1. Don't Buy a Play Kitchen. This image is of my daughter in her makeshift play kitchen. It's a table top apparatus that folds up. It's brilliant because my children don't always want to play with the same things every day. I can pull this out along with her tea set, and she sets to work right away arranging her kitchen. After a few days when it stops being played with, it can go back onto the shelf, and we reclaim the play table. As for play food? My children are happy to use legos and blocks, which I also think encourages the imagination, though I have to admit that didn't fly very well on a recent play date. 2. Use Stackable Or Foldable Chairs. The chair she's sitting in? Also a space saver! It's a stackable from IKEA. Stackable or folding chairs are a real apartment gem, be it for the children or their parents. 3. Use Tables That Do Double Duty. As for the play table, try finding a good looking one that can double as a coffee table. Or use their play table, as we do, as a side table for your couch.
4. Find Other Items That Can Be Made Flat. The dollhouse is another thing that can take up massive real estate. We've fixed that one too. Ours is foldable, and can be tucked away under a bed if it sits idle. I've been unsuccessful finding this one as it's a relic from my own childhood, but there are foldable dollhouses out there that come apart in two strips of plywood.
5. Don't Fear the Toddler Bed. Toddler beds catch a lot of flack. They're an unnecessary piece of furniture many say, and if you can skip straight from the crib to a twin bed, I applaud you. Yet space constraints make it an absolute necessity for this stage. Next up, we plan to loft a play space / bunk bed, but we would like to wait until the children are slightly older.
6. Look Up for Storage. Create storage where needed. Our daughters' small room has a tiny closet, so we made one. We originally hung curtains up but preferred the open look. Everyone's spaces and needs are different. What's worked for you? What hasn't? (Images: Elisabeth Wilborn) MORE SPACE-SAVING POSTS ON APARTMENT THERAPY: • Small Play Kitchens & Stove Tops • To Be or Not To Be: The Toddler Bed • Space Saving Toys for Small Homes