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How one Manhattan couple made way for baby number two in their two-bedroom—for less than $1,000

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It's a New York City real estate dilemma as old as time: how to reconfigure a bedroom so it can be shared by two kids of different ages (and furniture needs). Here's how one couple came up with a prescription for the problem.

The clients: Allison (who requested that her last name not be used) and her husband have been living in the same two-bedroom Upper East Side co-op for seven years. Five years ago, they welcomed a daughter into the 150-square-foot second bedroom, but with a baby boy due any day,  they knew they'd have to make some tweaks to the space to make it all fit.

The mission: For guidance, they hired a junior designer from HomePolish who came to the apartment for four hours and gave advice and offered design ideas. "We realized that we're not in a place to move to a larger apartment now and wanted to pay maybe $5,000 tops to make our apartment comfortable for a family of four," she says.

The solution: Allison thought she'd have to make a lot of changes to the kids' bedroom, but as it turns out, she only had to shift some things around, buy a couple of small items, and get rid of one piece of furniture—a section of the Pottery Barn Cameron bookshelf system, which the designer thought was a great way to store things. Allison kept two-thirds of it, and gave the rest to a neighbor to make way for the baby's changing table—that would be taken out from storage (around $700 from Pottery Barn; it'll turns into a regular dresser once the baby is older); they added a crib and put a small table ($99) and lamp between the crib ($499, from Pottery Barn) and her older daughter's bed. 

Here's how the room looks from the doorway:

At the advice of the designer, she also removed the headboard from her daughter's bed to make the space feel more open (it was a matter of screwing it off, and a neighbor helped).

And, unsurprisingly (it's practically the cardinal rule of NYC decorating), they were told to make use of vertical space by adding  some shelves: two acrylic ones from Land of Nod ($34 each ) and one wooden one from Pottery Barn (about $50) above their daughter's bed and the changing table. 

Sorting through toys and throwing some out helped too (but it always does, doesn't it?)

Voila—a room ready for two. Allison's advice for others in the same boat? "Don't be afraid to get help and to play around with the layouts." Also, keep an eye out for sales. Allison made use of Labor Day sales to buy some of the furniture (FYI: January/February is when the next big sales will happen). "We've saved ourselves the hassle—and expense—of moving for at least another three years," she says.

***This story originally posted on November 11, 2015.

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