The Closets in These 5 Small Nurseries Hold Way More Than Baby Clothes

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Almost every nursery has a past life. Before becoming bona fide babyland, it may have been a spare guest bedroom or an occasional office. Babies are tiny, so it would seem they don’t need that much space, but when you start counting all the things that come with a kid (a cradle, diapers, play mats, bouncers), you lose square footage fast. Incredibly, rather than too big, the room ends up feeling small. But what other choice do you have? Well, there is one: Just take the doors off the closet. 

Chances are, the room you’re considering turning into a nursery comes with a decent-size wardrobe that could hold much more than just itsy-bitsy clothes. Grab your toolbox, remove any unnecessary shelves, paint the interior, and suddenly you have a spot to stack wipes and onesies—or even a cozy nook for the crib. A few small nursery ideas for making (additional) space for baby: 

Choose One Standout Component

With no square footage to spare in her daughter Lucy’s seven-foot-wide nursery, Kim Vargo of Yellow Brick Home knew the closet would need to do double-duty as a changing area. But first she had to find the perfect-sized dresser. Once they saw this vintage piece at MegMade’s warehouse, the rest of the details—pale pink paint, DIY plywood shelves, a spot for the trash can—fell into place. It’s been five years since then, but the design hasn’t changed a bit. “As she grows older, I imagine her getting ready for the day around the dresser and (thrifted!) mirror,” says Vargo.

Kit It Out

Before Molly Madfis’s daughter Izzy arrived, the soon-to-be-nursery closet in their Los Angeles home was “basically just where we hid anything and everything,” the Almost Makes Perfect founder remembers. An off-the-shelf closet kit paired with a six-drawer dresser in a matching white finish—spruced up with oversize knobs and removable flower wall decals—transformed the space for a fraction of the cost of a custom setup. Izzy’s clothes, toys, books, and other baby gear are now a sweep of the linen curtains (see ya, cumbersome sliding doors) away.

Make It Match

After disconnecting the doors from the double-wide closet in her child’s room, pulling out the clothing rod, and painting everything white, Jen Hartford, founder of organic baby e-shop Noble Carriage, topped the interior shelf with storage baskets and blankets, adding a mini wood dowel for displaying cute outfits. 

Decorate It Like Any Other Space

Whitney Lee Morris of The Tiny Canal Cottage and her husband, Adam, had two options when mapping out their nursery: leave everything as is and rely on modular, rolling nursery components, or downsize their belongings and dedicate an existing space to their son. They chose the latter, sacrificing their clothes to squeeze a crib and narrow dresser into the master bedroom closet, not to mention a mobile, a piece of artwork, and multiple hanging baskets.

Bring On the Wallpaper 

In addition to some minor electrical work and a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling, designer Stefani Stein turned this quirky, sloped cubbyhole into a restful retreat by swathing the walls in a sweet cacti print. “Defining the niche made it a great focal point without overpowering the space,” says Stein. Floating shelves topped with toys above the crib make the nook even more purposeful. Hasta la vista, hinges.

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