5 in a House Built for 4: Maximizing Your Room’s Space with Baby

malissa March 7, 2013

By Malissa, Contributing Writer

Our family is truly blessed. We have two great girls and a little Boy on the way. We have a house that has 4 bedrooms in a good neighborhood in our city. My parents are willing to visit often to help with the girls as I grow larger and slow down. Andrew’s job has changed since our move in 2010 and he works from home 100% of the time now. Our children are surrounded daily by the adults that love them.

However, a 4-bedroom house with a Daddy that needs an office and a NanaPop that need a guest room presents a problem for Baby Boy. Where will he go once he arrives? The girls share a room and are waiting on the arrival on a set of bunk beds to replace the twin they share most of the time. The addition of a twin over full bed severely limits our space for furniture in their room. After much discussing, we decided to put Baby Boy the only logical place  – our room.

And Baby Makes Three

At first, I was really concerned about having all of the baby’s things in our room. We are a nursing and co-sleeping family, so the addition of his physical presence in our room for at least 6-9 months is normal and expected. In the past, however, all of the toys, clothes, diapers, etc., have always been part of a nursery or separate bedroom. Our room has been just that – a place for us to be together without any distractions or alterations with the exception of a few extra pillows to nurse with at first.

But now, we need a bassinet, a changing table, a small dresser, and a glider to fit into a space that already was busting at the seams.  We also wanted to modify our room in a way that would still be comfortable for us to live in daily and feel as is it was still an adult room. We made a plan to clean out, clean up, and then arrange the space in the most functional way possible.

Cleaning Things Out and Up

We had (and honestly still do) a lot of STUFF sitting around. My first step was to clean up the existing space. I de-cluttered the night stands and dressers- donating things that we didn’t need or use, putting things away in their proper place, stacking books, and adding baskets for the books that we were currently reading.

The books that I use as resources for babies and homeschooling went into a magazine “basket” that we weren’t using anymore.

Things that were just sitting around the room were dealt with next:

  • Clothes that were in bins to go to the attic went to the attic.
  • Bags that were full of donation items were placed in the van and donated on the next trip to the store. All of the bed linens (comforter, quilt, and shams) were washed and then put back on the bed.
  • I steam cleaned the carpet and dusted baseboards and corners. I vacuumed.

Now the room looked like a room for adults.


Test Run

We decide to sacrifice space in our closet and moved my dresser into our closet. We placed the changing table on the wall where it had been. We then moved in Baby Boy’s tiny dresser and placed it in the corner beside my night stand. We then surveyed the damage.

We could move around our bed easily. We have all the essential things in the room that the baby and I would need. I grabbed baskets and bins to organize his clothes in drawers, blankets and burp clothes around the room, and provide a place for baby toys to live that wasn’t too obvious.  Then we left the room alone for a few days to see how it functioned for us.

How did it go? Stay tuned for 5 in a House Built for 4: Adding in All that Baby Gear, where we’ll take a look at how to incorporate all of baby’s furniture into our bedroom.

Do you have to add your sweet bundle to your room for space reasons? What tips or tricks do you have for making the most of your space?

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  1. Love this! We had the same issue when our baby boy came along last Spring. We are four in a 3 bedroom house. We homeschooling, so one bedroom is our “classroom. ” Our daughter’s bedroom is rather small, so adding a baby and all of baby’s stuff wasn’t really an option there. Baby boy has been in our bedroom since June. We have upgraded from bassinet to crib, but are still making it work just fine. I highly suggest a combo dresser/changing table for space conservation; It was our space saving grace! Our little boy will be one in June though, and I am beginning to freak out just a little bit feeling that he needs his own space. Oh well, We will see what the future holds. Thanks again for a great post!


    • Thanks for reading! We did do a combo piece of sorts that you’ll see in Part 2. We homeschool as well- even though we’re just preschool age right now- so that stuff is all creeping into the playroom. I’m jealous you have a classroom 😉 I’d love to know how it goes once your Little Man is one!


  2. We have a 2 bedroom, 1 bath apt…and a 4.5 year old boy and a 5 month old girly. Their room is busting at the seams, as is our room. But for her first 2 months, she slept in a bassinet next to our bed – with just enough room for me to walk past it to get out of the room. Also, I kept most of her clothing in my side of the dresser and consolidated my clothes until my pre pregnancy clothes fit. We also de-cluttered our dresser and used it as her changing table. She is now in a full crib, sharing a room with her brother, but due to space restrictions, her changing table is still in our room, as well as most of her clothes. We make do because its what the Lord has given us! And my husband works from home part time – sometimes from the dining room table. Sometimes from our bed..hahaha..depending on the noise level! =)


  3. When our first daughter was born we lived in 4 bedroom home (as part of my husband’s salary). When she was 6 months old, my husband quit his job because he was expected to work 60-80 hours per week…we moved into my in-laws basement for 2 months, then into the basement of a retired couple that we house-sat for during the winter, then finally into a 1 bedroom home that we could rent for cheap. We lived in that house for the next 2 years…daughter’s crib in our large closet, changing table in the corner…no dresser for us…a few baskets in the small closet with the rest of our clothes. Our son was born while we lived there…he slept in the kitchen/dining/living room. When our son was 9 months old we moved into a large “apartment”, everyone had there own space. Daughter #2 was born this past Sept. When she was 6 weeks old we looked at, and bought our own home! We downsized about 500 square feet. Daughter #1 and Son are in one bedroom, Husband, I and Baby are in bedroom #2, bedroom #3 is Husband’s workshop/pantry storage. Since we use cloth diapers, we made space for a changing area in the hallway, next to the washing machine so it is close to the bathroom. Baby sleeps in a pack-n-play (and will until she is about 1 year). We got rid of lots of “extra” baby stuff — swing, exersaucer, extra clothes. When Baby is about 1 year we will move her into the bedroom with the other kids — bunk beds and a crib. We’re loving our smaller house and making it work!


    • I”m really looking forward to the girls using bunk beds. They are twin over full so it gives is LOTS of options. It also *might* leave the potential for Baby Boy’s crib to go in there. Might – we’ll see. 🙂 Thanks for sharing and reading!


  4. We live in a small space, too! Right now our 7 and 4 year old girls share one of our small 2 bed 1 bath apartment rooms. We also homeschool and my husband started working from home full-time in January, so we’re having to be creative with space, quiet and respect. Our 3rd girl is due April 1st. I thought for sure there was no way we could make space for a baby as we don’t even have sufficient space for our clothing in our room right now and our home feels “tight and cluttered”, but we’ve figured it out! We got rid of any “extra” things that we could as we have only one small storage closet in our apartment and no external or rental storage. We bought two narrow plastic drawer systems to go in our room for baby clothes, blankets, paraphernalia and stack bins for cloth diapers on top of, cleared off our dresser for a changing table and right now my husband has a small computer cart in our room where he works and has frequent Skype conference calls, that will be moved out…. somewhere… when the baby arrives and a bassinet will go in there. We are getting rid of our armchair in the living room to make room for a glider to nurse in and right now we have a compact swing and a bouncer- one of those will go once we discover which one she prefers after her arrival. Minimal “stuff” is the key! The travel system stroller we received from someone will be stored in the (large) trunk of our car for as long as we use it, then we’ll likely pass it off and just use our umbrella stroller. We still have to find a place to keep the infant car seat when not in the car and nursing pillow. We don’t have anything else!


  5. Another thing you could do, is what we did with our guest room. We don’t have children but we have 3 bedrooms and one that is necessary for a home office (my husband works from home some of the time). So, we converted our guest room by installing a murphy wall bed. Our hope was to be able to have a “den” since it is unused space in our home most of the time. We also converted part of the room into a child space… we layed down a cute little boy rug, got a little boy bedding set, and a little bin organizer for toys since we have our 5 year old nephew up here fairly often. But when he is not here, and when there is no guest, we lift the bed and we go and sit in there and watch tv. or read etc…


    • That’s a great idea! Our house is designed poorly so the vents on the floor prevent us for maximizing the space in ways we’d like. We also use our guest room for toy and clothes storage- so we’re trying to figure out how to make it more user friendly. Thanks for reading!


  6. My changing table is the same as my mom used, a dresser with a pad on top. It’s so handy having all of the stuff right there and it’s a comfortable height for changing diapers. Love it!


    • I had a dresser when Miss Moo was little but it was a little too high. The changing table that we have now works well for me at 6 feet tall but might not for some. I love that it has shelving and drawer storage. Everything at hand is key! Thanks for reading!


  7. We have a two bedroom house and two little ones. We got rid of our changing table and just use our bed, the top of a dresser holds our diapers (cloth so they take a lot of space) and we moved a dresser in our closet as well. It’s crowded but it works for us!


    • I’m learning that crowded works much better than empty 😉 We use the floor a lot too for changing our almost 2 year old. Thanks for reading!


  8. Thanks for posting this – my hubby as I are expecting our first baby in August, and we currently live in a 2 bedroom apt. One if the “bedrooms” we use as a Lubin room, and the “living room” is our dining room (we like to entertain, I have a china collection, and I use the extra space for cooking and extra prep space). So our only option is to keep baby in our bedroom. We have to downsize quite a bit…our bedroom is the overflow for “stuff” right now. We both have a tall dresser and share one small closet. We just bought a kids dresser with a changing table top, so that will help conserve space, and an Arm’s Reach cosleeper mini to keep baby nearby (I intend to us a pack and play after the cosleeper is no longer viable). I’m trying to keep any future baby clutter to a minimum (I’ve made my wishes known that I don’t wan a lot of noisy clutter plastic baby toy things) and storage bins will come in handy, I think. Spring cleaning will be taking on a whole new meaning for us as we go through and reorganize, put to use things that have been languishing, or getting rid of, donating and gifting things we cannot use. I’m actually excited to do this and make out bedroom a cozy, streamlined space for the 3 of us until we have our debt paid off and can afford to move elsewhere.


  9. […] you’ve already read, 5 in a House Built for 4: Maximizing Your Room’s Space with Baby, you know that my husband and I have decided to share our room with our new baby. Already a […]


  10. We welcomed our baby while we were living in a two-bedroom rental with a roommate using the other bedroom. There was ABSOLUTELY no room for a thing!

    So … we took out my nightstand and squeezed a pack n play in between my side of our double bed and the wall, and used a small Ikea storage unit (the Trofast system; it was a tall single unit that four Trofast bins slide into like drawers; I had used it for work supplies before I got married). We meant to add a changing pad to the top of my husband’s dresser, but we only ever ended up changing baby on the bed (still do) so never got around to it. The only piece of baby “equipment” we ever had in the house was a bouncy seat that I moved around to keep him near me when I needed to work in the kitchen or be in the bathroom.

    It worked just fine for seven months 🙂 After moving, he now has a crib in his own tiny hallway bedroom, but still no additional furniture except we switched the bouncy seat for a high chair (cosco is a great tiny, space-saving high chair!). I was super excited about setting it up, even if it never looked like a Pinterest nursery!


  11. We are soon to be 6 in a 3 bedroom house!! We are blessed to have an office in addition to those bedrooms. For now, our baby’s room doubles as the guest room and our girls share a queen bed. When the new baby comes, he/she will share our room for a few months, then move into the baby/guest room and we have not yet decided where our current baby will go. Will he room in with the girls (luckily all the bedrooms are HUGE, so we could easily fit another bed in there) or will he room in with the baby? I suspect the former, at least until new baby is STTN. Our eventual plan has always been to have the older two share and the younger two share, so none of this is shocking to us. 😉


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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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