Whether you live in an apartment, loft, or a house with limited space, you should feel perfectly at home in your bedroom. This means filling the room with furniture that expresses your personality and facilitates a good night's sleep. Smaller rooms are challenging to decorate, making it harder to strike the right balance between cozy and practical. Harder, but not impossible. Thankfully, we're here to help.
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To make the most out of a small bedroom:
- Keep the layout simple
- Center everything around the bed
- Use pops of color sparingly
- Play up the light
- Use multi-purpose furniture where you can
Of course, even while following all these guidelines, you're going to want to put your personal touch on the decor. For help navigating the process—and doing it all on a budget—dive into our extensive guide.
Simplicity is Key
The best way to avoid overcrowding your space is to break bedroom furniture down to the essentials. A bed will be necessary, of course. From there, determine if you want a nightstand and a chest. If the room has a closet, you can easily forgo the latter.
If you need a place to study and don't have an office, consider whether you want to put a desk in the room. Maybe you have a dog and need to keep a corner free for a fluffy pet bed. Whatever personal touches your bedroom needs, sit down and make a list.
How to Utilize Space in a Small Bedroom
One of the keys to fitting everything you need into the space of a small bedroom is measuring. Make sure you have the dimensions of the room on hand while you're doing your shopping. You don't need to create a physical floor plan, necessarily, but measuring all the furniture before you buy is a must when you're trying to make the most of every nook and cranny. If you do decide to create a floor plan as a visual aid, this guide can help.
The other important thing to keep in mind when you're working the limited space to your advantage is walkways. If there's a clear path from the door to the bed, from the bed to the closet, and so forth, chances are your space will still feel open and inviting. Once you have to start finagling your way around poufs and clutter, then you know you've failed step one.
Working From the Bed Out
To make decorating as easy on yourself as possible, start with the main attraction: the bed. Most bedrooms feature an intuitive spot to place it, so follow your instincts.
Once you know how much of the space the bed is going to take up, you can either start placing the rest of your furniture or revisit the list of essentials you made. If it looks like you're going to run out of space, see what you can do to narrow down the number of items you need. Additionally, consider how you can combine pieces into one multi-purpose item or come up with some innovative designs.
How to Use Color
Though it may seem like a strange thing to consider, the color palette of your bedroom can impact how crowded it feels. Jamming a lot of loud, bold colors into the room will overwhelm the senses and make the space seem too full.
To avoid this, it's best to use neutral colors when deciding on your base palette. A lot of whites, tans, or greys offer a solid foundation on which to play around.
If you pick white as your base color, consider getting accents in a vibrant coral for a warm, inviting tone. Look at these sheets for the perfect example of this color combination:
On the other hand, white and sage green can feel calming and invoke a springtime freshness. This nature-inspired wall decor proves it:
Tan bedrooms call out for bright yellows or jewel-toned pinks. The former brings an earthy and grounded feel to the bedroom, as demonstrated wonderfully by this adorable accent rug:
Finally, a grey foundation makes electric blue or lime green pop. These color combinations work exceptionally well in contemporary bedrooms for the funky, playful tone they set. For example:
Of course, color theory is a helpful thing to keep in mind when decorating any room. Learn more about how to utilize color in your decor to set certain moods here.
Playing with Light
Natural light is one of the best ways to make your bedroom feel open. If you have a large window, be sure to have a way to tie back your curtains when the sun is up. The more sunlight your space reflects, the freer your bedroom will feel.
For when the sun isn't up, you can have floor lamps placed strategically in the corners of your room, where overhead lights tend to cast shadows.
How to Make a Small Bedroom Look Bigger
If your small bedroom doesn't allow you to play up the natural light to much effect, you can always create the illusion of more space with mirrors—using science to your advantage. A full-length mirror on the back of your bedroom door or a large, rectangular number over top of your vanity reflects the whole space to you. Though it's merely a trick of the light, it will make your bedroom feel more open.
The Beauty of Multi-Purpose Furniture
Another way to conserve space in your small bedroom is to use furniture designed to fill multiple roles. Usually, these pieces are centered on serving a function, as well as providing storage space.
Using multi-purpose furniture can be as simple as getting a bed with space for a trundle underneath. The drawer of the trundle can then be used to store seasonal clothes, extra pillows, and blankets, or even books. Daybeds are similarly simple. Their orientation allows you to use them as a couch as well as a bed.
More complex pieces include lofted beds with desks built into the frame underneath and headboards that double as shelving units. Both these pieces offer storage while utilizing the height of the room to keep the floor from getting crowded.
How to Arrange Furniture in a Small Bedroom
When it comes to organizing the space, symmetry always looks pleasant to the eye. If you decide you do want a nightstand, consider adding one on either side of the bed even if you're a lone sleeper. You can then use both nightstands as additional storage or a place to incorporate more light with a bedside lamp.
To keep up with symmetry, consider placing a desk across the room from your bed. Or you can set up a reading nook in one corner of the room and then add a space for your pet in the adjacent corner.
On the other hand, asymmetry works well in a contemporary bedroom. If you have the bed placed in the center of one wall, consider setting a wardrobe off-center on the opposite wall.
Another thing to keep in mind is that utilizing the height of the space, as well as the ground, helps you make the most out of small bedrooms. Lofted beds, tall floor lamps, and mounted shelves all accomplish this.
For more ideas on how to arrange your furniture, check out our guide to minimalist bedroom decor to get inspired. Turning to minimalism is a great way to maximize space while creating a cohesive aesthetic. It is style meets practicality at its finest!
Small Bedroom Decorating Ideas on a Budget
Now that you're feeling inspired and ready to design the bedroom of your dreams, how do you make it work practically and without eating up your life savings?
Decorating on a budget is what most multi-purpose furniture was made for, so be sure to track down these pieces where you can.
Buying used furniture or sorting through clearance sales helps ensure you're getting quality pieces without breaking the bank. One thing you don't want to do is buy the cheapest furniture available. Though tempting, this method of decorating is not sustainable. Getting cheap and cheaply made furniture means you'll have to replace things when they inevitably break.
Speaking of cheaply made, you'll want to avoid desks and headboard made of plywood or lightweight metals. These materials crack and dent far too easily. It's always better to get a solid wood piece on sale than to pay next to nothing for furniture that won't last.
For further help pricing out pieces, you should check out our extensive guide on the basic cost of decorating a bedroom. This will help you put together a reasonable budget.
Here are more small bedroom design tips and inspiration: