How to Fit a Family of 6 in a 3 Bedroom House?

Updated on June 19, 2018
L.M. asks from Baltimore, MD
16 answers

We have a 3 bedroom home. I have 3 step children. My 2 stepsons ages 10 & 12 share a room & my step daughter 14 has her own room. We just found out we are expecting. Unfortunately moving to a larger home is not in our financial budget right now. How would you have the living arrangements with the new baby? FYI my step kids are only here every other weekend.

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answers from Anchorage on

For the first few months I would put baby in my room, it makes it easier for night feeding anyways. Is there any other room that could be blocked off for privacy every other weekend, like a family room? If not I would have the daughter share with the baby but keep baby in with me on the weekends daughter is visiting.

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answers from Springfield on

Our boys slept with us for the first 18 months, so this isn't even something I would be thinking about.

Even if co-sleeping isn't something you are considering, I would still want my baby in my bedroom with me. You could put a crib in your room or a bassinet (if you don't have room for a crib).

Remember, baby is going to wake up every 2 to 4 hours for at least the first 6 weeks ... possibly longer, but that depends on the baby. Some parents are ok with baby being in a different room, but I liked not having to get out of bed and walk down the hall :-)

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Baby sleeps in a bassinet in your room when the step-kids are visiting. Once the baby is ready to sleep in a real bed (a few years from now), he/she shares with the other kid(s) of the same sex and your step daughter may even be ready to go off to college.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We have a family of 7 in a 2 bedroom. Thanks to the housing bubble burst, we lost a lot of equity and could not sell when we planned to (family of 5 at the time). Then we had 2 more kids. We recently turned one of the rooms in the basement into a bedroom for my older girls who are home for the summer from college. My son who is 19 has the other bedroom on the first floor. My 10 yr old sleeps in the living room on the couch and her clothes are in a closet off the living room. My 6 yr old sleeps in my room. It is not ideal but what we make work. For the first year at least, the baby can sleep in your room. Then you take the steps available and necessary at the time changes are needed. You may find that it is not so bad or hard to see what will work.

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answers from San Francisco on

Well the baby will probably be (mostly) in your room for the first year or so anyway so that gives you a little time. I would just take it day by day until then.

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answers from Norfolk on

Baby stays with you in your room for a few years or until the 14 yr old leaves for college/moves out.
Or - I know a family of 4 where each kid (boy and a girl) has their own room and the parents use the living room as their bedroom (it's a small 2 bedroom house).
A fold out couch/bed in the living room could work out well for you if the step sons could sleep there every other weekend - but while that might work now, it could be harder when they are older.
I'm not sure if the boys will want to visit once the baby comes but you'll have to see what happens.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I'd make the 14 yr old's room the baby's room when she isn't there. You don't really have to worry about needing much extra space for the baby for quite awhile. Put a portable crib in the step daughter's room that you can move in to your room on the weekends that they are visiting. By the time that the baby comes, step daughter will be 15, by the time baby truly needs alot of extra place space in its own room, step daughter will be nearly headed to college.

You don't know what the future holds - I'd say this is pretty low on your things to worry about list.

Good luck!

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answers from Washington DC on

the baby will sleep with you, obviously.

what other option is there?

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answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia.

Sounds like you need to reconfigure your budget and figure out what you can do.

If your baby is a girl - your 14 year old will be sharing a room.

The step kids live there every other weekend? Then that's where the baby goes.

Personally? I'd look for a bigger house. Change your lifestyle to accommodate everyone. Even those who are there part-time.

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answers from New York on

You are very nice to reserve two whole rooms for three children who only visit every other weekend!

The best plan seems to be - baby sleeps on a crib / toddler bed in your room til baby is three years old. Many people do that. By that time, three years from now, the 14-year-old will be graduating from high school, turning 18, going away to college or moving to her own space and if you are tight on space she will not really need a whole room reserved for her probably more rare visits.

Alternatively, convert another "room" - basement, etc. - into an extra bedroom.

ETA: I agree with encouraging young children to sleep on their own, I like the idea from others of moving the baby into your room only when the children are visiting and need the bedrooms.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I agree, the baby can sleep with you for a while.

Here are some other options:

If you have a large walk in closet with very good ventilation - I know of a couple who put the baby's crib in there and it worked out great - they removed all the clothes and left the doors open (the ventilation was key).

A landing (quiet) where the crib can go - carve out a niche for crib/baby

We converted a room in our basement to a bedroom. It increased our home's value and gave us an advantage come selling time as being the only home in area that had an additional bedroom. All it takes is a closet/window (we just added carpet, bright paint, etc.) and a teen would be very happy with the privacy.

Do you have a storage room you could use for that purpose? It might be worth it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Maybe buy a tiny house (12x12) shed, finish it all out inside and have the oldest one go there when baby's ready for their own room, approx one year.
We bought a 3/2 for our 3 kids. The oldest one (16 at the time) is so close to graduating and moving on I couldn't justify buying a 4/2. So we bought a 10x12, made it into a nice sized room in the backyard. No plumbing so because of that she HAS to come inside ha ha. Plus she likes dinner. I could only have done it for an older kid though. 15 and up and only if you feel you could trust them. She's loved her privacy and we've loved still having her here (she's 19 now). Good luck and congrats😊

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I agree baby can sleep in your room for minimum a year.
Is there a niche or alcove somewhere in your house you could put the crib after
that year until the eldest child moves out at 18?
Is there a room in your house you could convert for the eldest teens to have as their room then convert their current room into the baby's room? Again, you would want to keep your infant/baby nearby to you for at least the first year.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I would try to convert a room for the older daughter, like if you have a dining room that really doesn't get used all that much and for the time being be made into a bedroom. You could place curtains up or if you can afford it put in french doors. I wouldn't recommend your baby sharing a room with any of you step children. I have his, hers, and ours and we were in a 3 bedroom apartment. Honestly I had 2 girls and the son in one room with a bunk bed that was full size on top and bottom and the bottom would fold up to a futon. My husbands daughter and son actually while majority of their time were with their mother they were always sleeping in the same bed until they got much older. I know it isn't completely ideal, but they are 2 boys so they could sleep on the bottom bunk and daughter on the top. Our child together I have always made sure she has her own room. I would work through your finances and try as soon as you can to get a bigger home in the future.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

the step kids could ajust to sharing a room every other weekend. or you could have the baby in that room and move baby to the girls room or your room only on nights when the boys are staying

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on can stay in your room until she or he can sleep through the night, hopefully cutting down the disruption of sleep for the older kids. But after 6-12 months, your baby will need a space that's geared towards a child his or her age. Whatever you do, involve the kids in the decision. They might come up with an idea that you didn't think of.

My first thought is, is there a basement that you can finish partly? Or a porch you can enclose, insulate and heat? If you don't, and you have decent-sized master bedroom, would it be possible to partition that room into two rooms, a bigger one for the boys and a smaller space for the girl? My ex has a two-bedroom condo and the kids stay in the master bedroom and he has the smaller room because when my step-daughter (who is 20) is home from school, there are three kids who need sleep space. My younger boys are 12 and 14 and only spend one night there a week at most. When she's home, they have one side of the room and she has the other. He's in a rental so he didn't put up a wall but if he owned the place, he would have actually added a wall to split that into two separate rooms with separate doors.

If at all possible, I would try to find a way for the 14-year-old to still have her own space when she's there. As a teenager, her schedule will be very different from that of a baby and there will be all kinds of things that she'll have (makeup, jewelry, electronics, etc.) that you would need to keep out of reach of the baby as the baby gets mobile. You don't want her coming in from a night out or work when she's 16 and waking up a toddler at midnight. You also don't want her to feel like she's getting pushed out for dad's second family, living out of a suitcase and sleeping on a pull-out couch. I guess it depends on the relationship with your step-kids too...if things are good and they (especially the girl) will welcome a new sibling then it may not be a big deal for her to have to share a space with the baby when she's there. If things are difficult though, or if it will prompt her to not come on the weekends, try to make space if you can.

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