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Small Bedroom Design Ideas

Most homes you see featured in design blogs or on Instagram include a large master bedroom. Tons of space for a king size bed, a seating area and large bathroom with a walk in shower and soaking tub. While it’s great looking at all those beautiful designs, the majority of people throughout the world have a small bedroom. Some are even considered Tiny or part of a Studio Apartment. And that’s why I decided to write this article. Just because you don’t have a ton of space doesn’t mean what you’ve got can’t be functional and look fantastic. Ahead are all of my favorite small bedroom design ideas.

No matter what size bedroom you’ve got, the same basic principles of good interior design apply. But there are a few tips that are specific to smaller spaces. Like maximizing storage under the bed and in the closet with organizers, using more of the walls, finding the right bed and choosing the right colors for a small space. Even little design tricks like installing vertical wall paneling to make the walls look higher can help make a room feel bigger than it really is.

While you can’t do anything to make the room bigger. There are lots of little tricks you can use to make a small bedroom feel larger which is the most important thing.

Here are my top small bedroom design ideas and tips to help you create a more efficient and beautiful space.

A Simple Layout

There’s no magic trick that can make a small bedroom look and feel huge, but you can definitely make it feel a bit bigger. Most people with a small bedroom hurt themselves. A bad layout can make a small space feel claustrophobic and hard to navigate. Large rooms can get away with a poor layout because they have so much open space, but when things are tight you really have to position all your big things in the right places.

Using a simple layout is one of my favorite small bedroom design ideas. Don’t over complicate things. You don’t have a lot of space to work with so stick with the basics of what you really need and discard the rest. A bed, dresser, bedside table and some shelves are more than enough. Don’t try to squeeze extra stuff into weird spaces.

There’s usually a main wall to put the bed which involves the windows. When architects design a room they keep in mind a bed wall. Try not to fight the room your designing. If it’s designed to have a bed on a certain wall then put the bed there.

I don’t like a complicated bed placement like a 45 degree angle. Just push it up against the wall in the standard way.

If you live alone it’s fine to push the bed against two walls in a corner but I don’t recommend doing it otherwise. The best way to do it is center of the wall with enough room to walk around both sides of the bed. Even if one side is tight or even both sides it’s fine as long as there’s enough room to sit at the edge of the bed and get in and out. A bedside table at each side is nice if there are two of you.

Once the bed is in place position your other furniture as out of the main walking area as possible.

A small bedroom with big style. Use a stylish head board and throw pillows to dress up the room.

A small bedroom with big style. Use a stylish head board and throw pillows to dress up the room.

Plan

One of the best small bedroom design ideas / tips I can give you is to plan. When I design a small room I spend an extra long amount of time on the planning stage. I come up with a style, a color scheme and pick out individual pieces before I do any work.

It’s very important to have a good design on paper before you start. Small rooms aren’t as forgiving as larger ones. each element you put in the room needs to be thought out and intentional. Large rooms have more going on and it’s easier to cover up flaws or weak areas. With a small room you don’t have as much to ply with so every item counts.

In a small space more of the room is visible at the same time. When I’m laying in bed I can see pretty much my entire room at the same time. With a large room you lose site of things to the side. But small rooms bring more into your field of vision. there’s no where to hide anything.

The layout is more important too. A bed frame or dresser that’s even an inch too big can be a problem in a small room. But in a large master suite I don’t even consider these things.

Small stuff matters more too like the depth of shelves. In a large room I just put them up wherever I want but in a small space you don’t want an edge where someone could accidentally bump it. Walking lanes can be tight.

Go Big

There are just a few things where going big in a small bedroom makes sense to me, and here they are.

  • A canopy bed is really cool in a small bedroom. While the bed is the same size the added bars and framing add height and a great place to decorate. One of the coolest one’s I’ve seen had white Christmas lights wrapped all around the frame. At night they gave off just enough light for the entire room.
  • A center chandelier or fan. This is something you can be really creative with. I love the Bohemian ceiling fans with huge brown petal like blades.
  • Area rugs are definitely a great place to go large and bold. Bring in patterns and great colors and you can go big enough to cover almost the entire room if you wanted to. Just make sure to leave at least 6-8 inches around the edges so you can see some flooring or else it’ll look like regular carpeting.
  • Storage areas. I like to create zones in the room, we’ll talk more about this later. Above a dresser I’ll build a shelf or two all the way up to the ceiling.
  • An oversized door or mirror can look really cool in a small bedroom.

Playing with contrast is a great idea in any design. If you’ve got a small bedroom with small furniture then throw in something large. This is one of the small bedroom design ideas I really like to incorporate if I can. It’s more playful and can have some great results. I like to take chances with my interior designs and this is a good place to try something daring.

Daybeds

A pull out day bed or murphy bed is a great way to maximize your small bedroom space. But I wouldn’t use one unless you had a reason too.

If you workout in your bedroom or do yoga then having an open area to do it is important. In this case having a bed that folds away makes sense. Another reason you may like having a sofa type bed is if you watch kids. The room can be a place to play or sit and watch TV.

Many people go with this option because they just like having a couch and there isn’t much room for one in a studio apartment. Your lucky if you can fit a bed and a small table and chairs. In this case a pull out may be a good idea.

If you have guests over a day bed can give them a place to sit and hang out. Putting the bed away transforms the bedroom into more of a living room space.

Double Duty Furniture

One of the best small bedroom design ideas I know of is using furniture that’s versatile.

I like using a dresser with enough space on top for all my makeup and day to day items. If you don’t have enough room for a dresser then get larger bedside tables with a drawer and low cabinet so you have more storage.

If you like to include a chair then consider a storage cube or bench seat. They’re comfortable enough and provide more storage.

A bed is an easy one. Most of my beds have tons of storage under neath and a few double as a sofa.

Shelves are great for placing items on top of but they’re also a good place to hang stuff from.

Headboard Storage

Instead of a typical headboard opt for something with built in storage. They’re a great place for all sorts of stuff and have open areas for decoration.

These units are just like a traditional headboard only they’re thicker which allows for shelving and cabinetry. Most are built around the bed to preserve space inside the room. Some even provide cabinetry and shelving all the way from the bed to the ceiling. It’s a great way to use all that space.

If you buy a unit that’s not too tall then I recommend adding an additional shelf on top. Pretty much every unit I put in a small bedroom has a shelf on top of it. I like to create storage zones with have high and low areas to put things. It’s a cool look and keep my room more organized.

This type of storage can be expensive but there are cheaper options on the market and some people even make their own. It’s not that hard to do. We’ll be writing an article and a video on how to do it soon so check back.

Vertical wall paneling is a great way to make a small bedroom feel larger.

Vertical wall paneling is a great way to make a small bedroom feel larger.

The Illusion Of Space

There are a few simple things you can do when designing a small bedroom to make it feel a little larger.

One of the easiest is hanging floor to ceiling drapes. Any long lines help draw the eye up. It’s the same principle as wearing vertical stripes rather than horizontal. Vertical makes you look taller and thinner while horizontal can make you feel shorter and thicker. It’s an illusion but it works.

Keep the drapery a very similar color if not exactly the same as the walls. Your not going for contrast here, what you want is for the walls to sort of blend right into the drapery.

Wall paneling with a vertical design gives the same effect. You can use it in place of drywall or right on top. Just make sure it’s thin. Use it on every wall or just as a feature.

If you have an 8 foot ceiling I wouldn’t use crown molding in a small bedroom. It’s the same basic principle as the drapes. You want a vertical feeling where the walls flow right into the ceiling without a break.

A white ceiling is also great at creating the illusion of more space in a small room. When the walls are just a little darker than the ceiling the eye is drawn up and things feel more spacious.

Keep in mind none of these things will make your tiny bedroom feel like a huge master suite but it does make a noticeable difference.

Normal Sized Furniture

The furniture you use should be appropriate in terms of scale and proportion. We’ll get into that a bit later. But that doesn’t mean it has to be Tiny. I hate when people buy really small furniture that looks like it’s made for a doll house or a kids room. Buy normal stuff. Just because the bedroom is small doesn’t mean you need to buy kids furniture.

It’s easy to find full size dressers, bed frames and bedside tables that are full size and work in a small bedroom. They’ll be more functional, stylish and won’t look weird. A lot of old fashioned antique style furniture was tiny. Unless that’s the look your going for just buy regular sized stuff. It’s more Modern.

Don’t buy anything too big though. When I give this advise to people they sometime overcompensate and buy things that are too large. It’s a fine line. Your furniture should be small because you’ve got a small bedroom but not so tiny that it looks weird. Especially those little beside tables that are so small you can barely fit a book and a coffee mug. I mean what’s the point. If the furniture isn’t big enough to be functional then all it does it take up space.

Lots Of Light

Lot’s of light is a big benefit in a small bedroom Natural light is best but that’s not always possible so don’t be afraid to use pendant lights, a fixture, recessed lighting or a lamp. personally I like using ceiling lights the best in a small bedroom. They’re out of the way and don’t take up space.

Try not to block the windows with a bed or furniture if you can help it. And keep drapes to a minimum. When long hanging drapes are opened they can still block some light at the sides.

Including plenty of light sources is the key to keeping your small bedroom from feeling dark and claustrophobic

A reading light by the bedside is fine, especially if your using a bedside table. If not then look into a sconce or a light that’s secured to an overhead shelf. We’ll talk more about open shelving a little later.

Color

Using splashes of bold color is one of my favorite small bedroom design ideas. These days it seems everyone is going with a muted white and grey color scheme. It’s fine and achieves some beautiful results but I think a tiny bedroom really benefits from something bold. You can still use greys and whites for the bulk of the room but don’t be afraid to bring in some vibrant colors. Artwork, plants and posters are great ways of doing it. There isn’t much to work with in a small space so you need a few things that draw attention.

I generally like a bedroom design to feel more personal. That means things from real life which are more colorful. Even some nice photographs or books can be enough. And plants are really great for this. A small plant by a window can really brighten up a small room.

childs bedroom with grey forest wallpaper, wood bed frame and white furniture. small bedroom design ideas.

Wallpaper is a great way to finish the walls of a small bedroom. It brings color and plenty of style. Make sure to choose a print that’s right for the space.

Wallpaper

Since you don’t have that much square footage to work with in a small bedroom a great place to bring in some style is with wallpaper. I love to use it but you have to be careful about the print. I try to stick with vertical prints that aren’t too crazy. A wild pattern can get overwhelming fast in a small room.

Keep the colors light and muted. Think subtle. For some reason when people think wallpaper they always go way over the top with the color and pattern. These tall trees colored in grey make a beautiful print that really fits the style of the room.

Choose a color that works with the rooms overall color scheme. This can be hard because you have to know what’s going into the room before you pick the paper. That’s another reason why planning is so important in a small bedroom.

Wallpaper is great for a feature wall. Don’t feel like you have to use it on every wall.

A Place For Everything

One of the most important things I’ve found when designing small bedrooms is organization. Even large bedrooms can get messy if you don’t have a place for all your things but that’s made much worse when the room is small. Even simple things not being put away can make a small bedroom feel messy and cramped because each item has more impact. Organization makes a difference in both design and day to day living. Giving every item in your bedroom a place where it belongs.

When it comes to storage, especially in a small bedroom, I like to have as much hidden as possible to keep the room looking neat.

My hats, coat and scarves are displayed on the wall behind the door. This is a good place for hooks because you can’t put furniture here and when the doors open it’s hidden.

A good size dresser is a great thing to have. I like units that are tall because they don’t take up much floor space. I use the top for things like jewelry, lotions, perfumes, and lipsticks. Things I’ll be using from day to day.

Under the bed is a great place to store clothes and other items. I use bins to keep everything organized.

A bedside table is a great place for my phone and tablet. Get one that has a drawer and storage cabinet. The design with an open bottom is nice but it’s wasted space that could be used for storage.

Shelving is a must for me in a small bedroom design. Especially over the bed. Most people just leave this space blank or hang some artwork when it could be used to store all types of things. I also like to build a shelf over my dresser. These areas become a hub in the room where things go. I like to create small zones in the room.

Stop Hoarding

Even if your not a hard core hoarder like what you see on TV, most of us collect more stuff as time goes by. One of my favorite small bedroom design ideas is organization. Without it your space will become a mess real quick.

A great way to manage all that stuff is to sort everything by category. I love using bins. They’re easy to label and then I put similar things together and stored away. When I need something I always know where it is because it’s in one of my bins. 

I stack my bins up in the closet and under the bed. Label one as ‘Winter stuff’, one as ‘beauty products,’ one as ‘collectibles,’ one as ‘makeup,’  you get the idea. I like to have one labeled as ‘desk’ for all my pencils, stapler, ruler, markers, stamps, envelopes, etc. I also like to include one for household stuff like bills and paperwork. And another for cleaning supplies. But you can make a bin for whatever you like. It’s a great way to keep things organized and neat.

It’s not a perfect system, but it gets the job done and keep my small bedroom from becoming a disorganized mess.

Shelves

Open shelves are a great way to store items and decorate the room. A small bedroom is about maximizing not only the square footage of the room but also it’s volume. Think vertically. You can’t get more floor space but you can use the walls.

I like to create zones within the room for storing my stuff and shelves are a big part of my designs. Basically it breaks down into areas like this:

  • Behind the door I hang hooks for my coat, scarves and hats. Above it I build a shelf for small items. This is not a deep shelf but it’s enough for some books or collectibles.
  • A dresser for all my clothes which also has a top big enough for day to day items. Build a shelf above the dresser. This one can be deeper which means it can hold bigger items.
  • Above the bed I build another shelf with a medium depth. Another great place for storing items, pictures, collectibles or whatever.

By adding a shelf above large furniture it creates more storage and doesn’t sacrifice any space within the room. It’s a great way to maximize the volume of a small bedroom.

Open Shelf Bookcase

If you have some free wall space then building a bookcase out of open shelving is a great idea.

When you buy a bookcase it takes up more space inside the room than if you build one right on the all. The reason is due to a few main factors.

  • A bookcase can’t be pushed against the wall because of your base trim.
  • Many bookcases have a backing and sides.

By building the bookcase on the wall with open shelving you eliminate the side and back. You also gain an inch or two of floor space because you don’t have to account for trim. In a small or tiny bedroom every inch of floor space counts.

Inner Wall Shelving

Depending on the wall thickness you can sometimes recess a storage cabinet into the wall. This is similar to a medicine cabinet and great for storing small items.

Don’t do this on an exterior wall because you’ll lose insulation but it’s great for common interior walls in your own apartment. My bedroom has a small closet with a two walls inside the room. One wall has the door and the other is blank. That’s the wall I built my storage cabinet into. I covered it with a mirror on a hinge that was hidden. It was really cool because it was my full length mirror and a hidden place where I stashed tons of makeup and jewelry.

I love the idea of finding creative little places to store things in a small bedroom. No one knew I had so much stuff stashed behind the mirror. If the wall is thick enough you could even make the cabinet large enough for shoes piled sideways.

Under The Bed

Storage under your bed is a no brainer. But what you may not have thought about was raising the bed frame. It’s a trick I use when designing small bedrooms all the time.

The typical bed frame is about 18 inches off the floor. I like to raise that to at least 24 inches. That extra 6 inches adds a ton of storage volume. You could go even larger if you don’t mind the height or your tall.

Having more space under the bed is obviously a huge bonus in a small bedroom. I like to use lots of pull out bins instead of drawers because the drawer frames take up too much space. Bins are super thin so almost all the space under my bed can be used for storage. A full size bed is 4 1/2 feet by 6 1/2 feet. Multiplied by 2 feet tall that’s 56 1/4 square feet of storage space. That’s not too bad for a small bedroom considering an average 5×10 storage space costs around $200 bucks a month where I live.

The key to maximizing the storage space under your bed is organization. If your bins are angular and stacked neatly then you can use almost all the space. But if you stash a couple big and oddly shaped items under the bed you’ll waste most of it.

Scale & Proportion

Aside from maximizing your small bedroom with creative storage, I think it’s really important to keep both scale and proportion in mind. Understanding these two principles is one of my favorite small bedroom design ideas because it’s a philosophy you can apply to any small room.

A bedroom is not only a functional space but also a place where you spend time and relax in. It should be comfortable and well designed with a good layout that’s easy to navigate.
When I lived in the city I had a small studio apartment with furniture that was way too big. I didn’t understand how to maximize the small size I had to work with so I compensated by buying large furniture. It was a huge mistake. The room looked horrible and was hard to move around in. It felt cluttered and messy all the time which stressed me out. I never looked forward to hanging out in my room and hated having friends over.

Once I learned how to design interior spaces I understood scale and proportion. Things need to fit the space they’re in. A huge bid in a small room looks just as strange as a small bed in a large bedroom. The same goes for furniture, a mirror, chairs, pictures, shelves, etc.

Always consider scale and proportion when choosing anything that goes into a small bedroom. Even things like trim needs to work with the rooms small size. You wouldn’t want 12 inch crown molding in a small bedroom with 8 foot ceilings.

modern bedroom with concrete floors and walls. wood window shelf. minimalism.

This small modern bedroom puts minimalism to good use featuring bare concrete floor and walls.

Minimalism

Minimalism is a great way to make a small bedroom feel larger. It’s very simple. Everything you put in a room takes up some space. The less you put out the larger the room will feel. This is a great philosophy to pair with storage areas like using bins under a raised bed and closet organizers. That’s why it’s one of my favorite small bedroom design ideas and something I use in any small room.

Showcasing just few key pieces helps your small bedroom from feeling too claustrophobic or cluttered. It’s also a great exercise in editing yourself. A lot of people can’t do this so they just put out everything and create clutter. What you want is a design that feels intentional. Everything you show has a purpose and the rest is stored.

Minimalism is a great way to highlight your best decorations. Since there isn’t as much to distract attention the few things that are displayed get more of it.

Try to be very intentional with what you put out in your bedroom. Everything should have a story or a purpose.

A great way to do this is to come up with a design on paper rather than trying to design something with your actual things. Once you have a layout, overall style and color scheme laid out, choose things that fit. By creating the design first it helps you stay disciplined and focused.

Be Personal

This may be my favorite of all the small bedroom design ideas and tips I’ve talked about throughout the article, Be Personal.

A bedroom is your own space, so it should reflect you or the person who lives in it. The finest bedrooms I have even seen have always felt lived in. When I look at design blogs or read magazines the bedrooms showcased are always very nice, but they generally feel too sterile. Too perfect. A bedroom needs to feel lived in.

Put photos, collectibles, posters, art or some other personal touch that’s unique to you and doesn’t necessarily fit a predetermined theme. Even your coat on a hook can be enough to bring that little bit of randomness into the room. That bit of real life.

And don’t forget the small touches. Model bedrooms never have makeup out or a place to charge a tablet or phone. Day to day things we all generally use. Take those into account too. Make the design real and livable.

Small Bedroom Design Ideas Gallery

Here’s a small picture gallery filled with some of my favorite designs. As you look through you’ll see a variety of design techniques used,some of which we discussed above. Hopefully a few of these pics or the info above will help you design a beautiful bedroom.

Beautiful farmhouse style small bedroom with a traditional design. black wooden bed frame. small bedroom design ideas

Beautiful farmhouse style small bedroom with a traditional design.

Small bedroom with a thin metal bed frame and storage bins under the bed, a stacked book shelf and wood bedside table.

Small bedroom with a thin metal bed frame and storage bins under the bed, a stacked book shelf and wood bedside table.

The light colors used in the small bedroom design makes the room feel larger than it is.

The light colors used in the small bedroom design makes the room feel larger than it is.

A bedside table with storage can add a lot of style and functionality to a small bedroom.

A bedside table with storage can add a lot of style and functionality to a small bedroom.

beautiful bed in front of a large window with wood bedside tables.

Bedside tables with drawers give plenty of storage if you can’t fit a full size dresser. And don’t forget to stash as much as possible under the bed in bins.

Summary: Small Bedroom Design Ideas

Most homes you see featured in design blogs or on Instagram include a large master bedroom. Tons of space for a king size bed, a seating area and large bathroom with a walk in shower and soaking tub. While it’s great looking at all those beautiful designs, the majority of people throughout the world have a small bedroom. Some are even considered Tiny or part of a Studio Apartment. And that’s why I decided to write this article. Just because you don’t have a ton of space doesn’t mean what you’ve got can’t be functional and look fantastic. Ahead are all of my favorite small bedroom design ideas.

No matter what size bedroom you’ve got, the same basic principles of good interior design apply. But there are a few tips that are specific to smaller spaces. Like maximizing storage under the bed and in the closet with organizers, using more of the walls, finding the right bed and choosing the right colors for a small space. Even little design tricks like installing vertical wall paneling to make the walls look higher can help make a room feel bigger than it really is.

While you can’t do anything to make the room bigger. There are lots of little tricks you can use to make a small bedroom feel larger which is the most important thing.

If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.

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