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The Closet Nursery: 3 Small Space Nurseries You’ll Swoon Over

Closet Nursery by Emily Mulcahy




Written by:

Barbara Mighdoll

You don’t need a big room to design a dreamy nursery for your baby.  These 3 Mamas nailed the Closet Nursery, and have some great design advice to do the same.

A big thank you to my San Francisco Mom Tribe/best friends, Emily Mulcahy, Lindsay Bishop (L. Bishop Photography) & Molly Vandehey for sharing their photos, challenges and hacks on designing the perfect closet nursery.

Whether you want to keep that extra bedroom for guests to stay and visit (hi Mom), or you and your partner just have one bedroom with no plans on moving, the answer is a resounding “yes” – you can create a dreamy nursery in that walk-in closet of yours!

Need some inspiration?  Well luckily for you, my three best friends nailed the closet nursery.

Gathering Inspiration for Closet Nursery Design

Start by finding a single item, color scheme, hobby, destination, or photo from your favorite blog (cough cough you can start here!) and build out your design from there.

Closet Nursery #1: Mini, Moody & Mudcloth

Photo credit: Emily Mulcahy

Modern Mom: Emily Mulcahy

Focal feature: Dark green wainscoting

When this Mama saw her inspiration photo she was set on the design for her closet nursery.  She was confident that adding wainscoting to the small space would help it feel more like a room and less like a closet.

The inspiration:


Closet Nursery #2: The Cozy, Girly Greenhouse

Photo credit: Lindsay Bishop of L. Bishop Photography

Modern Mom: Lindsay Bishop

Focal feature: Artwork

This cozy nursery was inspired by this Mama’s love for plants and colors inspired by these motivational prints she originally had in her office space. The colors brighten up this small space nursery.

The inspiration:

Prints by Tara Wright Illustration
Prints by Tara Wright Illustration

Prints by Tara Wright Illustration

Closet Nursery #3: Peachy & Petite

Photo credit: Molly Bugler

Modern Mom: Molly Bugler

Focal feature:  Matisse Inspired Wallpaper

This small space nursery inspiration was drawn from blogger Sarah Sherman Samuel’s nursery. This Mama used the same wallpaper and found a similar swan mobile .  Since the room is well, petite, she kept the wallpaper as the focal feature and complimented it with neutral accents.

The inspiration:


Biggest Challenge: Finding the right furniture

The consensus was clear on the biggest design challenge for a closet nursery: furniture selection.  Typically there are 3 to 4 main pieces of furniture you want in your nursery: a crib, rocking chair, a dresser and/or changing table.

Given the size of these rooms, these moms were limited on options.  All three found mini cribs that fit the space.  Instead of the wider, bulkier gliders, two chose compact rocking chairs and one opted to place her rocking chair in the living room. 

All these mamas also doubled up on functionality with their dressers, using the top as the changing station.  Keep in mind, if you opt for this route you’ll need to find a dresser that is deep enough to fit a changing pad on top, but not too long to take up too much space.

Hacks to make your closet nursery work for you & baby

Hack #1: Be selective on your purchases.  There is A LOT of stuff you could purchase to prepare for your baby.  If you are working within a small space, you need to be selective (see 5 Newborn Baby Essentials for the First Month).  Prioritize the items you’ll need immediately for the first 4 months, leave off the other items until you need them and can put away the newborn phase products for good.

“Don’t buy a bunch of baby stuff, they don’t need everything!” – Lindsay Bishop

Hack #2: Be smart with storage. Lindsay found big pretty baskets for storage on her upper shelves. Molly found a crib that had a drawer under the mattress, used drawer dividers in the dresser to keep things organized, and found a wall sconce vs. a table lamp to light the room without using counter space.  She strategically hid the bulkier storage containers with neutral curtains. Emily even created her own “closet” out of the built-ins in the room.

“We found a crib with storage underneath and use it for swaddles – every little bit counts. In her dresser, we only have one drawer filled with clothes that actually fit her, the rest of her clothes are in baskets tucked away.  We can swap in the new size once she grows out of the current one.” – Molly Bugler

“We were limited on storage with no closet, so we removed one of the shelves in the built-in bookcase to create our own closet. This has been a huge help.” – Emily Mulcahy

Are you working on preparing for baby’s arrival?  Check out these two helpful guides:

  1. Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist
  2. Hospital Bag Packing List


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