for toys, and I used large canvas bins keep soccer balls together. With the extra space I freed up, there is even enough room for indoor hockey. No joke. Here are a few more suggestions to consider when designing a small space:

1. Alternative beds: A co-sleeper, mini crib, pack-n-play or bassinet works well and can be placed beside your bed for many months before the baby needs to be on their own. Whatever works!

2. Buy furniture that can grow: A convertible crib that can change into a toddler bed takes up less space than a twin bed.

3. Save floor space: Hang a laundry bag on a hook behind the door, and use lamps that can fit on a shelf or in my case a window ledge. Wall mount shelves. Save the floor space for playing.

Do you have any clever suggestions for maximizing small spaces? I’d love to hear them.


Monday 3rd of October 2011

Thank you, those are some great thoughts on saving precious floor space for playing with the kids.


Friday 23rd of September 2011

Love these ideas. Just found this site and do happy i did. I'll be back and I'm calling The Container Store now.

Lynn Sherry

Thursday 22nd of September 2011

Wow, elfa systems rocks. I wonder if having a closet like this would be appropriate for the master's bedroom.


Wednesday 21st of September 2011

Great article! Thank you for sharing these handy tips, I'll be trying some of them out soon.


Wednesday 21st of September 2011

Even the closet storage is beautiful. Come to my house please!!