20 design tips for small bedrooms
Make the most of a small bedroom with these savvy design solutions
Architectural details can become furniture. A mantelpiece, for instance, can provide structure for a fabric-covered foam headboard. If over-the-top is your style, go almost all the way to the ceiling with a salvaged pocket door and by-the-foot crown molding. (And you’ll have room for sconces.) Best for: those with a sense of occasion—and history.
Take a leaf from the Murphy bed book: Frame your bed with custom cubbies, forming in the process a headboard in reverse. This mix of open and closed storage lets you display what you want while stashing the rest. Painting the headboard zone in a neutral color keeps the whole thing from being overwhelming. Best for: the mildly OCD, who will keep the open shelves nice and neat.
What lies within
When space is tight, it pays to look for storage in unusual places—say, between the studs, as San Francisco architect John Lum did here. The boxy shelves are set in a wall that divides this bedroom from a windowed entryway; resin panels let light filter from there into the darker bedroom. Best for: the constant reader, who can never be far from a book (or 12).
Install a floating shelf to increase bedside square footage. This clever idea, from Napa Valley interior designer Erin Martin, makes a nightstand an option (just tuck it under the shelf) rather than a necessity. Best for: the decisive, who won’t be rearranging furniture at the drop of a hat.
Tucson architect Rick Joy is known for clean, simple designs, and his rammedearth house is no exception. Its “bedroom” is separated from the rest of the house only by a half-wall that also acts as a headboard. A rectangular recess on the wall’s bed side is a handy place for books and a carafe. Best for: loft dwellers and those who don’t need much privacy.
Be bold with color
Paint a small bedroom in a cheerful hue to make an impact.
Add a green screen
Potted plants serve double-duty here as a privacy screen from neighbors (while still allowing a view) and as natural air filters.
The Ikea light fixture next to the bed is customized with a tassel. Monogrammed pillows add yet another personal touch.
Attract the eye
Short on space for displaying your photos and treasures? Bright red captivates and immediately catches the eye. Use that to your advantage by showcasing prized possessions with a backdrop in the hue.
In a small room, getting creative with storage solutions is key. This bed's backrest slides up to reveal storage. On the headboard, you push in on a hinged panel to access a similar space.
Wall as canvas
Instead of painting an accent wall, cover it with arty or playfully printed wallpaper—a nice technique for a small space.
Keeping walls and linens white makes a small space look bigger and airier. Adding a small pop of color, like this pink chair, keeps the space lively.
Two rooms in one
Use furniture, like this console, to divide a bedroom into sleeping space and lounging space.
If it doesn’t fit, you don’t need it: a philosophy that's easier to live by when your limited storage space is used artfully, like these floating cabinet-shelves.
Try a unique wallpaper pattern that serves as a focal point. Then pepper in quirky items from your collection, like a salvaged lamp, retro clocks, or hard-covered books.
A bunk-bed alternative
Trundle beds work well for older kids and help maximize a small space.
Give peace a chance
While bold patterns and bright fabrics may rule the rest of the house, create a tranquil zone of woven linens in the bedroom for a neutral sanctuary.
A lofted bed creates additional storage space underneath. A bold, antique wooden frame draws the eye away from items stowed below.
Create a modern look
Wood paneling above the bed and on the armoir infuses a soft yet modern feel to the room.
Protect your goods
As the “door” to your closet, use a semi-translucent scrim composed of industrial-grade sheet vinyl. It'll block UV rays, protecting clothes from sunlight pouring in through your bedroom window. What's more, using one in a bright hue adds a pop of color to a neutral palette.