Mini cribs transform your small space into something your kid can snooze in

Guest post by Karen
Author's 14-month old daughter stretched out in her mini crib.

For soon-to-be parents short on space, arranging a baby room can feel a bit like a game of Tetris. In our case we were dealing with an old house, a 10×10 room, and existing hand-me-down furniture — so every square inch of vertical space counted. We were stoked when we first found out about mini cribs. For reasons that escape me they’re pretty unpopular, but if you’re in a similar living situation you might want to get one in your home ASAP.

What makes a mini crib “mini”

Mini cribs are the same width front-to-back as their standard-sized counterparts, but are only 38 inches long. This saves you a foot in length compared to the standard 52 inches. PLUS mini cribs can convert to twin or single-sized beds — standard cribs go all the way up to a full.

Ariel's son's mini crib walk-in closet nursery.

The unpopular choice

Honestly, I have no idea why more people aren’t excited about mini cribs! When my husband and I went furniture shopping the standard-sized cribs seemed so… enormous… as if they were big enough to comfortably accomodate our neighbor’s four-year-old. There were warnings online that a mini crib wouldn’t be enough space and that we’d have to upgrade at some point. Our larger-than-average girl has never been cramped — even when she’s loaded up with a collection of toys, blankets, and feeding supplies. Our crib will also easily last until we upgrade her to a floor bed.

Unpopularity = hard to find

The problem with mini cribs is that since they are unpopular, they’re harder to find and equip the way you want them. Brick and mortar stores will often only carry a few mini crib models (if they have any at all) and some times they won’t even have bedding or mattresses that fit! To make things even more confusing, mini crib accessories are often sold under “portable crib” gear — while the sizes are close, they can vary from one manufacturer to another so you’ll have to take measurements and shop around. We ended up having to get the crib at one store, the mattress at another, and the bedding online.

Another mini crib option.

Sounds like a hassle, but for us it made a big difference. We actually bought a mini-crib with a built-in changing table on the side, which fit perfectly against the wall next to our existing drawer set and left only a few inches to spare. It was also a hundred dollars less than its full-size cousin from the same manufacturer! The mini crib was a little extra work to get, but it ended up being the perfect solution to our space problem.

Comments on Mini cribs transform your small space into something your kid can snooze in

  1. We used a mini crib with out daughter and it was fantastic! I didn’t know it was a mini crib when I bought it, then realized nothing fit it!

    It came with a very thin mattress though, so I upgraded to a thicker one meant to go in a “travel crib” but she was in it until she was ready for her toddler bed (about 22 months) and she was a TALL girl!

    We’ll likely do a mini crib with the next one as well!

  2. Wow, this is perfect timing for me. My 6 month old is about to outgrow her mini pack ‘n’ play and I’ve been stressing over needing to rearrange the whole apartment to fit in a crib. So glad to hear about this option.

  3. We love our mini cribs. Our shotgun style house is about 12 feet wide so large furniture is out.

  4. We used a mini crib with our first and second. Our oldest we moved to a floor bed at 18 months, not because she didn’t fit but because she seemed quite ready for the independence. Our youngest is 3 months old right and the crib is still in our bedroom. That is where the mini crib really shines: fitting another big piece of furniture into a bedroom is never easy, so make it as small as you can! We hope to move the baby to a floor bed before he turns one so that the transition isn’t a big ordeal like it was with his older sister.

  5. We went in between with an ikea crib. It is just a plain old crib that doesn’t take up as much room as the more popular full size crib. Mini cribs look cozy. Side note why on earth would you want to convert a crib to a full size bed? Kids get full size beds??.! I’m sure they ll love havering chew marks on it when their teenage friends come over.

    • That was probably one of the biggest things that turned us off full size cribs! Our house is small, so a mini crib was a given, but the fact that the assumption would be that you’d convert the crib into a full size bed was crazy.

    • My 18 month old has been using a full sized be since he was about one. That’s only because it’s what we already had. We tried a hand me down crib for when he was too big for the bassinet, but we never really used it. I’m glad I didn’t spend any money on tiny beds because it seems like they are only used for such a short period of time.

        • I slept in a twin bed for two years with my fiance! LOL!
          But I don’t recommend it, it was strictly out of necessity.

          And then we got a full-on crazy upgrade, when we moved a few provinces away and got a hand-me-down KING sized bed!

  6. My little brother slept in a mini crib through almost his entire infancy. Since his crib was in the living room where my mom slept at the time, (multi generational family with not enough bedrooms) saving space was essential. My sister who is three years younger also used the same crib and it worked great for her as well.

  7. We used something with a similar idea; a co-sleeper that attached to our bed. When we realized she was about to try to jump over the side, we dropped the mattress down to the bottom level. It’s kind of pack and play sized but it’s perfect for her 11 month old self and it doesn’t take up much space at all.

  8. These are hard to find, but I would love to get one. Like others here we took advantage of the sleek designed Ikea cribs (standard mattress, but less bulky frame).

    We’re converting our one-bedroom to have two baby “rooms” built into it. Here’s the progress so far (http://www.thebookofjimmy.com/bedroom-build-out-primed-and-bi-folded/). They basically take over the closet spaces in the room. One crib I built from scratch right into the wall. The other was that Ikea crib. I’d love to get smaller though.

    Our son is 20 months old, and still sleeps curled up on his knees in the corner of his crib, taking up barely any of the space he has. Even sprawled out he doesn’t take up much space.

  9. Perfect timing! My partner and I are renting from family while I go to school and needed a solution to our “one-room problem” since we won’t be in our own place until the baby is about two months old. Searching amazon now 🙂

  10. I don’t have kids so this was just something I heard. Don’t newborns prefer small spaces and some parents get a bassinet before upgrading the baby to a full-sized crib? If that’s the case, then a mini crib means one less thing to buy.

  11. My daughter spins like a top in her crib. At 9 months, we’ve just moved her to a futon floor bed. She’s sleeping much better. She’d have hated something like this – no space to move around.

  12. Hi Karen,
    Can you let me know from where you bought the mini-crib and which manufacturer? I am in nyc and 7 months pregnant. Looking for a small crib to fit out 1 bedroom apartment.

    Thanks,
    Tulika

    • We bought our mini-crib at Babies R Us as well as the sheets. We got the matress from Walmart via an Amazon search. It’s worked well for us up until now – my son is 2.5 and in the 95th percentile for height.

  13. Hi! Thanks for your post. We are in the process of looking for a mini crib right now for #3. What is the brand/name of the crib that you purchased with a changing table on the side? I would be interested in that. Thanks!

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