8 Small Nursery Ideas That Make the Most of Every Square Inch

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baby clothes hanging in an over the door shoe rack on the door
Photography by Hannah Pobar; Design by Andi Teggart

Our favorite small nurseries come in the form of reimagined closets, guest rooms, and offices. These tiny spaces are surprisingly up to the taskas long as you figure out where to put all the furniture, toys, clothes, and diapers that come with an infant. When youve 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

different colored built in shelving wall unit
Photography by Jessica Antola; Design by Christene Barberich

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 girls 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

small nursery nook with a crib and cactus wallpaper print
Photography by Tessa Neustadt; Design by Stefani Stein

If you just need more room to spread out, heres 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

yellow wallpaper accent wall over the changing station
Photography by Cody Guilfoyle; Design by Alex Redgrave

Dominos executive editor, Alex Redgrave, installed a wide shelf high above a dresserturnedchanging 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 theyre out of sight and out of mind until the seasons change.

An Adult-Friendly Layout

boho chic nursery with a shag rug
Photography by Dustin Walker; Design by Lauren & Wolf

What was once a guest room in yoga instructor and holistic health expert Jessie De Lowes Los Angeles home is now a place for mom, dad, and baby. (De Lowe and her husbands bed is on one end of the room, and their daughters 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

scandinavian rocker with wood crib and large window
Photography by Heather Moore; Design by Veronique Nguyen

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 doesnt take up too much space, physically or visually.

A Step Up

built in wood steps over a crib
Photography and Design by Marie Willumsen

Graphic designer and illustrator Marie Willumsens 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, theres 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

white changing station with two large lamps that look like eggs
Photography and Design by Justina Blakeney

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 Blakeneys friend-cum-client Kim Muroffs 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

small closet with baby clothes and a curtian drawn back
Photography and Design by Mix and Match Desgin

While removing the doors of a closet didnt technically add space to Mix and Match Design founder Chaney Widmers 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.

See more stories like this:
A Cool, Contemporary Nursery Thats Not Afraid of a Little Neon
Nurseries Are the Best Places to Experiment With Design
The What Color Should We Paint the Nursery? Dilemma Ends Here

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