Not many people complain that their bedroom is too big. (If you know someone who has, send them our way. We need to have a chat.) Ample square footage is a very nice problem to have in your sleeping quarters, but for those of us who are spatially challenged, that doesn't mean we have to make do with cramped, cluttered, borderline claustrophobic boudoirs.
No matter how "cozy" your setup might be, it's important that you feel comfortable — your bedroom should feel like your personal sanctuary regardless of its size. Even if your space is barely large enough for your bed, we have 15 cool decorating ideas that will definitely make a small room look bigger.
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1. Don't knock loft-style beds – they aren’t only for dorm dwellers.
For some, loft-style beds conjure childhood memories of summer camp or freshman year of college. However, cramped city living has seen a resurgence in the adolescent bunk, so don't knock it until you've tried it. Not only is this sleeping arrangement fun (you get to literally climb into bed every night!), but opting for the lofty design allows you to utilize the space below for more important things than dust bunnies. If you're working with ultra-limited square footage, opening up that floor space is invaluable. You could fit one (or two) full-size dressers under there, as proven by this petite setup spotted on Bjurfors.
2. Be strategic with your bed placement.
More often than not, your bed frame is the largest piece of furniture in your bedroom. As a result, its placement is the most critical decision you have to make when putting your cozy room together. In a tiny bedroom, you may be limited, but try out a few different arrangements to get a feel for which one works the best for you, and more importantly, appears to give you the most space. You could aim for symmetry, like this setup spotted on Adobe Living, with equal space around the bed for easy access from both sides, or opt for more floor space on one side of the bed. (This option might look the best, but it will make changing the sheets a struggle.) Consider where the electrical outlets are — you'll need easy access to those — as well as your window placement.
3. Tear down those pesky closet walls.
Have you ever thought to yourself, "If I could only remove this wall, I would have so much space?" Well, you're not alone. An enclosed closet can eat up a significant portion of your limited square footage. So if you own your home, or have a super cool landlord who is willing to let you flex your design-savvy muscles, consider tearing down that wall to create an open wardrobe. (Of course, before you start swinging the sledgehammer, make sure you do not touch any structural or load-bearing walls!) By tearing down closet walls, you'll have to find another home for all of the unsightly items that have been hiding behind closed doors, but you'll gain so much more openness since natural light will have ample room to bounce around. Avenue Design Studio shows us how it's done.
4. Install open shelving.
The name says it all: open shelving will open up your space, especially a tiny bedroom. Bulky, closed cabinets or stacks of dusty books piled in the corner can make a room feel cluttered and confined. (Do you really need the college textbooks that you haven't cracked open in years? No.) Hang some open shelving to show off your eclectic book collection, plants, and treasured tchotchkes. Installing them above your bed, like Cultiver founder Nicolle Sullivan did, will frame the space and also eliminate the need for an oversized headboard. (If you live in an earthquake-prone area, we'd recommend hanging the shelves on a wall opposite your bed.) And if you want to open things up even more, opt for shelving that's the same color as your wall paint for a barely-there effect.
5. Invest in a smaller bed.
We know, we know. You're thinking, "Don't take away my California king!" We love to roll around on an oversize bed, too, but if you're working with a small space, the big bed has to go. Although compromising is hard, downsizing to something smaller means you might have enough extra space to squeeze in that desk you've had your eye on à la this setup by Oh. Eight. Oh. Nine. That way, everything will be proportional and your bedroom will look bigger, instead of the bed taking over the whole space visually and physically.
6. Don’t be afraid of dark colors.
Instead of trying to trick the eye, embrace your very small, very charming bedroom. You're not fooling anyone, especially yourself, when you can barely walk around your bed, so lean into the coziness. Follow the lead of interior designer Tali Roth and consider a rich, dark-colored wall paint to make for a moody, sophisticated space that you'll be happy to end each night in. Complement with neutral decor — think black, white, and natural wood tones — for a dreamy bedroom feel. Not only would a black paint color look refined, but the calming effect might also contribute to a better night's sleep. And who doesn't want that?
7. Replace walls and doors with glass.
If you live in the city, you might be tempted to divide your studio apartment into multiple rooms by adding a wall. We get it — living (and potentially working) in one space can be draining. But before you finalize your floor plan, check out this scene captured by Henrik Nero and consider adding steel-framed factory-style French doors and windows instead. The industrial aesthetic, reminiscent of a greenhouse or factory, allows for a bit of privacy without sacrificing the openness and continuous flow of the design. It visually breaks up the space without physically taking up a lot of space: win-win.
8. Utilize storage opportunities under the bed.
From winter clothes to old journals, there are plenty of items we own that don't require easy access. (In fact, the harder the old journals are to access, the better. No one needs to read those.) And what better place to hide these sentimental trinkets than below your bed? By taking advantage of this under-utilized storage space, you can free up valuable square footage while decluttering your room. It's a no-brainer, really. And if you really want your under-the-bed storage to look both beautiful and intentional, take note of the matching woven baskets used in this pastoral design by Foster House.
9. Install floor-to-ceiling drapery.
One way that interior designer Rebecca Hay creates the illusion of space is by adding floor-to-ceiling drapery to the windows, which will draw the eye up and away from the small square footage. "The taller you hang the curtain rod of your drapes, the higher the ceilings will feel, which also creates a sense of grandeur in the room," says Hay. Just be sure to select light window treatments — anything too heavy will swallow up a tiny bedroom.
10. Keep your bed low to the ground.
Not all of us are fortuitous enough to wake up to luxuriously high ceilings. Luckily, we can create the illusion of a higher ceiling by keeping furnishings, such as a platform bed, close to the floor. While you'll lose under-the-bed storage, you'll gain the feeling of a bigger bedroom, so consider which is more important to you. Hanging pendant lights from the ceiling, which emphasize the ceiling height, pair perfectly with a platform bed as witnessed in this minimal boudoir captured by Emily from The Beetle Shack.
11. Maximize empty wall space.
Under-the-bed storage is key to living with a small bedroom, but don't stop there. All of your wall space can be used for storage, too — this time for the items you actually want to show off. Take a cue from the cozy sleeping quarters above that we spotted on Bjurfors. Here, shelving was added above the dresser to display everyday items that are used regularly. And how sweet is that step stool?
12. Use mirrors to create the illusion of an expanded boudoir.
You might have heard the rumor that mirrors can give the illusion of more space. Well, good news: This is not just a rumor, it actually works. A full length mirror not only creates the illusion of a larger space, but it also bounces light around, making a dimly lit bedroom appear brighter — especially if you use a cool paint color on your walls (like the dreamy shade of gray used in this idyllic scene spotted on Broste Copenhagen). It's the perfect hue for reflecting all of the natural light that pours in through the window.
13. Consider light-colored flooring.
Dark-colored carpet or wood flooring can cause a room to feel dull, gloomy, and even smaller than it is. You simply can't have that in a tiny bedroom. If you're able, increase your bedroom's bright luminosity by opting for light-colored flooring instead. It'll instantly illuminate a small space, especially when paired with bright-colored walls and soft-toned bedding. If changing the floors isn't an immediate option, whether it's not in the budget or up to a landlord, consider lightening things up with a bright neutral rug.
14. Create your own closet space.
Tearing down your closet doors to create a little extra space is a great way to bypass square footage constraints. However, if you'd still like to keep your closet somewhat hidden — keeping your wardrobe in picture-perfect shape 100% of the time is a lot of work, after all — installing ceiling-mount drapery might prove to be an ideal solution. It'll divide your space (without taking up a lot of square footage) in a softer, more flexible way.
15. Veer towards more minimal design choices.
Maximalism has its place, and a tiny bedroom isn't it. Don't cramp your small sleeping quarters with an overabundance of stuff. Too many pieces of decor will feel cluttered and claustrophobic. Streamline your boudoir by purging all of the things you absolutely don't need, keeping only the items you truly treasure — like a couple of blush accent pillows and this lifeguard tower print from Etsy. You'll be left with a more minimalist-looking setup that appears to be much larger. Just don't blame us if you start purging other rooms in your house, too.
Where to Shop for Small Bedroom Furniture and Decor
Now that you're chock-full of inspiring ideas for your small sleeping quarters, it's time for the fun part: shopping. Here are a few destinations to get you started on the right foot.
Beloved brand Parachute is a one-stop shop for all things bed-related: from the mattress itself to duvet inserts, pillows, and luxe bedding (choose from linen, sateen, brushed cotton, or whatever else suits your fancy). The brand's beautiful neutral rugs and washed linen curtains would fit perfectly in a small bedroom. And while you're at it, be sure to add one of its cult-favorite cloud robes to your cart, too.
You can feel good about shopping with The Nopo, since all of the brand's products are high-quality fair trade items that support artisans around the world. Shop home decor like rugs, lighting, planters, and vases — one-of-a-kind pieces that'll give your tiny bedroom eclectic character.
Did you think you outgrew Urban Outfitters when you graduated from college? Think again. Its home section is full of affordable, interesting pieces that you'll love for decades to come. Shop UO for small bedroom storage solutions, like wall shelves, vases, and mirrors that are teeming with charm.
Crate & Barrel's little sister is perfect for, well, little bedrooms. The brand's style is sleek (essential for small square footage) and timeless (essential for buying once and buying right). Go ahead, we give you permission to go on a pint-sized shopping spree for bedding, baskets, curtains, wall art, and accessories.