Living in a Small Apartment with Kids in NYC

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Living in a small apartment with kids in NYC can be a challenge, but people do it every day. How comfortably they do it depends on how they make use of the available space in their homes. The tips below offer ways to live with kids in small NYC apartments

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When it comes to living with kids in NYC, figuring out how to make a small apartment grow in size, without it actually growing in size, is a dilemma for New Yorkers all over the city. There are several reasons why you may not or cannot move: You own your apartment and are hoping for an adjacent apartment to open up so that you can combine the two, or you’re reluctant to leave the city and won’t leave the apartment until you can afford to buy something bigger. Whatever the reason, you need to stay in your current space, and you’d like to make it as comfortable as possible for the entire family. Following are some tips that can help you modify your space for living with kids in NYC.

Make Use of Little or Unused Space

See if there are under-utilitized spaces in your apartment. If you’ve got really high ceilings, you’ve already won the housing “architectural feature” lottery. High ceilings are the Illusionists of the architecture world, making even small spaces seem massive. Speak with an architect and see if you’ve got enough room to add another level via the installation of a loft space/sleeping loft. A well-placed loft space can instantly double the size of a room, increasing the amount of usable space. If there’s a nook in your apartment, co-opt it and use it for sleeping space for a baby.

Temporary Walls

Forget shoji screens; hire a company to install a non-load bearing wall that can turn a one-bedroom into a two-bedroom (or three-bedroom, even!) in a single afternoon. Temporary wall companies like Room Dividers NY can help you figure out the best way to split an apartment into a space that provides privacy for the parents, while giving kids space to move around. If you rent, check with your landlord to see if he/she would be open to installing the walls for you before you move in. If the landlord won’t pay for it, at least find out if you can install them yourself. The great thing about these walls is that they’re easy to install and they don’t leave a trace when they’re removed.

You can choose simple walls or install ones that have features like closets, French doors, pocket doors, or giant panels of gorgeous glass. Make sure that you build rooms that have windows in them; NYC building codes require that a room must have a window in order for it to be considered habitable. Choose a company that won’t charge you to take the wall down when you’re ready to move on. The Living Space Company is one of the most popular and well-respected temporary wall companies, but other great options include Manhattan Pressurized Walls and All Week Walls.

Streamline Storage Areas

Stuff makes spaces seem smaller. In a room filled with clutter, your eye has too many places to flutter around and seek out, leaving it no place to rest. The resulting feeling makes people feel restless and unsettled. Throw a couple of kids into the mix, and you have unbearably tight quarters.

Investing in a space-saving storage system can make all the difference in how your small space looks and feels with kids. If you own your space, speak with an interior designer about creating built-in storage. A wall of storage can seamlessly blend into a room while brilliantly hiding away everything from toys and school books to linens and plates. Your eye will be tricked into thinking there’s an endless expanse of space in the room.

Image Source: Flickr/Phalinn Ooi

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