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Our 500 Sq Ft Apartment: The Kids Room

The Master Bedroom is the biggest room in the whole house but we decided to give it to the kids. One of the problems we had to resolve with this apartment was the living room was really small. In past apartments that was the biggest room and the space we spent most of our time in. But in the new living room there was no place for a desk or toys. When we realized that we usually only spent time in our bedroom at night it made sense to give the bigger room to the kids so that they could also use it as a playroom. The only tricky part is the closet is off the master bedroom so we have to go to their room to change clothes. Luckily the apartment is so small, we don’t have to go far. We finished setting up the apartment so it was functional and had gotten most of the main pieces into place but I didn’t feel like it was finished. So I asked my friend Jaimie from Furbish (and the great blog i suwanee) to help me finish it. It was so nice to have someone with a fresh set of eyes and armed with pillows to come in to tell me to move art around and have opinions. She is lovely and so is her store. A special thanks to Heather Zweig who took the photos and is always so great to work with.

boys-room-1-(1)1 boys-room-1-(1)2


click through for all the photos and sources.

Most people skip toddler beds and go right to twin beds. We realized in our tiny space two twin beds take up a lot more room so we stuck with toddler beds. The vintage Persian rug we bought off Craigslist a few years ago. I originally intended to sell it but it fit perfectly in the space it made sense to keep it. The magnet wall (see DIY here) is one of my favorite little corners of the room. The kids play with it all the time and it uses the tricky space behind the door that would have just been a boring blank wall otherwise. I got the little wall lamps for $30 in France (we changed the electric) I’m a big believer in wall lamps next to beds. It may have something to do with the two lamps I have knocked over in a sleepy haze but I just like having something sturdy next to the bed.

Sources: Toddler Beds – Jenny Lind from Craigslist, Vintage Persian Rug – from Craigslist, Accordion Wall Lamps – BHV in Paris, MidCentury Modern Sidetable – Alameda Flea Market, Lemon Pillow – Jonathan Adler,  Navy Greek Key Pillows – Furbish, Ball Lights -bought in Paris, Striped Duvet -Ikea (I modified it to fit a toddler bed) Polka Dot Duvet – Made from this Heather Ross fabric, Dragonfly and Seahorse – From Petit Pan, Andiamo the Dog – Blabla, Crocheted Airplane – Anne Claire Petit, Stuffed Pretzel – Kiosk

We bought the Orbit light fixture from The Curiosity Shop when it closed down recently (sniff, sniff). I really love it and think it makes such a big difference in the room. The closet is pretty big and deep but it had one rod going across the closet and a few shelves up tall. There was a lot of space not being utilized. One thing we’ve learned after living in city apartments is to get an organizational unit for the closets. We used the Elfa system from the Container Store and tripled our closet space. Since that is our only closet it makes a big difference. We keep the boys’ clothes in the grey dresser with drawers down low so they can get dressed themselves. We also found a small yellow loveseat off Craigslist that fits in the corner.

Sources: Orbit Chandlier – right here, Palm Pillows – Furbish, Green Artwork – Leif, Grey Dresser – Craigslist, Gold Elephant – Furbish, Bookends – Furbish, Black and White hamper – Furbish

There are so many good ways to store toys but we’ve always stuck to the “low open shelf” system. I like that the kids can see the toys and that everything has a place. (We keep the not-as-cute Angry Bird toys under the sofa.) I love the big print with children playing, one of my good friends Aubrey gave it to me.

Sources: Artwork with children – Aubrey Trinnaman, Stuffed Alligator – Land of Nod, Toy Accordian – Amazon, Tin Robots – Pearl River Mart.

I’m obsessed with these bookshelves from Book/Shop. They are so beautifully made and are low to the ground, perfect for little hands.

Sources: Bookshelves – Book/Shop, It’s Beautiful Here Coatrack – Heath Nash Bear Masks – Amazon, Pink Wig – Amazon

photos by Heather Zweig for Oh Happy Day
assisted by Jessica Heywood

  1. anna

    April 3, 2013

    love love love the lighting!

  2. Melyssa

    April 3, 2013

    What a great use of space! I love the kids’ backpacks, collection of globes, and robot collection! Such cute toys. I also dig that magnet wall. Heck, I could use that! My apartment is even tinier…about half the size! I need to employ some of these strategies for using my space. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


  3. Kirsten

    April 3, 2013

    I love seeing all the details in this room! Every time you’ve posted pictures in the past I’ve been hoping a post like this would come around, with all the fabulous details 🙂 🙂
    One question – are the toy shelves you have hung on the wall by Elfa as well? Or somewhere else? they seem like a great option for toy storage.

      • jordan
      • April 3, 2013

      The shelving is just the standard stuff from our local hardware store.

  4. nzle

    April 3, 2013

    Ditto with the question about the sourcing of the shelves — are they very sturdy/solid wood? I’ve been wanting to install white shelving along a wall of my (similarly tiny) apartment.

  5. Abby

    April 3, 2013

    Love this! I love the simpleness of everything and how cute it all works together! Love. Did I say love?

  6. courtney odle

    April 3, 2013

    LOVE IT! I too am (now) obsessed with those book shelves… I can see those all over my house.

      • jordan
      • April 3, 2013

      Seriously, we love them!

  7. Samantha @ Blissfully Bossy

    April 3, 2013

    What a fun, exciting and interactive environment for your kids! I remember what you said in your other post about adding books and accessories in order to make the room look homey, not smaller. This room is exactly that! 🙂

  8. meg

    April 3, 2013

    What a cute room. Love what you did with the space!

  9. l o v e l y t h i n g s

    April 3, 2013

    I love this room…it’s filled with love! Every little detail is thoughtful and beautiful. I love those open shelves and your globe collection . I somehow had not heard of Furbish…I’m happy to know about that wonderful source. Yes…you do have beautiful light in your apartment…I was just reading your last post.

  10. Maggie Zam

    April 3, 2013

    Sooooo cute! I especially love that coat rack! : )

  11. Juja

    April 3, 2013

    Wow, it´s so lovely!

    The colors are friendly and i love the wall with the letters.
    The wardrobe is also pretty cool and the robots! I mean i love robots! 🙂

  12. kelly rae

    April 3, 2013

    Adore the shelf with all the toys placed on it. The stuffed pull toy is amazing!!!

  13. sofy

    April 3, 2013

    I can’t help notice that you have a lot of globes 🙂

      • jordan
      • April 3, 2013

      Ha – it’s true! We’ve been collecting them for a while now. 🙂

  14. Jorden

    April 3, 2013

    Jordan, what a delightful room! I’d love to know your framing techniques for the artwork to the left of the bed (I believe it is the same way you have the boobs framed in your living room, and a couple of other things throughout your house). If you ever have the time to do a post, it’d be helpful. I know I’m always looking for affordable, fresh framing ideas. Thanks for sharing your home.

  15. Becky Loose From The Zoo

    April 3, 2013

    these posts always inspire me to stop looking at fancy chic furniture sites and get creative with second hand steals. it’s the best!


      • jordan
      • April 3, 2013

      it’s coming!

  16. shanya

    April 3, 2013

    I too am in love with all the details of this room! Please will you share a place to source a beautifully crafted globe (in blue) – I see you have quite a collection!

      • jordan
      • April 3, 2013

      Hi Shanya! The globes are from a bunch of different places. We’ve been collecting them for years (some were gifts, some are from thrift stores, some are from flea markets, etc.) If you don’t want to take the time searching for them, there’s always a few different versions available on Amazon. Hope that helps!

  17. Cristina

    April 3, 2013

    clever and lovely room! What a nice job!

  18. Emily

    April 3, 2013

    Yay! I’m glad I’m not the only one who did the master bedroom idea. We moved from a 5 bedroom house in Utah to a 2 bedroom apartment in NY and I realized that putting my two boys in the master not only gave them space to play, but closet room for all their things (and my winter coats). The things that don’t fit in my closet I keep under my bed in containers to sort of mimic dresser drawers.

    I also opted for bunk beds (my kids don’t fit in toddler beds anymore) with a drawer underneath that serves as their dresser space. Your closet picture has got my mind thinking of jumping into a closet system – what we have now is big and spacious, but just not as useful as it could be.

      • jordan
      • April 3, 2013

      Definitely get a closet system. They’re worth it (in my opinion.)

  19. angela

    April 3, 2013

    Can you tell me where you got the
    Its beautiful here sign.

      • jordan
      • April 3, 2013

      The sign is by Heath Nash (

  20. kirsty

    April 3, 2013

    where is the felted ball garland from? I think they are felted balls. love them!!

      • jordan
      • April 3, 2013

      Good question! I’ll be talking more about these little gems in the next few weeks – so stay tuned!!

  21. Sally from Little Hiccups

    April 3, 2013

    We did the same thing in our apartment and gave the biggest bedroom to our two daughters (ages 2 and 6). I had hoped that we’d be able to keep all of their toys etc in their bedroom and keep our small combined lounge/dining/kitchen area pretty free. Unfortunately I hadn’t taken into account the garden of bamboo outside their bedroom window. The longer we’ve been here the thicker the bamboo has grown and the darker their bedroom has become 🙁 As a result they spend most of their time (with most of their toys!) in the small living area.
    We’re on the search for a new apartment so I’ll be making sure this time that their bedroom gets plenty of natural light!
    P.S. Love how you’ve decorated the boys’ room 🙂

  22. rue du tambour

    April 3, 2013

    It´s perfect! adorable!

  23. Lucy Mitchell

    April 4, 2013

    Theres a kids book by John Burningham called The Magic Bed that this room reminds me of. The bed in the story isnt the same as your kids beds, but its kinda like them. Beautiful room by the way!

  24. lyndsay

    April 4, 2013

    hooray… love your sons’ room… and very honourable to give them the master bedroom 😉 !!

    bright and cheery and everything has a place, so cute and inviting for a kid to play in! my little guy teddy has that same stripey shirt blabla doll doggy… we call him andy! ^__^

    loving your apartment posts!

  25. Nikki

    April 5, 2013

    What I would give for those ball lights! If you ever DIY them or find something similar, please share!!

  26. Erin

    April 6, 2013

    I really like the sofa fabric – looks kid friendly and soft! Do you have a source for it – or can you recommend a similar one?

      • jordan
      • April 6, 2013

      It is from Crate and Barrel!

  27. Allison

    April 8, 2013

    I love the pink wig hanging with the masks. In fact, I’m quite jealous of it.

  28. Sarah

    April 10, 2013

    Hi, I love the backpack ball-shaped hangers on the wall! Where are they from? thanks!

  29. Susan

    April 10, 2013

    I just love this room! The felt garland is the perfect touch of color…did you make them….please do share… 🙂

    So very happy that I found this blog!

  30. S

    April 12, 2013

    what a wonderful room, and the magnet wall is brilliant! very inspiring. I have seen those ball lights on visits to Paris! they are raffia or the like, not felt, yes? They are wonderful – they come in all the colours of the rainbow and you choose the colours you want out of big containers… I always want to bring them home but can never fit them in my luggage!

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