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Design inspiration and ideas for your baby's nursery from our nursery design experts.

Great Design Tips for a Small Nursery

By Nicole van der Hulst

From choosing a theme to picking out furniture, nursery decorating is one of the great joys of parents-to-be. But, if you're tight on space, creating the nursery you've always dreamed of could be a bit of a challenge. You'll soon find out firsthand that one tiny little baby takes up a lot of room. And, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to find a spot for everything, including the baby! Not to worry with a little determination and ingenuity, you'll be able to free up room and make your baby's living space, well, more livable. Keep in mind that your baby's safety is always a top priority, so be sure to purchase furniture and equipment that meet current safety standards. And, remember to always have measurements on hand so you can easily determine if a piece of furniture will fit into your smaller nursery.

Nursery Decorating Quick Tips:

Perfect Pairs - Two pieces of furniture in one

  • Dressers that double as a changing table
  • Cribs with a storage drawer below
  • Crib & Changer Combos
  • Armoires that transform into a media center
  • Cubby benches that offer seating and storage

Optical Illusions - Visually enhance the size of a room

Lighter colors make a room appear larger, while darker colors make a space look closed in. If you really want to add a darker hue, opt to paint only one wall in that shade. If you decide to use window treatments, hang drapery panels as high as possible above the window to make the ceilings appear higher.

Clutter Control - Out of sight, out of mind

Get rid of anything that's unnecessary – clutter can make a room look even smaller than it is. Keep wall art at a minimum, and neatly corral toys in bins or out of sight in the closet. Still short on space? Consider rotating clothes and toys, utilizing another part of the home for storing excess items. Or, better yet, have a garage sale!

Cribs for Smaller Spaces

Crib & Changer Combos - Crib and changer combos can really save space, and are the easiest way to add the two most essential furnishings to your baby's nursery. Some of the changers can even be detached from the crib so it can later be used as a free standing storage unit.

Co-Sleeper - If you decide to bunk with your baby, a co-sleeper is a wonderful option. Co-sleepers attach directly to your bed and are open on one side. The unique design acts as a protected extension of your bed, so you can nurse and tend to your baby without getting up, bending, or lifting. And, most co-sleepers convert to a play yard, giving you two useful pieces of equipment in one design.

Portable Crib - Smaller, compact, and oh-so portable, this type of crib folds up in an instant so you can clear the way for play space during the day. Best of all, it travels well – use it for overnight trips to Grandma's or as a home away from home when traveling.

Mini Crib - The perfect fit for smaller spaces, the mini crib offers all the same comforts of a standard-size crib on a smaller scale.

Standard Full Size Crib - Even if space is tight, many standard-size cribs will still fit. The key is to find a style that's a bit more streamlined – like a Jenny Lind – that doesn't take up as much room (physically or visually) as some of the more heavy-looking designs.

Changing Tables for Smaller Nurseries

Detachable Changing Station - Many cribs can accommodate a changing station that attaches easily across the width of the crib. When not in use, you can slide it under the crib.

Changing Tray or Pad - A changing tray can be secured on top of virtually any dresser and includes compartments to store all of your diapering essentials. A changing pad works just as well – simply use one of the dresser drawers to hold supplies.

Corner Diaper Changing Table - With a smaller footprint than a standard changing table, a corner diaper changing table takes up less floor space (it fits in the corner of a room) but still offers all the same convenient features of a standard changer. And, it allows you to change your baby at a much more comfortable angle, with feet facing toward you!

Changer/Dresser - This combo pairs two hardworking pieces of furniture in one space-saving design. You'll have plenty of room for all of your baby's essentials, plus a convenient spot for diaper changes. Best of all, when your diapering days are over, the changer can be easily removed from the dresser.

Bookcases and Shelves for Smaller Rooms

Bookcases - A bookcase provides all sorts of storage solutions, from the obvious (books) to the not so obvious (toys organized in baskets). Be sure to measure your space, and remember that taller units take up less floor space than those that are wider.

Wall Shelves - Get creative with nursery decorating while having fun with unused wall space. Use a few shelves for displaying photos and keepsakes. Or, pair multiple shelves together to create a library of treasured books.

Corner Shelving - Let's face it. Most corners in a room get completely ignored! Take advantage of this unused space by filling it with a corner shelf. Shelves can hold everything from keepsakes to baskets sized for essentials like pacifiers, ointments, and teething toys.

Closet Shelving or Dresser - Make your closet work smarter by doubling your storage space with the addition of organizational components and shelving. If there's room, you could even add a dresser inside.

Recommended Products:

Badger Basket Diaper Corner Changing Table in White
Badger Basket Diaper Corner Changing Table in White
DaVinci Kalani 3 in 1 Convertible Crib and Changer Combo in Espresso
DaVinci Kalani 3 in 1 Convertible Crib and Changer Combo in Espresso
DaVinci Annabelle 2 in 1 Mini Convertible Crib in White
DaVinci Annabelle 2 in 1 Mini Convertible Crib in White
Angel Line Sleigh Changing Table w/Drawer in Natural
Angel Line Sleigh Changing Table w/Drawer in Natural
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