When you're setting up your child's nursery or bedroom, it's hard to imagine a time when your baby will no longer need a changing table, or be too big for the desk that just fits her now. But if you've suddenly got a room full of furniture your child has outgrown, don't put it on Craigslist or in the yard sale just yet -- look around your home, and you may find that these mini furniture pieces will create big storage just where you need it.
A baby's changing table is the one of the first pieces to go from the nursery. It's also one of the most versatile pieces for re-purposing throughout the house.
Changing tables with open storage underneath can create valuable storage. In large bathrooms, a changing table is the perfect place to store extra towels and toiletries, but if you're concerned that the changing table looks, well, too much like a changing table, consider adding a fabric skirt that will keep your items and the table's origins hidden. Open-storage changing tables are also good for laundry rooms, mud rooms and even larger closets, where they can be used to store shoes, gloves and mittens and other small items. Add casters to the bottom, and an open-storage changing table can make a great kitchen cart or dry bar. Cabinet-style changing tables can also be used in bathrooms, laundry rooms, mud rooms and other rooms.
Chests of Drawers
A baby or child-sized chest of drawers is often too small to hold an older child's growing wardrobe, but this small footprint makes these items perfect for smaller spaces where storage is needed, such as a bathroom, a hallway, a entry or mud room. They will also fit into larger closets, creating a perfect storage spot for lingerie and other smaller items.
When your child's legs get too long to fit comfortably under his child-sized desk, consider moving it to the bathroom, the mud room, or even your bedroom. Replace the chair with a stool or small storage ottoman, and a child's desk becomes a perfect vanity for putting on make-up in the bathroom or bedroom, or, in the mud room or entry, a great spot for sorting mail and keeping stamps, envelopes and other items handy.
If your child's desk came with a hutch, don't assume it has to stay with the desk. It may fit the low chest of drawers that came with the furniture, or another small chest or table you have. If the two items are similar in size but not in finish, unite them with a coat of paint (see below for more on painting furniture).
Re-purpose and Re-styleThat changing table or chest of drawers you've rescued may make a great storage piece, but unless it's already sporting a grown-up wood finish, it may look a little too juvenile for other rooms in your house. Solid wood furniture is easy to repaint or refinish, but laminate furniture may be a bit more challenging. Web tutorials abound with instructions for refinishing or repainting laminate furniture, but beware any instructions that don't advise you to rough up the finish with sandpaper, use a primer, and allow plenty time for curing after you've finished. Changing drawer pulls and knobs can also give your re-purposed piece a more grown-up look, as well.
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