If you’re limited on space or short on cash, you may be asking yourself if a changing table is really necessary. While a place to change your little wiggle monster is a must-have, a changing table is definitely not.
A traditional changing table takes up a lot of floor space and can cost upwards of $200, which is a considerable investment given how quickly they outgrow their usefulness. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying the changing table of your dreams (or choosing a secondhand option), but there are more practical possibilities if you’re looking to make the most of your space and budget.
When you are looking for a smarter changing table alternative, try one of these five clever workarounds.
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The Dresser/Changing Station Combo
Instead of purchasing a traditional changing table, opt for a low, sturdy dresser and convert it into a temporary changing station. Choose a padded changing mat with raised sides, and secure it to the top. Pair with a set of pretty wicker baskets or fabric bins for storing diapers and other necessities, and you’ll have everything you’ll need at arm’s reach. You’ll benefit from the extra storage a dresser provides and get far more use out of your purchase in the long run.
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The Fold-Down Changing Table
A built-in, fold-out changing table may be exactly what you’re looking for when you are working with an exceptionally small space. These clever creations fold out of the wall to provide a sturdy changing surface that can be easily tucked away when not in use. They also allow you to capitalize on otherwise unusable space, such as the wall behind the door.
While it’s possible to purchase a wall-mounted model, you can build your own fold-out table by following simple online instructions, such as those from the DIY Network. Since the homemade model is actually built into the wall, it takes up less space. You can even convert it into a kid-friendly, fold-down workstation in the future.
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The Folding Changing Table
If you love the idea of a foldaway changing table but are not so keen to start knocking holes in the wall, a folding or portable changing table is a good choice. It provides many of the same benefits as a built-in changing table without the tricky installation process, making it a more practical option for parents who rent their home.
These inexpensive freestanding changing stations fold flat behind the door or can be put in the closet when not in use, making them perfect for small nurseries with limited space. Lightweight and portable, the folding changing table also makes a useful companion to a bedroom bassinet, providing a handy changing surface during those first few months when the baby may be in your bedroom.
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The Crib-Top Changing Table
It may not be sophisticated, but a crib-top changing table gets bonus points for practicality. Designed to fit horizontally across the top of the crib, these small wooden trays provide a perfect changing surface. When you’re done, just slide the entire unit under the crib.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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The On-the-Go Changing Station
All you really need to change your little one is a flat surface, a washable mat, and your diapering supplies. Instead of spending money on a changing table, why not invest in a few sturdy caddies and a couple large, portable changing mats? Stash these ready-made changing stations around the house, and wherever you are, you’ll always have your supplies on hand.