March 07, 2022 7 min read
It’s time to celebrate the small things! I’m happy for literally ANY reason to celebrate, especially if it involves designing and decorating a small nursery.
Let’s be honest here: the task of decorating your little one’s nursery is almost as exciting as the moment you found out you were expecting. We live for these moments as moms! The organizing. The color palette planning. The theme deciding. Each part of this process gives us butterflies in our stomachs. And then when we are finished, we get to throw our feet up in a beautiful space we created from pure love, and feel those butterflies turn into actual baby kicks.
Could anything be sweeter?
I think not. (Well, at least not until your new little love arrives.)
We have shared the trending llama nursery decor ideas in the past and it was a big hit, so today I wanted to switch things up a bit and focus on small nursery ideas.
Why am I so focused on small nursery decor ideas?
Think about it: typically your little one’s nursery is in the smallest and coziest room in your home. After all, your little one spent 9 months (or more!) living in your belly, we don’t want to overwhelm them. Nowadays, people are also opting to live in smaller spaces, so I wanted to share some of my favorite ways for you to still get the look and feel you want, for a space both you and your little one will be spending a lot of time in.
Before I jump into our small space nursery ideas, there are a few housekeeping things we need to go over. Before you sit down and get your plans out of your head and into the new room, you will be most successful with your outcome if you keep these things in mind:
Ok mamas, let’s jump into some fun small nursery ideas for your cozy spaces that you will love!
Identify the key ways you want to use your nursery, like for your baby to sleep, for feedings, for changings, for bedtime stories, or for playtime. If you’ve got room for all of it, you’re one lucky mama! If not, prioritize the functions your nursery must do, and start mapping out what goes where; starting with the crib, assuming you do want your baby to catch some zzz’s ;). Then figure out if any zones can overlap. For example, can your feeding area, or rocking chair, also be used as your book nook for those bedtime stories?
Multi-use products and furniture will be your saving grace when you are putting together a small nursery. Need a toy bin? Have it double as seating. Don’t have room for a dresser? Buy a crib that has drawers built in underneath it. Is there an ottoman you just have to have? Make sure it has storage inside. There are many functional pieces you can find that will be game-changers for your small space.
Like babies, cribs come in all sorts of sizes. Shop around until you find one that best fits the size of your space, or even skip it altogether. Bassinets can work for the first few months while you get a feel for what your nursery really needs, and what you can move out to make room for a bigger baby bed.
Bulky or overly ornate furniture can quickly overwhelm small spaces. Instead of big bulky pieces like dressers, gliders, or rockers, find options that are more petite and with straight clean lines. Those clean, simple lines will make your space appear bigger than it actually is.
I know. Gasp! Did she actually say that? I promise that any seasoned mama will let you in on the little secret that a changing pad (yes….the ones that come in every diaper bag you will ever own) can be placed on your bed, the floor over top a blanket, anywhere really, and serve the same purpose as a bulky changing table - especially if you don’t have room for it.
There is just no way around it: when you have a small space, you are forced to become a little bit of a neat freak. Embrace it and move on. Keep things organized, stored where they are meant to be, and make sure everything has its ‘home’ to keep your space free from chaos. As a bonus, as your child grows up watching you take care of their space, they will learn to practice those habits, too. At least until the teenage years.
As we all know, small spaces can get cluttered pretty quickly. Now, I’m not saying that you want to use the closet to shove in everything that might not have a place somewhere else in the nursery, but I am saying to pay special attention to how this space with a door can be used. Don’t forget to have storage and organization planned for that area of the nursery, too.
And speaking of doors, add over/behind the door storage to organize little items you'll collect like pacifiers, their clips, or burp cloths. A cloth or see-through shoe organizer might be just what you need. If your changing area is close to the door, it can become the perfect spot to stash diapers, wipes, and creams.
Baby clothes start off teeny, and anything that needs to hang is only going to take up a small amount of vertical space in the closet. Adding more rods can double the amount of hanging space in your closet. And even if you don’t have individual outfits you plan to hang, hanging organizers can help corral small items, or even toys.
Whether they’re small baskets that fit inside a cubby, or large baskets that hold toys or extra blankets, choose baskets that add texture to your nursery and that are pretty enough to stay out in plain sight.
This is so important. When you have a small space, the walls aren’t only to be used for decor purposes, but they become functional, too. Think about ways you can hang things; even pretty bags on hooks can be filled with lightweight toys or stuffed animals. And why stop at a small shelving unit; try one that goes from the floor to the ceiling to maximize every inch. High shelves also draw the eye upward, creating the illusion of more space.
Corners are great places to add extra storage. Corner shelving units can hold curated treasures, baskets of supplies, or books. You can also hang little hammocks in corners for plushes, blankets, or other soft items.
This one reminds me of old-time trains that our grandparents would run on ledges close to the ceiling (Christmas Story, anyone?). Install long floating shelves a foot or so from the ceiling to display old keepsakes or nostalgic pieces, and they’ll stay out of those not-so-gentle baby fingers too. The advantage with long shelves is that they create a less cluttered look compared to several smaller shelves adding up to the same length.
If you’re trying out those long, high shelves, a peg rail underneath can help maximize the space underneath. You can hang pictures, your favorite outfits, cute totes, even mirrors to make sure you’re getting the most out of every inch.
Tight spaces call for scrappy solutions, especially when it comes to any oddities or immovable features in your nursery. Built-in ledges or radiator covers can display knick-knacks or books, or recessed shelving or cabinets can add additional interest and storage to an otherwise awkward space.
Brighter colors can make a space appear larger, but if you are in love with a darker color scheme, my suggestion is to choose one accent wall to paint in the darker hue and deck the other three walls in white or something in a lighter palette.
Just because the space is small, doesn’t mean the design impact has to be! Layering a wall with deep, rich, colors and patterns can give your nursery a glamorous vibe. Repeat those same jewel tones in accent pieces and other curated items for a cohesive feel.
Instead of a floor lamp that you don’t have foot space for, or that your baby is going to continually knock over, try installing lighting at a higher level. Wall sconces on either side of the crib or a dresser, or a pretty overhead light can work wonders. If you have high ceilings, you could even try a dazzling chandelier for some extra sparkle.
Talk about a dual-purpose piece. As your baby grows, they’ll love to see and talk to their own reflection. And any light streaming into your nursery will bounce around with mirrors, giving your room a larger feel.
Whether it's your accent wall, a statement piece of furniture, a large wall hanging, or interesting shelving, having one place for the eye to focus helps to minimize any visual clutter or noise in your nursery.
Overall, the goal with these small space nursery ideas is to maximize the space that you have in the easiest ways possible. If you plan on taking milestone photos on your sweet babe, and I really, really hope you do, make sure to have a set of our milestone cards handy! They are double-sided, making them eco-friendly and space-saving, and will take you from pregnancy through your baby’s first year of life!
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