following up from my small space living post all about tiny closets, i thought we’d move onto an updated tour of the kids room (we still call it the nursery, all these years later!) and share a few tips we’ve found to make a smaller bedroom work for 3 littles to share.
you can see that this space has changed a lot from when we first moved in four and a half years ago and had two cribs in there (you can see what it looked like then in this nursery tour post i shared)! since then, we’ve transitioned to toddler beds, then a crib in the corner when mister conrad arrived, and eventually bunk beds this past year with a trundle bed underneath for conrad!
in that time frame, we have also picked up three incredible artists along the way who love hanging up all of their artwork, and get sad if i ever try to take anything off the walls! eleanor has also become partial to decorating the fireplace mantel with lots of her little knick knacks and special things (like even rubber bands must go on display!), and all three seem to have a gift for collecting that is both wonderful and also frustrating when you don’t have tons of space for every rock or pebble they bring home from central park. ;) but i am a firm believer in letting the space reflect the kids and truly be their space, so i am all for it (although we do try to ease up on the rock collections).
with all that said, i know there is a lot going on in the room, but it has proven to be an incredible backdrop for these kids and their big imaginations and happy little spirits. we’ve shared some of our best family memories in this room. there have been first baby steps taken, tears shed, discoveries made and countless books read. there has been crayon on the wall and crayon on the paper, songs sung and dance parties galore, questions asked and dreams and goals set. this is the space where they often practice to share, to love, to be patient with each other and learn to always always (let me cross my fingers right now while i throw in one more always) have each others back. hopefully the sibling bond they are building right now will be carried with them forever. this room has been a fun backdrop for it all so far.
even in a small apartment (you can see the last apartment tour here if you missed it), i find ways to shuffle furniture around and try new layouts like it’s my job. it’s something i’ve done since i was a little girl. i have always loved rearranging. the best part about it, is that eleanor recently realized she also has a love for changing the room around, and suggests we flip the bunk beds or move the desk here or there sometimes, too! currently, the room looks like this.
we gave the kids the larger bedroom in our space and it gets so much incredible natural light. we love it during the day. we use some heavy duty grey colored black-out curtains at night though to help everyone have a more peaceful rest. (i’ll talk more about our sleeping arrangements in a different post. i know i’ve been getting a lot of questions about it! stay tuned!)
something that we’ve found to be helpful when it comes to a small room that has a lot of toys and books and other things to store away, is to make sure things are still accessible and visible for the kiddos. we use a lot of wire mesh storage bins for the toys and have a bigger one for all of their dress up clothes. we have the kids help us keep them organized as best they can throughout the day (keeping brio train tracks in one bin, legos in another, etc). we also practice putting whatever we were playing with away before we pull out something else to play with. it doesn’t always happen, but it does help keep things semi under control during the day.
similar to my closet rule about clothing (donating or getting rid of something when you get new items), we try to keep that same frame of mind with the kids’ toys. they are actually really great about it. and happy to do it, which we love. we also just try to really make sure the majority of the toys we bring into our home are really educational and fun, things that can last and aren’t going to break within a day.
josh found and bought our bunk bed online about a year ago from some bunk bed site that we don’t actually recommend using (despite their shipping calculations that said 5 business days, it took over a month to get here and they were very unhelpful when we inquired. not a huge deal, but slightly frustrating when we had already given away the toddler beds in anticipation for its arrival day). and in hindsight it was probably overpriced. but here is a similar style with a futon on the bottom that’s pretty neat. the trundle doesn’t fit well with the wheels, so we took the wheels off the trundle bed and added some furniture pads instead so it can slide in and out nicely and the kids can do it on their own.
i love the original crown molding in our apartment, as well as all of the really tall ceilings. it helps each room feel a bit bigger. ;) i also added white twinkle lights around the top molding. when we’re getting ready for bed, it’s nice to shut all the lights off but the twinkle lights as we begin to wind down for the night.
the yellow dresser that you see is a super old black dresser josh and i bought when we were engaged as we prepared our first little studio apartment in harlem for after we got married (if you check out that post, you’ll see my love for chalk board walls and painting the rest of the walls a COLOR has always been a thing!) but back to the yellow dresser that used to be black… i don’t know why we chose the color black. within the first year, i was totally sick of it. i eventually painted it yellow and switched out the knobs and surprisingly enough, it has somehow held up almost ten years later! we rotate through the kids clothes a lot, and they each have one designated drawer of the four larger drawers, sharing the fourth drawer for bigger bulkier coats/sweaters we aren’t using. they each also have a top drawer for pj’s, undies, etc. the last top drawer is where we keep all of their swim suits and goggles, since we swim during the week and like to have quick access to them.
one of the few things we buy in bulk are diapers and wipes (although almost graduating from that stage as we’re beginning to potty train conrad!) and i usually store the excess diapers and wipes under the yellow dresser.
beyond the mirror and frame and stacking the play-doh there for storage, miss eleanor loves placing all her little things on the mantle. it’s so fun to see the things she loves to hold onto, and also the things she finds worthy of keeping out for decoration. :) samson isn’t quite there yet in regards to wanting to display things like she does, but will be fun to see if he takes after her and is into that sort of thing or not. always love watching how their personalities unfold.
storing all of our crayons in one container, markers in another, colored pencils in another, glue and tape and other art supplies and so on in individual containers that are clear and visible to the kids is a great way to stay organized for us. we keep plenty of paper (white, construction, writing) in the blue desk on the opposite side of the room. having it all out and nearby helps all of us pull it out more and us it often.
i refuse to get rid of that pretty green settee josh and i found on craigslist a million years ago when living in DC. we actually got it cleaned and fixed recently which has made it all the prettier. it’s definitely a risk keeping it in the kids room where markers and other things also live, but it’s a great size and so far, so good. well. pretty good!
my sister got these storm trooper lights for samson for christmas and he is so obsessed with them! he loves to turn them on when we are reading books together.
we can’t seem to shake the accumulation of stuffed animals! no matter how hard i try. josh likes to pretend it’s a bother to him as well but honestly, considering we have a few very old pound puppies on the kids’ bed from when josh was a child, i see where they get it from. ;)
we put all the dress ups in a big bin which fits perfectly under the desk. we also have lots of their books and puzzles and games on top of the desk. the desk is something josh and i found at an antique store in lucketts virginia and no matter how many times one of us tries to get rid of it, neither of us can bring ourselves to go through with it. is it weird to love a certain piece of furniture so much?!
it can be a little tricky trying to juggle the age difference in toys/games/puzzles when it comes to three sharing a room. i know my older two can get frustrated when they are trying to play checkers and conrad has gotten into all of their checker pieces, etc. i’m still trying to figure out a good system for all of that, but i like to keep their games and puzzles out so they see and want to gravitate towards them, and then just try to do something else with conrad in the meantime. if any of you have kids that are different ages, i’d love to know how to help store certain things for one child that the others maybe can’t get into. always needing tips!!!
that’s the nursery as of now! josh and i are just as surprised as anyone that we have somehow remained in this space and still love it. i really think it has been a huge blessing for our family. we are all really close, and i know a lot of that closeness comes from being forced to be together because of our smaller space.
also, thank goodness for incredible neighbors in our building who promise we aren’t making too much noise and they can’t hear the kids play and run around! it’s one of the biggest blessings with this city living thing when you’re sharing walls and floors and ceilings with other people. :)
growing up, i feel like my parents had a relatively large house with lots of extra bedrooms, but my sisters and i always shared rooms (for almost all of my life) and i’m thankful for what it did for our relationships. we’ll see how it goes for our family in the years to come, but for now, we’re enjoying it!
ps. some photos of our very first studio apartment here, if you’d like to see.