Mixing Style and Function in a Small Nursery


For such small human beings, babies take up a lot of space! Planning a nursery when you have limited square footage or a smaller room can be a challenge. But with careful planning and prioritizing, you can squeeze a lot of style and function into a small nursery. 

We are going to go over some ideas and considerations for your small space nursery so it serves you and your baby for years to come. 

Things to consider when designing a small nursery

It can be easy to get distracted and overwhelmed by all the adorable nursery decor available these days, especially if you’re welcoming your first baby! But nursery spaces need to be functional above all else. Your baby needs a safe, warm and dark place to sleep and nap; a clean and accessible changing area and a spot for cuddles and play. Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself before designing your baby’s room.

  • How long do you plan for your baby to be using this room?
  • Are there gender neutral elements you can use to anchor the space?
  • What do you need for light and practical function – like diaper pails and change table needs?
  • Will this baby eventually be sharing this space with another child?

Elements consider for style and function in a small nursery

  1. Use paint to elevate the ceiling and give a larger feel

One of the simplest, and least expensive ways to create a sense of space is to trick the eye using paint. If your nursery isn’t very large, consider painting the walls in a 2/3rds colour blocking pattern. 

Assuming your ceilings are a standard 8’, bring the room colour up to the 6’ mark and then finish the top of the wall and ceiling in a crisp white. Not only does this modernize the space, but it creates more visual impact.

2. Choose a timeless chandelier or light fixture

Light is a big consideration in a nursery. You want it to be bright enough for playtime and day time changing, but also have lots of different options for dimming the room appropriately. 

Picking a timeless ceiling light fixture is a smart move if you’re designing your nursery from scratch (or if you are updating an existing bedroom). 

In this case, it’s a beachy vibe small chandelier that will grow with the room, and the baby, overtime. 

Beyond the light fixture, you might also want to consider investing in pull-down black out shades and some light blocking curtain panels. These work well to keep the room dim for daytime naps. 

3. Invest in solid multi-purpose storage for toys and books

There are diapers, sheets, pillows, crib sets, change pads and then there are all the toys and books! You want to make sure you are leaving adequate space and organization in the nursery to add in more books and toys as your baby grows.

Repurposing a solid piece of furniture, like a dining hutch or cabinet, is a fun way to bring style into a nursery while also amping up storage and display. Here, we’ve lined the back of the hutch with a fun, gender neutral, peel and stick wallpaper to give it a little whimsy. 

The open storage on top is for stuffed toys and keepsakes and below, we can keep things like extra travel supplies, blankets and so on. 

4. Maximize closet space

You may have a small closet in your nursery and if so, you may want to consider sliding a dresser in if you can. 

Baby clothes are tiny and while some will hang on a clothes rod, most are best kept in drawers or in bins (especially for the first couple of years). 

Having a clothing rod for the special clothes and then a dresser tucked away in a closet can be a lifesaver when it comes to staying organized in a small space. 

5. Coordinating bins and baskets

Lastly, putting some thought into high quality bins and baskets will go a long way to keeping your nursery a functional space – especially into the toddler and preschool years. In the early days, bins under a change table can be used for toiletries and creams. 

As the baby grows, the bins can be swapped for shoes, socks or bath toys. Having a variety of sizes of bins and baskets will keep clutter at bay and give you more options for changing up the look of the room over time. 

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