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Design-led ideas for small bedrooms

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  • tips
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Ed Hawes
upholstered beds

Designing and decorating a small bedroom can be a real challenge. Bedrooms should always feel relaxing, stress-free and inviting, regardless of their size. Most small bedrooms need a little extra thought when furnishing or decorating them, to make the most of the space (or lack of it). Here's 9 of the best design tips for rented rooms in house shares, pint-sized apartments and squeezed-in spare rooms.

how to make a small bedroom feel

How do you make a small bedroom look nice?

Bedrooms are really personal spaces and should always reflect your own individual style. Remember to treat your small bedroom like any other space by giving its decor the same attention. To make your small bedroom look nice, start by figuring out your personal interior style. From here, you can begin to discover what elements from your style work well for smaller bedrooms.

1. Choose the right bedside

small bedroom ideas

Small bedrooms shouldn’t compromise on functionality - so you should still create a bedside area for drinks, alarms, books, and anything else you need by your side. Floating bedside tables are a great option where floor space is at a premium. For additional storage, consider a floating bedside table with a drawer, which helps keep surfaces clear of clutter. Create extra surface space by forgoing bedside lamps for wall-mounted sconces or hanging lights in warm tones. If they’re dimmable, even better.

2. Make furniture multi-purpose

small bedroom tips small bedroom ideas storage ottoman bedroom storage end of bed storage bedroom storage hacks clever bedroom storage ideas

Make storage stylish by incorporating multi-use furniture that blends in with the rest of the room. Design-wise, choose upholstered storage ottomans over storage boxes for a much more cohesive and put-together look. Extra blankets, duvets and even clothes can be hidden away in storage ottomans that double up as an extra place to sit when getting ready in the morning. If you’re not looking to invest in new wardrobes just yet, have a look at optimising what you’ve got already. Are you making full use of the space inside your wardrobe? Add pull-out drawers and extra rails in dead space inside your wardrobe to maximise storage space in your small bedroom. When you’re ready to splash out, fitted wardrobes are the best option for optimal small bedroom organisation. In conclusion, less clothes lying about = more snoozing space.

3. Choose the right colours

small bedroom ideas

Image: @awholenewbuild

You wouldn’t be wrong for thinking that most small bedroom designs use lighter walls - it’s the go-to choice for all types of compact rooms. If off-white’s your thing, don’t be afraid to add pops of colour back in through your accessories and soft furnishings. Think statement lights, patterned bedding, and bold upholstered headboards - it’s all personal to you. If you want to go for even more colour, especially with darker tones, you should keep the ceilings of your small bedroom white to avoid a closed-in feeling. Make bright and airy the main aim when thinking about your small bedroom design.

4. Consider unused areas

wall shelves small room ideas

This one’s all about making full use of wall space, and not stopping at head height. If you’ve got space above the bedroom door, add shelving or built-in units for stashing away items, or displaying decorative hanging plants. Shelves and wall units can serve two purposes - either as a decorative feature when surfaces are limited in your small bedroom or as functional elements that are still in keeping with your design vision. Map out more areas in your room where you could add shelving like above your headboard, in a corner, or above a window.

5. Make room for guests

sofa beds for small bedrooms

If it’s a spare bedroom where you’re struggling for space, sofa beds are great space-savers. Gone are the days of creaky camp beds and uncomfortable clik-clak style fold-outs. Choose an easily assembled sofa bed with a comfortable mattress topper that can be transformed into a fully functional place to sit when guests have gone. If your spare bedroom serves another purpose such as an office space, opting for this type of bed makes even more sense for small bedrooms.

6. Light up the room

small bedroom ideas

Make sure your small bedroom gets plenty of natural light to help the room feel more spacious. You’ll want to make sure light isn’t blocked out with curtains that are too large, shutters, or bulky pieces of furniture in the way of windows. Getting a good night’s sleep is really important, and these tips will help bring extra sunlight to the room in the morning to contribute to a healthier circadian rhythm. The same applies to velux or dormer windows in attic bedrooms, especially where ceilings slope inwards. When winter comes around and it’s naturally darker, make sure there’s enough light added with lamps and ceiling lights to really open up small spaces.

7. Utilise windowsills

bedroom windowsill styling ideas windowsill decor ideas small bedroom inspiration small bedroom ideas lamp on windowsill books on windowsill cosy room ideas cosy room aestheticImage: bloglovin via Pinterest

If you’ve got good depth on your small bedroom windowsill, it can be a handy space to keep personal care items, framed photos or books. Use the opportunity to style this naturally framed area in a way that reflects your personality. Less is more on a windowsill surface, especially in a more compact room. Make sure anything you’re decorating with is minimal and un-fussy in style. If you’re storing personal items, keep them well organised on decorative trays or in neat storage baskets that complement the rest of your room.

8. Add reflective decor

curved mirror leaner mirror

Strategically decorate with mirrors and other reflective decor pieces around your small bedroom to bounce light, and add to a brighter feel. Mirrors can be purely decorative or functional also, depending on what you need out of the room. Add oversized leaner mirrors to elongate the room. Use wall-mounted mirrors to reflect natural and added light around the room for a spacious feel that’s easy to change up whenever you like.

9. Minimise all clutter

minimal bedroom ideas

Tidier spaces = calmer atmosphere. Don’t forget that your functional small bedroom is still a place that needs to feel relaxing. Keep up with this by making sure clutter is kept at bay when you’re short on space. It’s a good idea to have regular clear-outs of anything that accumulates. Tidy floors and surfaces instantly make any small bedroom feel more put-together, which is key when you’re creating a place that’s meant for resting and recharging.

How do I plan a small bedroom layout?

Plan your small bedroom’s layout by making sure there’s easy access to three main areas: the bed, a bedside area, and the door. If you’ve got a single bed, it’s OK to put one side against a wall. If you have a double bed that’s shared by two people, you should try to make sure it’s accessible from both sides. If this isn’t possible, look to create somewhere on the wall side to keep cups, mobile phones and books, like a corner shelf or inset in the wall.

How can I maximise my sleeping space in a small room?

Maximise your sleeping space in a small room by choosing the right size of bed for your needs. Squeezing yourself into a bed that’s too small for you (or your partner if you’re sharing), will be uncomfortable. After figuring out the bed size you need, you should then start to think about the layout and what design adaptations you might need to make it fit.
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