Making a Studio Apartment Work with a Baby

Warning: This is a DIY post. If you don’t know what that stands for, don’t read.

The average home size in America is 2,125 feet, according to the National Association of Home Builders. That equals about 200 square meters.

The average apartment in Paris (that we can afford) goes from literally a closet to three hundred seventy square feet. We live in a 30 square meter studio, or 322 square feet. Does that qualify us to be featured in this blog? 

And we’re lucky! My French host family told me that someone they knew went to live in Paris in a 9 square meter place. Whew. That would be tight.

tiny apartment

At least we don’t have to roll our bed under the kitchen like this lucky lady.

But we do have to get creative since our apartment is split between three flatmates: and one of them gets pretty grumpy if she doesn’t get her 8 – 8 sleep and naps in between. I’m talking about you, Dave.

Just kidding. :-)

In all seriousness, we didn’t think keeping our papoose in a studio would present a challenge, but she really does sleep better in a pitch black room. On top of that, she is tall enough to completely see over the rail of her crib. If she sees us, c’est foutu. (Let’s just say this means “we’re in a pickle.”) So we needed to basically create a nursery in a studio, out of nothing. Hmm. Nothing a little furniture rearrangement couldn’t handle! 

Here’s a little terrible floor plan sketch for ya’ to see how things were when we first moved in. Too bad I didn’t have the time to make one like this at Hi Sugarplum blog.

1st layout

Yes, I did call my bookshelf a bookstore. Whoops.

Here you can see the layout. Nice and open.

Studio layout

The crib kind of migrated all over the place. There was no good place to put it. Man. We really had nothing! Not even the couch yet. Look at all the room in that armoire! Then it got cold. Really cold. We froze our fesses off. Then we shopped. No one is allowed to look in the armoire now, haha. Seriously, though, don’t go in there.

Here you can see the dinner table (and the entry to kitchen behind it) and a little of the desk on the left. Parisian Studio

Don’t mind the destruction on the porch. Yes, we cleaned out a lot of cardboard that first week. If you ignore it, you can see the bookshelf bookstore behind it.

Long story short, that arrangement wasn’t working for the baby. Poor Dave. Every day he came home the house was rearranged.

Here’s another terrible sketch of our current floor plan. 2nd floor plan

Along the way, our landlord swapped out the old bed for a loft bed, which we love, and picked up a rug for the apartment. I just brought the bookshelf inside from off of the porch and moved the armoire against the side of the loft bed to create a divider. Between the bookshelf and the armoire, the office/dining room are cut off, the living area is defined and baby has a petite nursery that gets nice and dark for naps. See?



The bookshelf feels as though it is part of the wall, helping to divide the areas into “rooms”.

bedroom nursery

Below the loft and behind the armoire is Princess Adelaide’s crib, so that small space is her nursery. At least she’s not in a closet…


Here’s the view from the couch. Our apartment is so small that I can’t get far enough away for a good picture. Let’s do a video instead.

And that, dear readers, is how you make a studio apartment work with a baby.  Things in the apartment are still very much unfinished. For example, I’d like to hang a curtain for the baby’s room and hang art, put up some book shelves, and somehow make the back of the bookshelf look, well, nice. Actually, I’d love to do everything in this book by Young House Love. If it’s free, it may actually happen.

Have you ever lived in a small, relationship-enhancing home? Ever said mi casa es su casa in a studio? Done crazy things to get your baby to sleep?

À la prochaine!


2 responses to “Making a Studio Apartment Work with a Baby

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