Small Space Play Area

We’re taking advantage of all the city has to offer while we can (until we outgrow our condo with our little one), but that has meant getting creative with a small space play area. After Christmas and Sofia’s 1st birthday, toys were everywhere. We don’t have storage to rotate things in and out, so I had an idea to utilize the empty space behind our couch. 

Side note: check out this post with the best toys and gifts for 1-year-olds!

Here’s what I did to create our small space play area, which was both easy and affordable: bought an 8-cubby cube shelf for $40, added 4 bins, put down a row of a play mat we already had (almost identical, much cheaper version here) and set up her kitchen, a few other bigger toys and a small book cubby.


Kitchen Set / Farmer’s Market Set
Plastic Fruits / Soft Fruits & Veggies
Book Cubby / Push Ice Cream Truck / Bike
White Cube Storage / Navy Cube Bins
Play Mat (similar, under $60 HERE)

EverEarthTM Garden Activity Cube
Decorative Coiled Rope Floor Basket White - ThresholdTM
Leana Kids 16.5" H x 25" W Pine Book Caddy
Melissa & Doug Playtime Produce Fruits Play Food Set With Crate (9pc)
11" Square Coiled Rope Basket Gray - ThresholdTM
Decorative Storage 30" H x 43.98" W Cube Bookcase
Tender Leaf Toys Home Kitchen
Farmers' Market Stall Play Set
Kitchen Range Toy Play Set Assorted
13" Decorative Coiled Rope Square Base Tapered Basket Cream - ThresholdTM
11" Decorative Coiled Rope Square Base Tapered Basket Cream - ThresholdTM
32" Carson Horizontal Bookcase with Adjustable Shelves - ThresholdTM
37.2" Carson 6 Bin Organizer Bookcase - ThresholdTM
13" 4-Cube Organizer Shelf - ThresholdTM
6 Cube Organizer Shelf 13" - ThresholdTM
11" 6-Cube Organizer Shelf - Room EssentialsTM
11" 8 Cube Organizer Shelf - Room EssentialsTM
2pc Folding Toy Storage Bin Set - RiverRidge

There are so many cube shelves like this out there to keep your small space play area organized – just make sure you buy storage bins that are the right size. For the $40 cube storage I bought, I needed 11” cubes and went with these simple ones that come in lots of colors. We do also have and love these rope bins in other rooms that come in both 11” and 13” and both off-white and grey (and also in versions that are half the height).

We love Sofia’s Tender Leaf Toys kitchen set she got for Christmas and we put the farmer’s market set from the same brand next to it. That originally came with smaller wooden fruits and vegetables and I swapped them out for other sets while she’s putting everything in her mouth. This is also a cute similar kitchen set that’s smaller.

Board books seem nearly impossible to contain around here, so we not only have a couple shelves within the cube storage area for books, but also this small book cubby (similar option here). I like rotating the books on that shelf because they are easy for her to pick and choose.

Not shown here is another toy area on the other side of our living room. We removed the picture frames from our TV stand and replaced them with four low bins that are home to blocks, cups, cars and more books. And then next to that is this activity cube and a bigger rope bin with other miscellaneous toys. Lastly, we keep out toys like her Fisher-Price Little People farm and dollhouse since she plays with them often, though both do fold up.

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