“And how…cosy…is your apartment?” is a kindly phrased question I’ve been asked several times, when I reveal that my husband and I are not planning to move from our 60 square meter one bedroom apartment within the next year, despite the fact that we are having our first child.
It’s true: our apartment is not large. But neither is it too small to accommodate two adults and an infant. As property prices rise, city-dwellers around the world are figuring out how to make smaller spaces work for their growing families. I’m not talking about the “small living” movement, which is fine of course – people should live how they like – but rather that it’s simply a reality for many of us. Would I prefer a separate bedroom for my child and perhaps even more rooms (an office space? A gift wrapping from?!)? I would! I’m working towards it. But for approximately another year, it’s not happening.
That doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on making our space feel beautiful, homey and functional for everyone who lives there.
Here’s how we designed our baby space so that it fit easily in our apartment:
Our apartment already has fairly consistent colors: black, white, grey, wood with hints of yellow, burgundy and green. We focused on keeping these colors within in the baby space by choosing a few specific colors within that palette; mostly black, white and grey.
A Well-Placed Carpet
Integrating the baby space was actually easier than figuring out how to make it feel like its own space within the apartment. A carpet was a great first step, as it visually separated the area. This Kelim rug from ferm LIVING hit both the aesthetic and color choices we wanted.
Use The Walls
When you don’t have a lot of floor space, building vertically is your friend (I realise this is part of how cities have become crowded and priced people out of the market but that’s an article for another time). We put up a system of shelves above the changing table as well as strategically dotted around the apartment where we needed more storage. ferm LIVING’s shelving is simple and sleek, plus it comes in a number of colors.
We also looked for more visually interesting ways to use the floors, such as storage bags like these ones from ferm LIVING (great for plush toys, blankets and laundry!). Another great option are Muuto DOTS for extra hanging space.
Find Foldable and/or Convertible Items
We spent a lot of time looking for items that could be used for dual purposes, or could be easily hidden away. Our Ikea changing table, for instance, can be folded back and then looks like a regular kommode.
I fell in love with the Flexi Bath from Stokke when I first saw it; how brilliant! Our bathroom is a true “Copenhagen bathroom,” which means that it’s just a water closet with a shower head. I was worried about how to bathe the baby once he no longer fits in the sink and this is the perfect solution. Not only does it look good, it folds flat and can be easily stored. Oh, Scandi design!
A classic item that fits the bill is the Tripp Trapp Højstole, also from Stokke. It can be used as a newborn recliner, a baby seat and finally as a regular chair for a young child. Such a good investment and you can actually find the base second-hand quite cheaply, then just buy whatever attachments you need.
Go Cutesy or Don’t – It’s Up to You
Whatever your personal style, reflect it in your baby space. There’s a lot of kids items out there that, while lovely, may just not fit your vibe. It’s okay to look for the things you actually want, and curate the space accordingly. As you can probably tell, I love the brand ferm LIVING. They have a range of kids items that steer clear of “twee,” so they fit the purpose of the baby space but also fit our established interior style.
Do you have experience with having a baby or child-friendly space in a small apartment? Tell us how you did it!