Not to point out the obvious, but small bedrooms are notoriously difficult to decorate. When there's scarcely room for a bed, not to mention a nightstand, furnishing a setup that's lacking in space can be frustrating, to say the least. (Don't even get us started on the lack of storage.) Curious as to how to make a 200-square-foot bedroom look and feel more like 400? We've got you covered.
From timeless design tricks that'll appear to instantly double your square footage to a classic paint color choice that can make even the tiniest rooms feel spacious, this is how interior designers make modestly sized bedrooms appear bigger than they really are. Keep scrolling for 20 primary bedroom design ideas that'll help you make the most of your tight sleeping quarters.
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1. Resist buying things just to fill empty space.
Small primary bedroom design ideas are all about optimizing functionality, notes interior designer Shea McGee of Studio McGee. "Make sure you're not overfilling the room, especially with items you don't need," she advises. Sometimes that means making sacrifices, such as opting for only one nightstand if you don't have the space for two, the designer explains. "Intentionally leaving open space in a room lets design moments breathe and can make a big spatial impact," she adds.
2. Opt for light colors.
"One of my tricks for making a space feel bigger is to keep the walls light," offers Los Angeles-based interior designer Vanessa Alexander of Alexander Design. "I use White Dove by Benjamin Moore often," the pro divulges. "In small bedrooms, the light walls reflect natural light around all four corners of the room, making it look and feel larger than it really is," she explains. "Light walls also help bring calm and serenity into the bedroom, whereas dark walls make it feel smaller and more cavelike, which can be good in some cases but not when you're trying to make it feel bigger." A white bed can also do the trick here.
3. Go bold with color.
Alternatively, for small primary bedroom decorating ideas, L.A.-based designer Kerry Vasquez of Kerry Vasquez Design suggests going bold with color to make your space feel larger. "Often people think they need to go light and white to make a room feel brighter and therefore bigger," she explains. "But I would argue that making a strong choice with color is bold and works best in a small space. It doesn't need to feel over the top, just intentional so the room feels special and considered."
4. Layer accessories — it won't look cluttered.
Contrary to what you might think, having fewer items in a small space won't necessarily make it appear larger. Instead, intentionally layering bedroom decor to create vignettes can call attention to the overall design and actually make the room feel bigger as a result. Make the most of the design moments in a small room by placing functional items alongside purely decorative objects. "We love the look of leaning art against the wall on a [nightstand] and even adding a small task lamp," shared design duo Caroline Grant and Dolores Suarez of Dekar Design.
5. Utilize a large mirror.
Using a mirror to create the illusion of a larger room isn't a new design trick, but when it comes to small bedroom ideas, it can certainly be the most transformative one. "A large mirror will reflect both natural and artificial light, making your bedroom feel brighter and appear larger," San Francisco-based interior designer Nicole Newkirk tells Hunker. "If you place a mirror on the opposite wall from a window it can create an illusion of making a bedroom feel bigger," she explains. "If you don't have a window, angle your mirror at a focal point in your room to give the illusion of depth."
6. Swap out table lamps for sconces.
While you're likely being mindful of the floor space throughout your small primary bedroom, there's also the real estate on your bedside tables to consider, too. Since your furniture will naturally reflect the diminutive nature of the space, you don't want table lamps to use up that square footage. Instead, consider using wall sconces — they will instantly free up tabletop space, as proven by this minimalist design belonging to Lauren Cunningham and showcased on Camille Styles.
7. Go with an anchoring wall color.
Although the color white will certainly open a room up, there's something to be said for dark-hued walls as well. If you're aiming for a bedroom color scheme that's dramatic, comforting, and cocoon-like, we highly recommend a bold shade, like the deep teal witnessed in this refuge by Studio McGee.
8. Put a corner to work.
If you're looking to free up floor space in your tiny bedroom (maybe your sleeping space is also doubling as your yoga studio), consider tucking the bed into the corner. Jenni of I Spy DIY did just that in this bedroom with a vintage-inspired black bed frame that happens to fit perfectly.
9. Skip the big chandelier.
We're all for an eye-catching chandelier, but in the case of a downsized bedroom, it can really overwhelm the visuals. Instead, follow the lead of Stephen and David of Renovation Husbands and opt for a more pared-back take, like this stylish black and white fixture.
10. Be thoughtful with furniture.
With limited space, you'll need to be extra mindful about your furniture choices. Surfaces, like vanity tables, are best if they're wall-mounted and don't take up floor space. And instead of a bookcase on the floor, you can turn to floating shelves. Accent chairs should be small and tucked neatly into corners, à la the green velvet gem spotted in Kim and Scott of Yellow Brick Home's primary bedroom.
11. Forgo a headboard.
Sure, a headboard is a nice, luxurious addition to any bedroom, but in a small space, it can look like visual clutter. Instead, go with a cool wall treatment. Malcolm Simmons gave wainscoting a modern twist with DIY reeded panels. The finished result is simply stunning and serves as a piece of decor all on its own.
12. Give throw pillows their time to shine.
If you don't have a ton of room for home decor or even artwork in your bedroom, treat your throw pillows as the focal point. They'll lend an instant pop of color to a duvet, or an accent bench, and they'll also give the eyes something to rest on, as seen in this calming space by Peggy Haddad Interiors.
13. Draw the eye upward.
Drawing the eye upward is an age-old interior design trick to make a room look bigger. After you've selected your area rug and paid attention to everything underfoot, take your design to new heights — literally — with a headboard design that points toward the ceiling. Joy Cho from Oh Joy! shows us how it's done in her personal refuge with the help of velvet arches that also pull her bright color scheme together.
14. Utilize wall hooks.
Decluttering is important in any space, but when a room is small, it becomes even more essential. If you don't have the space or budget for a built-in storage solution, consider wall hooks to keep clutter at bay. In her bedroom makeover, Emily of The Sweet Beast painted a peg rail green and complemented it with nearby touches of Scandinavian decor.
15. Consider wall decor other than framed art.
A gallery wall of framed photos or artwork is a go-to in most spaces nowadays, but in a small bedroom with limited wall space, it might look busy in a hurry. Instead, choose a single piece of distinctive art to focus on or put an unexpected vintage piece to work. For example, Emily Bower cleverly hung antique buoys above a luxe velvet headboard in her bedroom for unique wall decor you won't likely find anywhere else.
16. Be thoughtful about your linens.
While area rugs are a tried-and-true way to add texture and warmth to any space, you can do the same with your bed linens. Keep within the color palette and pile your bed up with cozy pillows and throws. Brooke of Nesting with Grace has clearly perfected the decorating idea, as proven by her sister's warm and inviting bedroom.
17. Keep the visuals streamlined.
When it comes time to select decor for your small bedroom, gravitate toward pieces that display clean, polished lines. From the bedside table to the headboard to the lighting, every item in this minimalist bedroom designed by Kyal & Kara fits the bill.
18. Make dressers pull double-duty.
No room for a full-size dresser, but you have space for nightstands on either side of your bed? Invest in options that have multiple drawers and treat them like small "dressers." Not only are they are a great alternative to the traditional, bulkier chest of drawers (as proven by this bedroom makeover from Jenny of Juniper Home) but they will also save you a bit of space and money. Win-win.
19. Employ striped patterns.
Stripes have long been used to create the illusion of height, a tactic you can turn to when designing your small bedroom. Weave in stripes through the beadboard wall paneling, bed linens, and headboard, like Jenni of I Spy DIY did in this dreamy setup.
20. Don't let small wall space go to waste.
Have an awkward bit of wall space that could use a little something? Small bedrooms tend to have a lot of these narrow wall crannies. But don't let them go to waste. Pretty them up with the help of decorative objects hung vertically, like the collection of baskets seen in this moody bed-chamber by Ashley of Bigger Than the Three of Us.