14 Tips for Designing a Small Bedroom
Make the most of your small space with these clever design ideas.
Designing a small bedroom can be overwhelming and downright frustrating, but we're here to tell you that it doesn't have to be. Check out our favorite tips and tricks, and see which solutions work best for your small space.
1: Let your ceiling make a statement.
Small Bedroom Feels Bright and Glamorous
Glamorous gold polka dots draw the eye upward in this odd-shaped bedroom, helping to elevate the appearance of the ceiling. White walls, white furniture and a window make the small but stylish space feel brighter and larger.
Gold polka dots draw the eye upward, elevating the appearance of the ceiling in this small bedroom. A patterned ceiling may work for you if your bedroom has sloped ceilings or an odd shape.
2: Opt for a hanging nightstand.
If your bed fits in a tight nook, free up valuable floor space with a hanging nightstand.
3: Or DIY a nightstand to fit your space.
Finding furniture to fit a small space can be difficult. Instead of spending hours searching for a mini nightstand, make your own with an old or unused table.
4: Mount your bedside lighting.
If you’re working with teeny-tiny nightstands — or no nightstands at all — consider mounting lights or lamps to the wall.
5: Install a Murphy bed.
Guest Bedroom With Built-In Cabinets and Murphy Bed
In this basement family room, a storage wall transforms the space into a welcoming guest room in a snap thanks to a built-in Murphy bed. "We designed the room to accommodate the family and their guests," says designer Laura Stein. "Night-table trays pull out of the custom built-ins to hold a lamp and small essentials, like a glass of water, leaving plenty of floor space."
Photography by Brandon Barre
Freeing up floor space in the blink of an eye, a Murphy bed is an age-old solution for a small space.
6: Go bright and all white.
White Guest Room With Geometric Mirror
"I am up and about for more than 12-14 hours a day, sometime in heels that should be illegal. So the one thing I look forward to is calling it a night in a bed with freshly laundered sheets. There's something magical about being able to indulge in a personal, clean and soft bed that I find priceless. Add lavender candles and I'm a happy, happy gal." -Manvi Drona
An all-white color palette creates a fresh, bright atmosphere that helps small spaces feel larger. Mix soft creams and off-whites to add warmth.
7: Or go bold with color.
Blue Bedroom With Abstract Art, Gallery Wall and Coral Accents
This 11' x 12' bedroom in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles is bright and cheery thanks to blue walls and accents of coral and hot pink.
But — if you love color, go for it! Bold hues and attention-grabbing patterns can actually help distract from the small size of a space.
8: Utilize every square inch of space.
Under-Bed Clothing Drawers
Under-bed storage, like these built-in drawers, is a great space-saver and a fantastic way to maximize the use of every square foot of your bedroom. If exposed under-bed storage boxes or bins are creating visual clutter, add a bedskirt to streamline the look.
Under-the-bed storage is key in a small bedroom. Consider some of these options: wheeled boxes, drawers, locked boxes, storage bags or shoe organizers.
9: Add horizontal wood planks to the walls.
Small Neutral Bedroom With French Door
This minimally furnished room is designed to feel spacious and airy through a neutral color palette and French doors that unify the indoor and outdoor spaces.
Horizontal wood planking visually tricks the eye in this bedroom, making the room appear wider than it is. This might be the right choice for you if your room lacks architectural interest … or if you’re a Fixer Upper fan (shiplap, anyone?).
10: Or stripe your walls.
If wood planking isn’t your thing, painted or wallpapered stripes achieve the same visual effect.
11: Get a bedside C-table for instant workspace.
Bedroom Table for Small Space
Whether working late on web-based projects or watching DVDs, Briana and Buzz needed space for their laptops in their bedroom. To add instant workspace without creating clutter, the couple added a C-table to the side of the bed that keeps their laptops perfectly within reach. The bottom of the table has a C-shaped frame that tucks underneath the bed, keeping it securely supported and out of the way.
Photographer: Christina Wedge
If you need workspace but have no room for a desk, buy a C-shaped table that will stash your laptop and tuck underneath the bed when not in use.
12: Use a desk as a nightstand.
Baker Design Group
Instead of cramming your space full of furniture, opt for pieces that serve multiple purposes, like this desk that also works as a nightstand.
13: Display accessories as decor.
Virginia Bell; Edit By Virginia
Let your favorite jewelry and accessories serve as decor in your bedroom, freeing up storage space elsewhere.
14: Reflect light with mirrors.
Mirrors make a powerful visual impact in a small room by bouncing light throughout the space, instantly making it look larger.
Don't ... Drape Curtains Right Above Your Window Frame
These light wool curtains run floor to ceiling, giving the window in this small bedroom a dramatic and spacious vibe. Custom furniture, including a 10-inch-deep, built-in storage unit, utilizes every foot of space and eliminates the need for bulky dressers. — Kimberley Seldon, designer and owner, Kimberley Seldon Design Group
Don't ... Overwhelm a Room With Too Many Patterns
Choose a hero piece as the focal point for your room, like a bold upholstery pattern for the sofa. Then use a mix of quieter neutrals for the remaining furniture and walls to keep the space light and open. — Danielle Kurtz, creative director, The Land of Nod
Don't ... Forget the Back of the Door
Make use of otherwise wasted vertical space by creating extra storage on the back of a closet, pantry or mudroom door. Over-the-door hooks can be customized with baskets and racks of different sizes. — Sharon Tindell, chief merchandising officer, The Container Store
Don't ... Be Afraid to Paint Everything the Same Color
Blur the lines by continuing your wall color onto the ceiling; doing so makes everything feel more cohesive and less cramped. — Brian Patrick Flynn, designer, Flynnside Out Productions
Don't ... Underestimate What You Can Do With a Closet
We took an underutilized closet and turned it into a bar by lining it with faux croc wallpaper, then adding studs and a framed photo to the back of the door. The built-in drawers were dressed with vintage brass pulls and sprayed in black lacquer while the tray, outfitted with drawer glides, was lit from the shelf above. — Robert Stuart, owner, Robert Stuart Interiors
Don't ... Be Afraid to Hang Things Up (Even Furniture!)
Consider desks or bookcases that hang on the wall, which allow for more flexibility in your space planning. Take advantage of vertical wall space; floating shelves don't require a lot of room and offer an additional place to corral clutter. — Danielle Kurtz, creative director, The Land of Nod
Don't ... Forget to Utilize the Stairs
Adding cubbies, shelves or hanging space under a staircase provides storage in an otherwise unused area and creates a designated spot for rain boots, backpacks and sports equipment. Whether it's open or closed storage — or a combination of both — be sure to go as high as you can to maximize storage. — Ginny Snook Scott, organization expert, California Closets
Don't ... Clutter Tables With Lamps and Frames
Don't ... Forget to Utilize the Foyer
We maximized every inch of this small studio by utilizing the narrow entryway that houses a home office, a mini bar and a closet that hides the washer/dryer and pantry. — Sofia Joelsson, owner, SoJo Design
Don't ... Buy an Oversized Sofa
Don't ... Shun Sconces
Sconces can free up important real estate in small spaces. By taking lamps off the table and floor and attaching them to the wall, you're making these areas way more functional and a lot freer. — Emily Henderson, designer, Emily Henderson Design and Target Home style expert
Don't ... Forget Under-Bed Storage
One of the most practical but least-utilized spaces in the bedroom is under the bed. This handmade platform bed features storage on both sides for books, craft supplies, seasonal clothes, accessories and more. Ditch cheap plastic bins for attractive wire baskets to corral clutter. - Courtney Weston, blogger, Always Rooney
Don't ... Just Think Square Sink
This round sink opens up the space and makes it easy to maneuver around the tiny bathroom. To avoid feeling cramped, we passed on closed storage and installed a linear wall shelf above the sink to hold cotton swabs, lotions and even flowers. — Betty Wasserman, designer, Betty Wasserman Art & Interiors
Don't ... Use Cabinets in a Small Bathroom
Don't ... Sacrifice Style When It Comes to Storage
Beautiful baskets in bright prints or unique textures do a great job corralling toys and extra blankets, but they're also a great way to add decor to a small space without cluttering up a room. I love to place them in corners or under side tables. — Jodi McKee, craft blogger and Pinterest influencer
Don't ... Think You Can't Squeeze in Another Piece of Furniture
Don't ... Get Locked Into Conventional Seating
Don't ... Neglect the Corners of a Small Room
We were able to squeeze a large rectangular table into a small kitchen by utilizing the corner and creating a built-in banquette. A tiny niche allows for storage and display without having to bring in additional furniture. Placing the large drum light over the table eliminated the need for additional fixtures in the room. — Karen Vidal, owner, Design Vidal
Don't ... Always Go With a Small Area Rug
Don't ... Pass on Paneling
The paneled walls and coffered ceiling in this small dining room provide so much architectural integrity that the size of the room becomes an afterthought. A round dining table makes it easy for guests to navigate the space, while a high-hanging chandelier leaves views unobstructed. — Christopher Maya, owner, Christopher Maya Inc.
Don't ... Be Afraid to Mix Different Wood Finishes
Don't ... Think You Can't Add a Closet
Create a floor-to-ceiling closet by attaching rods and shelves to a wall, then draping off the area with a set of curtains. Define your storage needs, then choose the best spot. Here we moved the bed to the center of the room and built the closet on the wall behind it. — Janice Simonsen, design spokesperson, IKEA
Don't ... Push Furniture Against the Walls
Pulling furniture off the wall towards the center of a room keeps a small space feeling open and airy. The floating desk in this home office adds a sophisticated and intentional touch to this space. — Jessica Stambaugh, owner, Decorative Traces
Don't ... Hang a Small Mirror in a Small Bathroom
This tiny bathroom feels significantly larger thanks to the expanded viewpoint offered up by the wall-to-wall mirror. Mirroring an entire wall will amplify any space; hang one on a wall adjacent to a window and the reflection will open things up even more. — Kimberley Seldon, designer and owner, Kimberley Seldon Design Group
Don't ... Buy a Bulky Sleeper Sofa
This cottage is only 650 square feet — basically one large room with a bath and kitchenette. Instead of trying to work a sleeping area into the layout, we opted for a Murphy bed and hid it behind this oversized woven walnut door. — Betty Wasserman, designer, Betty Wasserman Art & Interiors
Don't ... Buy a Traditional Coffee Table
Don't ... Underestimate the Power of White
An all-white space allows light to bounce and reflect around the room, making any space appear bigger and brighter. An organized desk and minimal decor create an even more spacious feel, while the slightly warmer white found in the chandelier beads give off a cozy vibe. — Anne Reagan, editor in chief, Porch.com
Don't ... Shy Away From Bold Colors
Bold colors actually make a small space appear larger and more dramatic. Paint the walls, furniture and crown molding in a saturated color, then pair your monochromatic color scheme with something unexpected, like this white Lucite coffee table that lights up from within. — Ghislaine Vinas, owner, Ghislaine Vinas Interior Design
Don't ... Go With a Standard Swing Door
By using a barn-style door and putting it on tracks, we were able to create more space without having to swing a door in or out in this cottage's kitchen and bathroom. The door was original to the home's potting shed; we simply exchanged the clear glass with frosted glass for bathroom privacy. — Betty Wasserman, designer, Betty Wasserman Art & Interiors