Looking to live in a new apartment with a kid or two (or even three or four)? Finding the perfect apartment for a family can be challenging, especially when many units seem to be geared towards young professionals or empty nesters. But you can find a place that works for the whole family as a renter — you’ll just need to keep an eye out for these three key features when apartment hunting.
And if you’re looking to make your current apartment living situation a bit more child friendly, we can help with that, too. Keep reading to find out what you can do to make raising young children in an apartment so much easier.
Look for Flex Space
If an apartment with an additional bedroom isn’t in your budget, don’t stress. Instead, be on the lookout for rental properties with flex space, aka, space that can be co-opted into a sleeping or storage area, like a reading nook or one half of an L-shaped room. Some apartments have designated flex spaces within them — often meant for a home office — but this type of space can be easily repurposed into a nursery or playroom.
A separate dining room can also double as an extra bedroom, and if you’re really in a pinch, a temperature-controlled walk-in closet can be a great place for a small crib and dresser or play area. Remember, babies don’t need much space — just a spot to sleep and a storage space for their stuff.
Keep an eye out for apartments with extra-wide hallways or spacious coves and corners. These spots can serve as small play spaces or sleeping areas for kids, and a pair of curtains can quickly provide privacy and a division of space.
Search for Ground-Floor Units (And Watch Out for Stairs!)
A ground-floor unit isn’t a must-have when looking for a kid-friendly apartment, but it will certainly make your life easier. Living in a ground-floor unit means you don’t need to worry about running and stomping little feet making too much noise for downstairs neighbors. It’s also more likely that a ground-floor unit will come with outdoor access, like an enclosed patio or deck. These types of outdoor spaces are great for providing a little extra room for kids to run around, and you don’t need to worry about height-related safety concerns like you would with an upper-story balcony.
If you can’t find a ground-floor unit, try to at least find an apartment that’s accessible with an elevator, rather than multiple flights of stairs. No one wants to trek up and down four stories with a stroller, a kid’s bike, and a few bags.
Find A Place with Proximity to Outdoor Space
One reason that people will choose to move in to an apartment building over a single-family house or townhome is its proximity to great walkable amenities. This is especially true for families, as the less time spent trying to wrangle toddlers into a car seat, the better. But there’s one thing you want to make extra sure you’re close to: great green spaces.
Whether it’s a neighborhood playground, a small park with a swing set, or a grassy courtyard provided by the apartment community, having an easily accessible place where your kids can safely run, bike, and play ensures that they’ll be able to burn off all that energy and your apartment will have a break from all that stomping and jumping. A local park or playground is also a great spot to meet other kids and families, helping you build a better community in your neighborhood.
How to Make Your Apartment More Family-Friendly
If you’re getting ready to bring a child into your home — or you’re just trying to make your space more welcoming to visiting kids — there are a few great ways to make your apartment more family friendly.
The most important thing to do is create a place for a child to sleep. This could be in a spare bedroom or home office, or it could be in a repurposed dining room or hallway. It doesn’t need to be fancy — it just needs to be safe, dark, and quiet.
Next, work on reducing noise in your apartment. To do this, hang thick curtains on windows (you can look for noise-canceling ones) and place plush rugs on hard floor surfaces and in sleeping areas. Not only will this help to keep loud noise from other apartments out, but it will also help keep any noise in your unit from spreading to your neighbors.
Finally, if you’ve got a balcony, make it a bit more kid friendly. Even if it doesn’t have ground-floor access, a balcony with railings can still be a great place for (supervised) play with the addition of water toys, a small amount of sand, and a play tent or play mats. Any extra space you can wrangle for play will keep the rest of your home that much cleaner. A balcony is also a great spot to store larger kids’ equipment, like bikes and strollers, especially if it’s covered.
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