Home Decor & Styling

How We’re Adapting Our 1-Bedroom Apartment for a Baby


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one bedroom apartment with baby"
one bedroom apartment with baby
Source: Canva
Source: Canva

In February of last year, my husband and I made a big change. After three decades of living in the same part of Southern California, we moved seven hours away so my husband could start a new job. Sight unseen, we rented a one-bedroom apartment a five-minute walk from his office. We were pleasantly surprised (and relieved!) when we arrived and found that it was the perfect spot for us to call home. Fast forward to last summer, and we learned our dreams of starting a family were going to come true—I was pregnant. This left us wondering what our literal next move should be. Our lease would end a few weeks before our baby boy should arrive, and we could buy a home, rent a bigger apartment, or just stay put. 

After looking at homes, we realized we weren’t prepared to make such a big commitment in an area we had just moved to. A two-bed and two-bath apartment felt like a waste of money when we planned to have our baby sleep in our room for the first year. Not to mention, the idea of moving again so soon while struggling with pregnancy fatigue didn’t sound fun. The solution? We decided to save ourselves a lot of money and stress by staying put. We know living in a one-bedroom apartment with a baby will come with some challenges, so this is how we’re trying to get ahead of them. 

Creating Designated Zones

To help us picture how we would make life with a little one work in a one-bedroom apartment, we started to think about how we could carve out space for him. We found this Morris & Co. The Brer Rabbit Play Mat, which blends into our decor scheme for the living room. The mat is where we will set up his tummy time toys, and we plan to keep other toys nearby in decorative baskets—so they are out of sight but accessible. His play mat creates a natural boundary for any playtime supplies. By corralling a lot of his items to one designated corner, it feels less like our entire apartment is being taken over by baby gear (yet!). 

one-bedroom apartment with a baby
Totter + Tumble | Morris & Co.
The Brer Rabbit Play Mat
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Making Use of Existing Furniture

As fun as it would be to design a nursery and pick out all new furniture, in a one-bedroom apartment with a baby, we realized that a lot of the furniture we already own could adapt pretty well to the baby’s needs. We got to decluttering and emptied a chest of drawers to create his dresser and cleared off space on our bookshelf for his books. We plan to adapt the top of our dresser to a changing table since it is the perfect height, which means our only new furniture addition will be this Babyletto Kiwi Nursery Glider Recliner Chair.

one-bedroom apartment with a baby
Crate & Barrel | Babyletto
Kiwi Nursery Glider Recliner Chair
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Matching our Existing Decor

I love how by making use of our existing furniture, we don’t have to replace our favorite home decor pieces with baby-themed items. Of course, there are some baby essentials we can’t avoid. This is why we chose baby gear in calming neutrals or in colors that work well with our existing color scheme.

Our kitchen is super neutral, so for his high chair, we picked out a sage green The Chair from Lalo that goes well with the green hues in our living room, which you can see from the kitchen. Because our bedroom is more colorful, we went for a neutral look for his Newton Bassinet & Bedside Sleeper to balance things out

one-bedroom apartment with a baby
The Chair
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one-bedroom apartment with a baby
Bassinet & Bedside Sleeper
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Keeping Things Small

As soon as you become pregnant, you start hearing about all the things you “need” to have. The truth is, we just don’t have enough room to test out every gadget on the market. To keep things simple and clutter-free, we’re skipping a lot of gadgets like wipe warmers and are looking for streamlined versions of the essentials. For example, this combination Chicco Digital Bottle Warmer & Sterilizer is super sleek and won’t take up too much room on our kitchen countertop. 

one-bedroom apartment with a baby
Amazon | Chicco
Digital Bottle Warmer & Sterilizer
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Because storage for bigger items is a concern, we got creative. We’re keeping this smaller Colugo The Compact Stroller in the apartment so it’s accessible for daily neighborhood walks, but we will be stashing our larger BOB Gear Wayfinder™ Jogging Stroller in the trunk of our car. This setup will also save me from having to drag a stroller back and forth from the car, which won’t be fun in an apartment complex. 

one-bedroom apartment with a baby
The Compact Stroller
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one-bedroom apartment with a baby
Target | BOB Gear
Wayfinder Jogging Stroller
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Avoiding Clutter

One of the perks of making a major move so recently is that we already decluttered a lot of our belongings. This allowed us to start fresh and be thoughtful about what we keep in our apartment. Even though we were pretty ruthless, almost a year later, we realized that there were a lot of belongings we hadn’t even glanced at since moving. We’re doing another round of sorting through our belongings to make room for the baby’s stuff and are being cautious about what we bring into our home. For example, I’m not stocking up on baby clothes in future sizes to keep his clothing collection as simple as possible until we need to bring more clothes into the home. 

The Bottom Line

Living in a one-bedroom apartment with a baby is a temporary phase of life for us. For now, we’re looking forward to keeping things simple and cozy while we adjust to new parent life. It’s so easy to feel like your baby has to have a Pinterest-perfect nursery, but I’m hoping by living small, I can make my postpartum period a lot easier to manage. I like things neat and tidy, so it brings me a lot of peace to know that my husband and I can team up and clean our apartment from head to toe in less than an hour. I hope the time we save cleaning can be spent bonding as a new family of three.

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