Mom playing on the bedroom floor with toddler.
Credit: Erin Derby

This NYC Apartment Has Only One Bedroom — See the Inspiring Storage and Play Solutions That Transformed It for 3 Kids

published Mar 9, 2023
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Names: Asher (6-year-old son) and Aliya and Aleph (2.5-year-old twins)
Room type: Shared primary bedroom
Size: 145 square feet/14.5’x10’
DIY or professional project: The bedroom design was 100 percent DIY.
Budget: “Everything cost around $2,500, which is less than what moving costs alone would be if we went to a bigger, more expensive two-bedroom apartment.”
As told by: Mom, Jenny Davis

Sharing any size home with three kids can be a challenge, but sharing a 650-square-foot one-bedroom rental apartment with three little kids is downright impressive. Jenny Davis, mom to 6-year-old son, Asher, and 2.5-year-old twins, Aliya and Aleph, has lived in this one-bedroom NYC apartment with her husband, Cory, for a staggering 15 years (it has seen many different style and layout evolutions). The small home’s current iteration — with the kiddos sharing the apartment’s only bedroom and the parents sleeping on a Murphy bed in the entryway — might be the most inspiring, idea-packed one yet. 

Credit: Erin Derby

Whether you’re looking for inspiration on how to make a shared kids’ room more functional or just want to be in awe about how Jenny Davis and her family did it, we’ve got tons of inspiring, actionable, and affordable ideas below!

Credit: Erin Derby

The problem Jenny was solving for.

“When I was planning the setup, I had a hard time figuring out how best to fit three beds in there without sacrificing the art area. I looked at Murphy twin beds, but they were too expensive, and most bunk beds only accommodated two kids. The ready-made choices were limited, so I ended up modifying one to make it work,” she explains.

Credit: Erin Derby

The kids sleep on a mix of bunk and Montessori floor beds.

Three people (even currently small ones) sharing one bedroom has never looked as effortless as the setup Jenny crafted here. “I love the bunk bed I modified to fit all three of our kids. It was originally a twin over full bunk bed, but we moved the lower bar to the middle so I could put two Montessori floor beds underneath for the twins. Behind the bed is palm leaves wallpaper in a calming green. It’s meant to feel like a tree house and each kid has a window in their sleep spot. It creates an imaginative, special space for them to sleep in, and it was relatively affordable and easy to set up.”

Credit: Erin Derby
Credit: Apartment Therapy Media

An entire wall is dedicated to versatile storage solutions and an interactive magnet board .

Although the apartment sports a handful of closets, there can never be too much storage, so they employed a floor-to-ceiling system to house both out-of-season clothing as well as easy-for-the-kids-to-reach everyday clothing. Not letting any space get wasted, there’s also a kid-height magnet board for interactive play. 

Credit: Erin Derby

The IKEA-hacked art table is honestly ingenious.

“My favorite DIY is the long art table in my kids’ bedroom,” explained Jenny in her latest house tour. “ It looks expensive and it fits perfectly in the space. All three of my kids can comfortably work on it — standing or sitting — and it’s made entirely of recycled closet storage. The side drawers used to be clothing drawers I had in my closet (before it became my workspace) and the top is a closet shelf from tenants that moved out.”

Credit: Erin Derby

An adorable reading nook makes use of otherwise wasted space.

A small floor cushion coupled with cute and colorful children’s book shelves (Marie Kondo Bookshelves from The Container Store) transform a tiny spot near the bedroom’s entrance into an adorable and cozy reading nook. 

Credit: Erin Derby

FLOR rugs were game-changers for the room.

“We had one in our play area and added one to the kids’ room,” Jenny explains. “What’s brilliant about this rug is it’s made up of square tiles that can be individually washed or replaced, and it can be cut to fit any space. The rug in our play area has a small extension under the toy hub that makes the area look so much bigger, and I made it wall-to-wall in the bedroom. It’s really high-quality and they have beautiful prints. And when it’s time to replace a square tile, they’ll take it back and recycle it. It’s a win-win-win situation for design, your wallet, and the environment.” Jenny went with FLOR’s “In Stitches” pattern.

Here’s what makes the space so special to Jenny and her family.

“The bedroom is now more open, bright, and inviting, with multiple zones to create and imagine, and by night it’s dreamy and cozy. I love that the kids are now together in their own space.”

And what do the kids think?

“I like being in the same room as Aleph and Aliya. And I like being on top so I can see everything from up high.” —Asher, 6

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