Family Living Style

Small Apartment, Big Family…How We Make it Work

We have a 1 bedroom apartment, and three kids.

Yup.  It’s cozy up in our home.

When we first moved from NYC back to Los Angeles, my husband and I arrived with a couple of suitcases and some photos in tow.  We basically owned whatever fit in the car we drove cross country in.  We stayed at a cheap hotel in the valley and every morning we drove around looking for an apartment to rent.  We stumbled upon our place, walked in, fell in love with it and asked if we could move in that night.  It was walking distance to my husband’s work so we wouldn’t need to get another car.  It had great character with crown molding and an insane amount of light.  More importantly it felt more like a home than an apartment with a huge living room, separate dining room, 1.5 baths and a small small den. For the two of us and our dog Riley, it was the perfect amount of space, and when I got pregnant with our first, the den became the sweetest little nursery.

When I got pregnant again, things started to get cozy.  We rearranged furniture and put a crib in our decent sized bedroom.  It was tight but it worked.  When our second got older, we decided to move the boys into the bedroom together and turn the den into a little playroom.

Inspired by studio apartment living in NYC, we put our bed in the living room and the boys in our only bedroom.  It worked out perfectly.  With the boys back in the bedroom, we could stay up at night without fear of waking them.  All their toys got stuffed away in the den and the bedroom.  They had three different places to play during the day.  And best of all at night we didn’t have toys strewn about our living space.  It was working.

Then I got pregnant again.  The reality of 5 people in a 1 bedroom apartment seemed laughable.  But as we searched for apartments, we couldn’t find something in our budget with more space in an area near our son’s school.  So, we decided to figure it and make it work.  I mean people raise families larger than ours in even smaller spaces, right?

We shifted the living room yet again to make space for the baby swing, a mini bassinet and a rolling cart with baby essentials (diapers, wipes, burp cloths, etc.).  We made sure we had the best baby gear for small apartment living: items that would take up little to no space and not look out-of-place in a living room.

We rearranged the boys’ room so that it would work for all three.  The rocking chair was put in the corner, changing table stayed with a diaper caddy on each end for the two different diaper sizes.  We shifted the boys’ beds so that there was a large play space in the center of the room so that I could nurse the baby from the rocking chair and keep an eye on the boys at the same time.  We moved a ton of books and a couple bins of baby toys into their room along with some big boy toys.  And now, with a large open space in the center of the room we wanted a nice rug for them to play on the hardwoods.

One of the big things you need to do when you have a small space is be really particular about the things you choose to fill it with.  Finding high quality pieces that fit and maximize your space is so important.  For us, having things that can withstand the wear and tear of young kids, that also are nice looking is an absolute priority.  I knew I wanted to get a Lorena Canals rug because they are the BEST for kid spaces.  They are machine washable which means any spit up, sticky fingers, blow out diapers, and lord knows what else can easily be cleaned off it.  We have the Lorena Canals ABC Washable Rug in Black in our play room and it’s great because it is super comfy to sit or lay on (no itchy wool for our eczema-prone kiddos) and can easily be pushed aside when they want to race cars or build on the hardwoods.

For the boys’ room, we fell in love with the Lorena Canals Hippy Stars rug in Natural.  It fits perfectly in their room and works with both the mixed age style of the room.  It’s got a classic look that also is pure and simple allowing it to blend with both the sports decor and the baby items.  I also love that I can put the baby down on it and let her roll around, knowing if she spits up or has a blow out diaper I can pop it in the wash and it’s good as new.  And as I’m rocking the baby, my toddler can push it out of the way by himself when he gets frustrated because it’s ‘too bumpy’ for driving cars on.

People look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them we have 3 kids in a 1 bedroom apartment.  But it can totally work.  Will it work forever? Probably not.  If you are in love with your home but feel it’s too small, get creative.  Get inspired by NYC and the land of shoebox living.  Take a step back and rethink your space.

I fought it for a while, but there are so many things I love about living in a cozy small apartment that I’m sure I will miss when we move.  The bonding that happens when your kids share a room is priceless.  Yes, there are nights when they keep each other up, annoy each other and ‘hate‘ sharing ‘everything‘.  But, sharing a room brings them closer and teaches them how to share their space with others.

Because we have limited real estate we are very selective about the ‘stuff’ we acquire.  We purge and donate often, and really limit the toys and ‘things’ that we keep.  Living in close quarters also allows me to know where everyone is at all times and hear when things are going downhill fast.  Sharing a small apartment is cozy and sweet.  It is also sometimes messy, cluttered and too close for comfort.  But all in all, we love our happy little home and it works (for now).

Honestly, if we had a yard I would probably stay forever. But we don’t, and the older the boys get, the more they bounce off the very close walls.  So for now we will huddle up for the winter and perhaps come spring venture out into a more spacious place.

*This post was written in partnership with Lorena Canals.  All opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.

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1 Comment

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    February 8, 2019 at 1:39 am

    This is awesome. As long as love fills a home, the size of it doesn’t matter! Great read.

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