Apartment Living: Planning a Tiny Nursery



My husband and I rent a 1,000 square foot 2 bedroom apartment in University Heights. When we planned on starting a family we decided to embrace Tim Gunn’s “Make it work!” mantra when it came to our living space, which is also where our home office is. Instead of moving out, we thinned out by selling and donating furniture, electronics, surf boards and anything else that isn’t essential at the moment.

Cheers to less clutter and a little extra cash to use towards some of the items we knew we’d need to purchase!

I figure if the baby is comfortable in my belly he doesn’t need a whole room to himself once he arrives, so his “nursery” will be a corner in our home office. Our plan is to have him to sleep in a bassinet in our bedroom for the first few months to help save space, be close by for nighttime feedings, and room share as a means to reduce the risk of SIDS.

In an attempt to keep it minimal we aren’t getting a crib until he outgrows the bassinet but have decided a rocking chair and a dresser for storage are where we’ll start. We wanted to keep the cost down now so when it comes time to purchase the bigger ticket items we’ll have some baby fund reserves to tap in to.

Scattered around our apartment we have a bassinet, Boppy pillow, and a Mamaroo all borrowed from friends or family.  It saves them storage space and helps us stretch our baby budget.  Here’s a preview of what we’ve got planned so far for the nursery corner.

Lamp: Base is $7 from Goodwill, recovered with a coat of spray paint. Lampshade was a Target clearance purchase from awhile back.

Picture: The frame is a souvenir from our honeymoon. One of us is always behind the camera so once we get maternity photos taken we can replace this with one of the both of us!

IMG_1351  Untitled design

Toy: A personalized gift from a friend by Smiling Tree Toys.

Dresser: I thought a side table with a drawer was all we needed but wasn’t excited about spending $90 for a table made of particle board. I found this 3 drawer wooden dresser at a thrift store in North Park for $22. I added 2 new knobs from World Market for $5.99 each.  The drawers are stocked with our BumGenius cloth diapers, wipes, and the Brica goPAD Diaper Changer for use at home and can be put in a diaper bag.


Rocking Chair: I had wanted the IKEA POANG in birch veneer finish but it’s no longer available without the faux leather cushion. I was able to find it on Craigslist for $60. I replaced the cushion with a Finnsta white one for $59 at IKEA.

Play Mat: I screwed up on a DIY Shibori dye project so I turned it into a play mat instead of tossing it out all together.

Pillow: $24.99 at Target

Pouf: I got this on clearance from Target at the end of 2015 thinking, “I need this for our nursery” and it really isn’t necessary but I like it so it’s staying.

Plant: I got the dish from Goodwill for $2 and painted it white then filled it with a $2.98 indirect sunlight plant from Lowe’s.

Hospital Bag: I know, I’m preparing a little too soon.

Photos: The frames we had, I just replaced them with photos we took around San Diego.


Wall Hooks: These are being stashed behind the door.  They were $27.99 on sale at World Market.

IMG_1349  IMG_1353

See, it’s pretty tight up in here!  What do you think? Are there some essentials we are overlooking?



  1. It looks great!! Good idea, waiting on the crib. We have an expensive crib and mattress that has not been used once.

    • Thanks, Xochitl! It’s been encouraging to hear from other parents that it’s ok to wait on a crib. I’m a planner and always want to feel as prepared as possible, but this feels great too!

  2. All 3 of my babies never had their own “nursery”. They pretty much stayed in a crib in our bedroom for the first 12-15 months, until I stopped nursing. I don’t think it’s uncommon to have just a bassinet, I’ve known people who never get a crib. It’s a matter of what works for you and your space. Loving the decor!

  3. I love your thought process! I was so excited to decorate a whole room for our little guy and then 3 months after he was born we had to move. I was so emotional about his room and still am. Reading this helped me realize, all baby needs is love & a few little custom toys ; ) it’s beautiful! Wish I lived there haha.


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