Living small is full of challenges and frustrations, but
living with less doesn’t have to mean living less cool. In fact, after looking over these innovative products and savvy ideas, you may just wish you had an even smaller space to make the most of.
This German design team has taken the convertible crib and turned it on its head. The “Rocky” starts out as a crib–rocking chair combo, then flips over to create a cool toddler bed with a built-in rail. It can also be modified again to ditch the rail altogether.
This Brooklyn-based company is all about sustainable design for small spaces. Their “Dumbo Storage Bed” is a great example of their approach to multi-functional furniture. Not only is it a sweet loft bed, but it also serves as a closet and shelf for books and toys.
Is floor space a big issue in your small home? Casa Kids has you covered. Their “Tuck Bed" version of a Murphy bed takes up only 13¾ inches of floor space when folded up. A magnetized panel and chalkboard or whiteboard on the underside of the bed adds a creative space to the room when the bed is not in use.
The Ferneys had both their children while living in a one-bedroom apartment in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. To make due until they could afford a place with more space, they turned a closet into a teeny nursery for two, building their own toddler bed to fit the space and tapping a woodworker friend to hack an Ikea crib and mount it to the wall. Details and more photos can be found at
Oh Happy Day.
If a closet nursery isn’t your thing — but you still don’t have room for a big, airy nursery room — why not put the crib in the air? Hanging cribs are the stuff of childhood dreams, and they can free up a lot of space. Both the “Noah” crib by VanJoost and
“The Roll” by Woodly are chic examples of airborne beds for baby.
Mini cribs, such as Alma’s Bloom Mini Urban Crib — which is stylishly compact and folds up easily when not in use — are wonderful assets for cramped quarters. Jennifer Planeta swears by the family’s mini crib, which fit easily in the master bedroom.
Talk about furniture that can grow with your kids: The Adensen SmartKids line includes a set that changes from a crib/changing table/storage drawers to a bigger bed with a desk, an easel and book storage. The crib can even double as a playpen!
When facing tough financial times, Carmella Rayone and her family of five decided to right-size their lives and build a custom 665-square-foot cabin in Wyoming. Her three boys share a customized loft where each gets a built-in bed with a curtain for privacy, a small desk, under-bed storage, a closet and a small TV and gaming console. Rayone is currently working on blueprints for 900-square-foot homes based on all her family has learned living in their cabin. Check it out at
The Etsy shop
Cool Spaces for Kids, based in South Africa, makes whimsical, creative play spaces for children. Many of them also happen to be great small-space solutions. Simply throw on their custom tablecloth or hang their adorable theater in a doorway, and your kids can indulge in imaginative play with no added square footage.
Katja, of the blog Pari Ovea (meaning "Two Doors" in Finnish), wanted to buy her daughter a play kitchen but couldn’t find space — until she looked at her daughter’s bookshelf and got inspired. Using contact paper and colored electrical tape, she transformed one shelf into a DIY play kitchen. Her daughter has been cooking happily ever since.
Inspired by his then unborn son, designer Min created this beautiful convertible bassinet that magically adapts to the needs of a growing baby. Frustrated by the fact that bassinets are useful for just three months, Min created the YiAhn to convert into a toy bin and bookshelf, then again into a chair and table suited for children up to 8 years old. While the YiAhn is not being manufactured currently, it’s a design we definitely hope makes it to market.
If action figures, dolls, toy cars or art supplies are making a mess of your life, consider the storage benefits of a shoe organizer to tame the chaos. Jenae, of “I Can Teach My Child,” turned her pantry door into the family’s craft storage area, freeing up drawers and bins for other storage needs. Affordable and ingenious!
High chairs can take up a lot of space — not to mention the cleanup time they require. Why not free up some of that precious floor space by using a clip-on chair instead, like this one from Inglesina? Bonus: These chairs are typically collapsible when not in use, so they're great for road trips or restaurants where high chairs are in high demand.