If you're a city dweller, you probably know that space is a luxury—but in the age of the tiny home, small abodes aren’t always a concern to design lovers. Limited space can show off your innovative design and make quaint rooms feel charming. It's also an opportunity to remove clutter (minimalists, rejoice!) and make cleaning a breeze.
Downsizing your belongings to the necessities allows you to make purposeful design decisions. To make your bedroom as beautiful as it is functional, get inspired by design hacks and turn your small sleeping arrangement from pint-sized to productive.
Read on to learn what interior design experts have to say about small spaces, and tips to make your boudoir feel larger.
Interior designer Jennifer Wallenstein of September Workshop guides us towards the light, noting that the key to opening up a small space is in the fixtures. “Opt for accent lighting scattered around the space in lieu of one large overhead light or recessed cans,” Wallenstein says. “This will draw your eye around the room, creating depth and shadow, whereas one bright light source will bathe the space in a uniform glow."
Design With White
To keep a space feeling fresh and airy, match your bedding to the walls with an all-white look. In this bedroom styled by Brexton Cole Interiors, plush bedding blends into the walls while textured linens and pillows add visual interest. Tall ceilings are a focal point thanks to a bold chandelier, and simple gold accents bring an elegant finish to the space.
Play With Mirrors
In another small space trick, mirrors can be your saving grace for giving the suggestion of grandeur. "A large mirror mounted on the wall adds architectural interest while also adding light to the space," home staging expert Meridith Baer says. "It works especially well if it reflects a window—or a large opening into the room—to give the illusion of more space.”
Find Clear Furniture
Baer also chooses lucite and glass materials for bedside furniture. “It’s a crisp, modern look that doesn't visually weigh down the space," she says. "By adding the right airy accessories on top, you can add height to the space along with dramatic impact.” Clear furniture also presents a great opportunity for displaying your favorite colorful decorations without a cluttered look.
Make It Minimal
When styled right, it doesn't take much to make a bedroom feel like home—and this space by Corner House Creatives is a testament to minimalism. With earthy, neutral tones accenting a mostly-white room, this bedroom feels light and fresh. It may feel wrong at first to go without art on statement walls, but sometimes, less really is more.
When going minimal with white decorations, paint the ceiling the same color as the walls to extend the space and create visual height.
Mount Lighting on Walls
Rather than using valuable space for floor lamps, mount your lighting directly on the walls. In this space by Ashley Montgomery Design, an adjustable sconce hangs above the bedside table to brighten the room. By choosing a light that isn't fixated in one place, it's easy to fold it in when not in use (or extend it over the bed for those coveted nighttime reading sessions).
“Make a small space look bigger by filling it with whites and neutrals," Shannon Wollack of Studio Life/Style says. Rather than using bold prints or colors, save visual space with white bedding hues. “Mix up the neutral palette with textured pillows and throws to add depth to your space.”
Create Visual Height
Even if you haven't been blessed with tall ceilings, there are plenty of ways to create visual height that makes a room feel larger. Casa Watkins Living made this room feel especially spacious by styling floor-length curtains around the windows, framing them with bright curtains. Hanging your drapery at ceiling height is a design trick for opening the space—and matching their statement colors to other accents in the room can draw the eye from corner to corner.
Sleep easy knowing everything has its place when storage is plenty. Designer Julie Van Daele guides us to “find furniture pieces that have subtle drawers so you can have a place for everything.” Beds with storage beneath are also helpful, as their built-in stow-away spots hide extra necessities. Bedding, clothing, and books are easy to access when needed but won't take up valuable floor space.
Say Goodbye to Bulky Bed Frames
While we may all love those traditional poster beds handed down over the generations (and our grandmother's furniture always has a special place in our hearts), minimalizing the bed frame helps to move away from bulky furniture. Since your bed is likely the largest thing in your room, take a cue from Julian Porcino and stick to a simple frame. Paired with matching window panels and decorations, this black metal frame feels sleek and clean.
Creating symmetry in a room is a great way to make a space feel large, as it makes each end look wider. Cathie Hong Interiors used matching pendant lamps, bedside tables, and wall curtains in this bedroom to establish a central focal point with plenty of interesting design elements on either side. Choosing small, rounded end tables allows for extra storage without taking up too much space.
Opt for Daybeds
If you live in an apartment with very limited room, trading in your traditional bed for a daybed can create more floor space. Daybeds often fit against the wall, and since they're designed to be styled this way, they don't look awkward in corners (as feng shui would remind us). In this room by Afro Bohemian Living, a lush daybed is placed along the wall to allow room for a small dining area. Bonus perk: A daybed can double as a couch when you're not sleeping.
Incorporate Area Rugs
While you may not have room for a cozy sitting chair in the corner, the design tip Porcino uses in this space can be applied to all bedrooms: area rugs. By incorporating a large area rug in the center of the room, the bed feels smaller in comparison (and tricks the eye into thinking the space is larger). Find a rug with neutral tones that don't overwhelm the decorations with color, and use textures like jute to add visual interest.
Widen Your Windows
When it comes to dressing your windows, widening their visual space can be as helpful as making them feel taller. “Always hang drapery panels as high and wide as possible to give the illusion of higher ceilings and a larger window," says Abbe Fenimore, interior designer and founder of Studio Ten 25. "I like to have the drapery panels extend at least 10 inches on either side of the window if the space is available." Opt for simple drapes that carry the eyes up.
Organize Your Closet
Marie Kondo’s philosophies are ever-popular, and many people are purging their wardrobes at a rapid rate. But what does one do once they’ve successfully disposed of unworn clothes? When it comes to making your small sleeping space appear bigger, creating a system is key. Certified KonMari specialist Lisa Tselebidis teaches us that to optimize, one must organize.
Folding your clothes into smaller sections and displaying them vertically allows for easy access to each item. Say goodbye to the days of ruining your perfectly folded stack when you reach for items on the bottom.
Transform Your Bed
Another way to optimize floor space is to get creative with bed placement. Brittany Zwickl of Studio Life/Style recommends a Murphy bed to maximize walking room. Once you're up for the day, tuck your mattress away, and the room transforms into a multi-use living area.
Pick With Purpose
It’s a common trick when decking out your pint-sized bedroom to be purposeful with what makes the cut. “You do not want lots of little things, as it will clutter the space and make it feel even smaller," says designer Emily Henderson. "When it comes to decorating small spaces, go for large-scale accessories, but fewer of them.”
Brighten Your Walls
Small bedrooms can feel like you’re closed in by four walls, but this tip can use those walls to your advantage. Decorist designer Max Humphrey sends us to the paint store: “A little paint can go a long way to make a room feel bigger," he says. "When the walls and ceilings are painted the same color, the room goes from feeling like a closed-in shoebox to a bright and open space. I recommend using soft, neutral, and lighter colors.” His go-to shade is this light, cool gray for the walls and ceiling.
Erin Hiemstra of Apartment34 recommends that when square footage is limited, build up. “Look for storage solutions that can be wall-mounted," she says. "From bedside tables to desk solutions, keeping things off the floor gives the impression of more floor space." In this space Hiemstra visited by One Fine Stay, wall shelves create plenty of storage above a cozy day bed, styled to match colors between wall décor and patterns in the bedding.
Say Yes to Wallpaper
Creating an accent wall can add playfulness that attracts the eye and makes a room feel polished. “Try wallpaper in a small bedroom," says Decorist Creative Director Jessica McCarthy. "You don't need to wallpaper all the walls—as a matter of fact, for a small room, focus on one accent wall to create a focal point." She also urges us not to be afraid of a bold pattern, which can create a maximalist effect and make the room's design feel thoughtful.