10 Tips For Living in a One-Bedroom Apartment with a Baby

Babies are adorable and small and, yet, have a tendency to have so. much. stuff. The number of necessities and accessories such a tiny human can have is amazing. If you’re living in a one-bedroom apartment it can quickly become overwhelming. Let’s look at 12 ways to maximize space without compromising comfort and aesthetics.

Rachel and I pretty much lived in a one bedroom apartment when our daughter was born- during the start of the pandemic at that! We learned some good tips along the way and want to share them with as many people as we can.

Living in a one bedroom apartment with baby survival guide

1. Declutter and Reorganize

Before adding in baby furniture, clothes, diapers, bottles, and everything else, take the time to go through your belongings. All of them. Go through every drawer, cupboard, and closet. Get rid of things you don’t use, don’t want, have outgrown, or are broken. Sell, donate, and trash as needed.

As you are making space by purging, reorganize everything too. Adding a third human to your space is going to need to you switch into “efficiency mode” and now is the time to get started. You’ll be surprised how much room you will find as you go through this process. 

2. Strategically Plan Your Baby Registry

To keep your space from being filled up by well-wishers too quickly, be strategic about what items you put on your baby registry. Take the time to research what items will best fit into your space and still meet your needs and stick to them.

If you don’t have a baby registry or don’t end up with what you need- we highly suggest searching out used baby items on places like Facebook Marketplace.

Limit Toys

Babies like toys, but when they are little, they don’t really need many. A few good toys that can be swapped out at intervals are better than too many that take up too much space. Also, look at toys that can be folded up and put away, slid under a couch, or fit into a bin.

Choose Space Efficiency Over Novelty

There are some pretty amazing products on the market these days. But coolness isn’t the best reason to choose something – especially when you are trying to save space. For example, when you are choosing a high chair there are many good models that fold up, clip onto your table, or attach to the top of a chair taking up very small floor space.

space efficient high chair

Look Into a Mini Crib

Your baby will definitely need a place to sleep. Most parents spend a good amount of time deciding on a bed that is safe, comfortable, and nice to look at. An option that is often overlooked is a mini crib. They are plenty big enough for babies for many months and take up a lot less space.

Living in a one bedroom with your baby means compromising space, and since they don’t need a big crib you can save space with a mini crib.

space saving mini crib

Plan for What Clothes are Actually Needed

Buying baby clothes can be so much fun, but they can also start to take up a lot of space. When registering for clothing, or buying it yourself, pay attention to sizes and the season the baby will be in that size. If the baby is born in January, for example, don’t purchase summer clothes in newborn sizes.

3. Utilize Multi-Purpose Furniture

There are great options in baby furniture these days and picking out pieces that can serve multiple purposes is completely doable without sacrificing style.

Get a Crib with Built-In Storage

There are cribs that come with built-in dressers, drawers at the bottom, and even changing tables-unlike the one in our picture above. That is three separate pieces of furniture that are handled in just one piece. You may even be able to forgo a changing table completely by putting a changing table pad on top of an existing dresser.

Choose A Pack and Play with Multi-Purpose in Mind

Pack and Plays are great, versatile pieces to have for babies. They are great for traveling, but, also, many of them have a bassinet setting for when the baby is a newborn, changing tables, and some have storage too. And they all fold up and can go almost anywhere in your one bedroom apartment.

multi purpose pack and play

4. Create a Specific Space in the Home for the Baby

It’s important to set up a specific space just for the baby in the house. It’s no secret that the baby will take over all spaces if allowed, but for sleeping especially, it’s helpful to have a designated area for them and their gear. In a one-bedroom apartment, making that space may require some creativity.

Is one of the rooms in the house big enough to separate into two spaces? A large bedroom, a living room that you could use an end of, a dining room that could be used as a bedroom instead, a walk-in closet that can be repurposed? If you have room, you can use dividers, privacy screens, or even curtains to separate that space from the rest of the room.

One thing that I struggled with was the extra noise coming from our place. Of course your neighbors should be understanding, but it’s still a good idea to find creative ways to soundproof your apartment door or just the space in general.

5. Make The Baby’s Space Practical Yet Cozy

Where ever you decide to put the baby’s “bedroom,” it will be beneficial to everyone if you take some extra care to make it a place conducive to sleep. Babies need lots of sleep. And you need to be able to live while the baby is asleep. You are in a small space and you can’t keep silent constantly in fear of waking the baby. It’s impossible. Here are some ways to help:

Be Smart When Choosing Crib Location

When deciding where to put the baby’s “bedroom,” choose a crib location that is not next to a doorway or main thoroughfare of the apartment. For example, if the crib is right next to the bedroom door, if you need to go in or out of the bedroom during nap time, you will have to be so careful not to bump the crib and wake the baby.

Utilize a White Noise Machine

Using a white noise machine in the sleeping nook has a few uses. It will help to drown out the noise that inevitably comes from apartment living – doors closing, neighbors walking upstairs, kids playing, etc.

It also helps to block out the noise of you moving around the apartment just living your life while the baby sleeps. White noise in general just helps with sleep overall, whether you live in an apartment or a single-family home. If you travel, don’t forget to bring your white noise machine with you. It can help you and baby sleep in an otherwise unfamiliar place, and can help keep out new sound disruptions through the night.

Our daughter is 3 now and we even have our OWN white noise machine to help US sleep.

white noise machine for your baby

Hang Light-Blocking Curtains

Another way to create that cozy nook is to hang light-blocking curtains around the space. When you hang them make sure you are not blocking airflow into the area. We suggest searching for ‘black out curtains’ for maximum effect. We’ve noticed that black out curtains can also act as a temperature insulator because they are made from a very thick material which is an added bonus. We list blackout curtains as a great way to keep your apartment from getting too hot as well.

blackout curtains for baby area

6. Let Your Storage Work Smarter Not Harder

You are going to need storage. That can be tricky in a one-bedroom apartment. It’s doable though. It’s another chance to get creative.

Go Vertical

If you don’t have enough closet or drawer space in the apartment, remember that you have walls. Hand shelving on the walls too as high as you need. You can even use the backs of doors. And hanging storage doesn’t have to be ugly. There are so many beautiful options these days.

hanging storage for closet

Bins and Baskets are Your Friend

Another way to keep things organized and looking nice is to integrate bins or baskets into your storage solutions. Instead of a pile of diapers or socks on a shelf, put them in a bin first. It keeps them contained and also out of sight. And you can definitely find a basket or bin that matches your décor.

storage bins for baby things

7. Keep Adult Space Too

Don’t forget that you will still live in this apartment after the baby arrives. Yes, the baby will be very demanding of your time and resources and need space of their own, but so do you. Make sure you still have places to unwind, relax, work, and meet your own everyday needs. You are just as important as your baby.  

8. Plan for Diaper Disposal

Diapers are inevitable and so are their unpleasant odors. It can be more difficult in an apartment to dispose of dirty diapers outside immediately after a change. And keeping them in the apartment in your regular trash can quickly make the small space very smelly.

Purchasing a good diaper pail that cuts odors or using odor-blocking trash bags may be a way to solve this issue. We used a brand called diaper genie that did the trick.

diaper genie

9. Clean As You Go

Getting into the habit of putting things away when you are finished with them and cleaning up messes as they happen is a good idea no matter where you live. Messes are always more difficult to clean if they are allowed to pile up. In a small space, this is even more true.

This is not an easy one, but it is a game changer. Nothing makes a space feel smaller than a lot of clutter and mess.

10. Be Flexible

As a new parent, you will be learning as you go. No matter how much you prepare, you will still be learning every day how to meet the needs of your baby. And you’ll get better as you go too.

As you are learning, you may find that some of the preparations you made aren’t working the way you thought they would. That’s totally normal and okay. Give yourself permission to adjust your setup and systems in real time as needed. Nothing is set in stone.

Enjoy Parenthood!

You’ve taken the time to research, organize, and set up your small space in preparation for your new baby in your one bedroom apartment. Your space may be small, but you’ve thought about how best to utilize multi-purpose furniture, vertical storage, and white noise machines. You’re ready to welcome your baby and experience the joy they add to life. Congrats!

About Chad & Rachel

Rachel and Chad have over 17 years of experience as both renters and landlords. They were tenants in 7 different apartments before becoming landlords of 9 apartments in Chicago. Renting apartments from landlords and being landlords themselves have helped them gain the knowledge that they want to share with renters. Whether you are at the beginning of your rental journey or in the middle of your lease and dealing with complex apartment issues, we are happy to help where we can. Read more about Rachel and Chad, or send a message using this contact form.

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