Heads Up: These Are the Worst Small Bedroom Decorating Mistakes You Can Make

Updated 05/09/19

Tessa Neustadt; DESIGN: Brady Tolbert for Emily Henderson

Between picking out furniture, comparing paint swatches, and shopping for light fixtures, there are a lot of decisions that go into decorating the perfect bedroom. Considering that a seemingly innocuous design mistake like selecting the wrong size rug or hanging a pendant light too high can have a disproportionate effect on a small space, the stakes for getting the details right are surprisingly high.

To gain intel on the small bedroom decorating mistakes to avoid at all costs, we turned to an expert on the topic: Emily Henderson, a Los Angeles-based interior stylist with over 15 years of experience. From neglecting to consider scale to overlooking the importance of lighting, these are the egregious bedroom decorating faux pas to steer clear of, according to the seasoned stylist. Small-space dwellers, take note.

Mistake #1: Neglecting the importance of scale.

Small bedroom decorating tips
Ryan Liebe; DESIGN: Emily Henderson

The number one small bedroom mistake people make, according to Henderson, is neglecting to consider scale. "It’s so important," the stylist stresses. "Small rooms are typically trickier to design because finding pieces that feel the right size isn’t easy."

Just because it's a small room doesn’t mean it can only handle tiny furniture, explains Henderson. On the other hand, "if you have huge pieces you don’t want to overwhelm the space and make it feel crowded," she's quick to note. "It’s all about a happy balance."

Of course, the importance of scale extends beyond furniture to décor accents as well. Take style notes from the small-space bedroom pictured above, which forgoes a gallery wall comprised of many smaller works in favor of one large, framed print instead.

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Mistake #2: Over-decorating.

Small bedroom decorating mistakes to avoid
 Sara Tramp; DESIGN: Emily Henderson

Filling a bedroom with décor accents can make a small space feel cluttered rather than curated. Instead, "keep it simple and intentional," suggests Henderson. "Only put pieces in your space that mean something special to you and/or have a function. Having a bunch of clutter will make you feel like the walls are closing in."

Simply put, less is more, especially when decorating a bedroom with limited square footage. Gain inspiration from this small space, which boasts a simple nightstand vignette that's edited down to just the essentials: a killer lamp, a bud vase for displaying fresh bloom, and a few books for good measure.

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Mistake #3: Not implementing a storage system.

Small bedroom storage ideas
 Sara Tramp; DESIGN: Emily Henderson

"Having a good storage system in place is essential in a small bedroom," Henderson tells MyDomaine. "Almost every piece of furniture should have two functions (one being storage)," she stresses. "There are a ton of cute storage bins on the market, so you should have no problem making your storage very cute and stylish. Everything having a place will make your room and life feel better."

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Mistake #4: Overlooking lighting.

Small bedroom lighting ideas
 Tessa Neustadt; DESIGN: Brady Tolbert for Emily Henderson

Bad lighting can accentuate the obvious lack of square footage in any space, including a small bedroom. "Make sure to not only install good ambient lighting but also light fixtures that are unique to you and your style," advises Henderson. "It’s a very easy way to up the style in an unexpected way."

If your floor space is limited, take advantage of your walls and ceiling, suggests the seasoned stylist. Take a cue from Emily Henderson Design's former editorial director Brady Tolbert who installed an architectural, armed sconce as an overhead light above his bed to conserve space and infuse the space with personality.

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Mistake #5: Not taking advantage of vertical space.

Small bedroom storage ideas
 Tessa Neustadt; DESIGN: Sara Tramp for Emily Henderson

Going vertical is a foolproof way to make a small bedroom look and feel taller, with the added bonus of ensuring limited floor space doesn't get overcrowded, divulges Henderson. Consider installing floating shelves, hanging artwork, or even opting for a freestanding garment rack to draw the eye up and make the most of that blank wall space.

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