15 Small Nursery Ideas for Making the Most of the Space

gray nursery with tree shelf

Ann Living/Instagram

Decorating a nursery space takes creativity, especially when the space in question is roughly the size of a suburban closet. Need a little inspiration? Whether you’re making the best of a smaller-than-average bedroom or designing a ​​shared space, these small nursery ideas can make a big difference. 

Don't get discouraged! Your “Eureka” moment is just a few short moments away.

  • 01 of 15

    Downsize Your Crib

    white crib in room with pattern wallpaper, leaf artwork on wall

    Cathie Hong

    Looking for a traditional crib without the traditional bulk? Try going for a smaller crib. You can opt for a slightly smaller version of a traditional crib, and to take it a step further; you can even swap out for a mini version! Mini cribs look and feel like the real thing, but their scaled-down frames and flexible features make them ideal for small nursery spaces. And with many models ringing up at less than $400, a mini crib may even help take the squeeze off your budget!

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  • 02 of 15

    Skip the Changing Table

    dresser with changing table on top

    Chelius House of Design

    We all know babies have “business” to do, but taking care of that business shouldn’t mean sacrificing half your nursery space. Need a better option? Skip the traditional changing table, and opt for a clever, space-saving alternative, like a crib-top changing station. These portable changing trays sit vertically across the crib, secured with straps and rail-hugging grooves. When the diapering is done, the entire unit disappears under the crib. Genius!

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  • 03 of 15

    Reclaim Unused Space

    blue and green nursery with small nook that has built in shelves

    Crystal Sinclair Design/Photographer: Claire Esparros

    When you have a small nursery, every square inch counts. Have space under the crib? Evict those dust-bunnies and reclaim their grubby realm in the name of sensible storage! If you have small hidden pockets of space that you're unsure what to do with, turn them into shelving or other storage options. You’ll be surprised how much extra space you can find when you think outside of the box.  

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  • 04 of 15

    Get Creative With Shelving

    nursery with shelving shaped like a tree, gray walls, chair in corner, white crib

    Ann Living/Instagram

    Shelving is an absolute game-changer for small spaces, and there are plenty of ways to go about it. Just because you have a small nursery space doesn't mean you can't incorporate shelving ideas that are both helpful and aesthetic. There are creative options you can try—like this shelf that looks like a tree in this gorgeous gray nursery. Perfect for storing stuffed animals and other small items.

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  • 05 of 15

    Shelve Your Storage Woes

    floating shelves, one with hanging rod for hangers

    Burchard Design Co./Instagram

    Floating shelves are a must-have for small spaces. These versatile beauties offer a wealth of storage without stealing an inch of precious floor space. They can even be used in place of furniture. Additionally, you can install shelves that serve multiple purposes—like the one displayed here that has a hanging rod attached to hang up a few of the baby's outfits. Multi-purpose furniture is always an asset in small spaces.

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  • 06 of 15

    Get the Hook Up

    white nursery with wall hangin storage and hooks

    Calimia Home

    Wall hooks are a great way to make use of vertical space. Want to maximize the storage potential? Hang large canvas bags from each knob, and stuff them full of toys, plush animals, socks—anything!

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  • 07 of 15

    Install Book Ledges

    nursery with chair, cream white interior, with book ledges installed above chair

    Design: Alex Nino Interiors; Photo: Kirsten Francis

    If you have three inches of space behind your baby’s bedroom door, you have room for a small library of your little one’s soon-to-be favorite storybook. Book ledges can hold dozens of books while taking up a fraction of the space of a traditional bookshelf. They’re inexpensive and fairly easy to install. You can even make your own.

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  • 08 of 15

    Double Your Closet Space

    nursery closet with multiple rods to hang clothes and storage shelves with wicker baskets for others

    Stephanie Hoey Interiors

    Adding a second rail to your kiddo’s closet is a quick and easy way to double the closet’s capacity. Staggering the rails allows for closer placement, leaving plenty of room for additional storage below. You can also opt to install multiple rods customized to fit into storage cubbies, allowing you plenty of space to store clothing, as well as a perfect way to help keep things organized.

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  • 09 of 15

    Ditch the Closet Door

    nursery with closet that has no doors, shelving storage on top and storage unit with wicker baskets below

    Ashlee Marie Plus 4/Instagram

    Closet doors can make furniture placement tricky, especially in small rooms. Removing them will save space that would otherwise be needed to accommodate the open door, giving you more room and more decorating options. As a bonus, working with open storage tends to make smaller spaces look larger than they are.

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  • 10 of 15

    Invest in Multi-Purpose Furniture

    crib with storage drawers underneath

    Crystal Sinclair Designs

    Storage options are always necessary but aren't always easy to fit into small spaces. Investing in furniture that functions for multiple purposes is an easy way to keep all your necessities within reach without taking up extra room. We love how this crib uses the extra space beneath it as two extra drawers.

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  • 11 of 15

    Try a White Color Scheme

    nursery with white color scheme, elephant print wallpaper, wicker basket between crib and closet door

    Becca Interiors

    It's no secret that white can open up a space, which makes it ideal for a nursery that's on the smaller side. Choosing a soft white paint color or wallpaper can help make the room seem larger, and white furniture can help extend that feeling. As a bonus, white gives off a calm, soothing atmosphere, which is perfect for keeping your baby calm and soothed.

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  • 12 of 15

    Go Floor To Ceiling With Your Storage

    white shelving that goes floor to ceiling

    M Starr Design

    It's always important to use up blank wall space, and there are plenty of ways to go about it. Don't focus solely on filling horizontal space, but aim for vertical as well. Choosing shelving that extends from floor to ceiling can do wonders and can draw the eye upwards. Just opt for items you often use to go on lower shelves and keep decorative items higher up.

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  • 13 of 15

    Mount Your Lighting

    nursery with pink crane wallpaper accent wall, black sconce, white rocking chair with wicker pineapple basket

    M Starr Design

    Rather than choosing a floor lamp for soft lighting, try mounting a sconce on the wall to free up some space. Having a small amount of light comes in handy when rocking your little one to sleep or sitting in with them at night, so a small wall-mounted lamp makes a perfect addition without taking up space unnecessarily.

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  • 14 of 15

    Use Your Closet Door

    nursery closet with storage bins inside, peg boards and shelves hung on door

    The Fallon Rice/Instagram

    If you don't want to remove the closet door entirely, put it to good use. While you may have storage options inside the closet, try mounting additional shelves inside the door to hold extra items. Adding a pegboard with small hooks to hang items and can be an asset to keep things close by and easily accessible. There is plenty of untapped potential, and you can customize it to what works for you.

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  • 15 of 15

    Don't Shy Away From Natural Light

    white nursery with open windows and plenty of natural light

    Calimia Home

    Another tip for small nurseries (and let's be honest, nurseries of any size) is to allow natural light in as much as possible. While indoor lighting is a viable option, natural light does wonders for the look and feel of a space—so don't cover up those windows too much. Privacy is still very much a necessity, so go for blinds that can fully cover the window when needed but can be easily be lifted to allow the sun to shine through.

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