When making furniture purchases for this new apartment, I really tried to keep in mind that a baby (eventually a toddler) was going to live here too. I talked about some of my design plans in a post a few months ago, but after I started researching and visualizing the space, some of my original plans changed quite a bit. The main thing I tried to focus on in prepping this apartment for a baby was organization. This is a small space and we want to try our best to not let it become overrun with baby / child items. I took some pointers from Young House Love and included baskets, storage ottomans or storage tables in almost every room to easily store toys and baby items. Along with organizing each space to accommodate a baby, two adults and a dog, we also started some light baby-proofing. All of our heavy furniture has been anchored to the wall, our tv has also been properly attached to the wall above the tv stand, and we hung a baby gate between the living room and office doorway, so I can set the baby down for tummy time and close the gate with Aurora in the office if need be.
A few other things that we took into consideration when it came to baby-proofing were our furniture purchases. We'd prefer to use as little furniture padding and safety locks as possible once she's mobile, so I tried to avoid items with sharp corners or easy to open cabinets. Several people recommended not having a tv stand at all, which I tried to figure out ways around, but I just didn't like any of the options. When I found our tv stand on Wayfair, I was really excited that it had rounded corners and magnetic (hard for me to open) cabinets. Instead of a coffee table, we decided on a soft, round ottoman with easily cleanable fabric (I've already cleaned chocolate out of it!). I'm sure there is additional baby-proofing in our future, but for now, I'm hopeful it's not too extreme!
Here is a breakdown of our current baby storage solutions room-by-room, plus tips on "hiding" baby items in a small space.
As you may have noticed in my "unicorn apartment" update a few weeks ago, there is a large wicker basket next to the tv stand, as well as a patterned storage ottoman beside the couch. The large basket holds a variety of baby blankets (swaddle, quilted, tummy time, etc), some baby toys (rattle and chew beads), books, a nursing cover for when guests are over, burp cloths, and a decorated pillow from our baby shower. The patterned storage ottoman next to the couch currently holds throw blankets, but in the future, could easily be used for extra toy and book storage.
Beside the teal bookcase (used as our pantry), the easily collapsible high chair is stored (less hidden when there isn't a tree there obviously!). I added a removable plastic hook to the back of it which holds a few bibs for future mealtimes. Once she's mobile, we'll either replace that rolling bar cart with a small lock-able bar cabinet or move the liquor to a higher cabinet in our kitchen. Several friends recommended having a light, compact pack 'n play for travel (or peace of mind once she's mobile and I need to get chores done), so we ordered one that is so compact it's actually currently stored under our couch (!!!).
We bought the plastic, hanging basket storage from Urban Outfitters and it currently holds our washcloths (bottom two baskets) and her washcloths and a few bath toys in the top basket. Her hooded towels are on one of the shelves we hung above the toilet, and she has an entire shelf in the medicine cabinet, which I pre-stocked with some items people recommended having in advance. Her baby tub is too big to be stored in here, so it's currently in our storage closet in the living room (not pictured). It will fit perfectly in our kitchen sink when she's little and then can eventually be used in the shower as a tub once she's bigger.
In our bedroom, we set up a nursing / rocking station in one corner since the nursery is much too small for a chair in there. The gray glider and yellow ottoman were in my office back in Austin, but I bought the white side table from Wayfair. I particularly like the fact that this table has both a shelf and the top opens for extra storage. The lamp has a low wattage bulb for late-night feedings, and currently the monitor (for us to check on her in the nursery) is sitting beside the lamp. The shelf holds the breast pump and spare nursing pads, and there are more pads, burp cloths and a spare nursing pillow cover stored in the top. I like this table so much that I bought the exact same one for the nursery! The nursing pillow is so big that it's actually currently stored behind the glider.
Storage was definitely key in designing this small space! I hung storage hooks on the back of the door for her heaviest coat, extra bibs and an adorable dress my mother-in-law knit. We decided to hang two rows of IKEA storage racks above the changing table for diapers, creams, burp cloths, toys, pacifiers, etc (yes, I can reach the top baskets!). On one side of the changing table is a diaper trash pail, which will eventually be used as a cloth diaper hamper once we switch her to cloth after a month or two. The other side of the table, I attached a hook and hung that sage metal bucket with lid from World Market, and currently am using it as disposable diaper storage. Once we switch to cloth though, that pail will be used for trash. Beneath the metal pail is a striped hamper for dirty clothes, burp cloths and bibs.
I organized her changing table drawers with baskets and folded or rolled clothes so they are easily viewable from the top. The top drawer has newborn clothes, a baby wrap (or carrier), swaddle wraps, diaper wipes, and a basket with socks, hats, booties, etc.. The second drawer has all of her 0 - 3 month clothes and the more firm carrier for when she outgrows the soft one. The third and bottom drawer (not pictured) has all of her 3 - 6 month (and older) clothes, larger swaddle wraps, plus a spare crib sheet and changing pad cover. As she outgrows clothes, I plan to store them for friends and family in gallon zip-loc baggies under her crib.
I bought four small storage containers from Land of Nod that just perfectly slide under her crib and hold spare diapers, creams, wipes, etc. Behind the storage containers, I already have several gallon zip-loc baggies stored of 12 - 24 month hand-me-downs from my sister-in-law (my two-year-old niece's mom). Next to the crib is the vintage wooden box that we bought at Brooklyn Flea several months ago and added caster wheels to the bottom. It holds several knit toys from my mother-in-law, along with spare blankets, books and a few other toys. I hung a door hook from the door that actually opens into the second floor hallway, and her collapsed stroller currently hangs from this. In the next few months, we're hoping to move her stroller to the bottom floor entry so I don't have to carry it up and down the stairs by myself.
I painted and hung IKEA spice racks for narrow bookshelves on one wall and below that her sleep 'n play is collapsed and easily stored when not in use. Beside that, is the white table (that matches the one in our bedroom) and holds the diaper bag (not pictured), spare diapers, wipes and her cloth diapers (that we'll switch her to once she fits in them). The humidifier, noise machine and nightlight sit on top of the table and can be easily moved to access the items stored inside.
I'm sure over the next several months, we'll learn quite a bit more and readjust some of our storage and layout. I definitely will share an update at some point (probably 6-months and then one-year in) on everything we've learned once we've actually lived with a little person in this small space. Until then, feel free to ask questions in the comment section on anything in this post or pictured in our apartment.