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Ideas for Small Bedrooms

Here are 12 ways to make your space appear larger and more organized.

Interior of a Scandinavian style attic bedroom with a monochromatic (white/light gray) color scheme. There are two large skylights on the ceiling that allow for a lot of natural light. iStock

Not every home comes with large, expansive rooms, particularly an older one. If you feel like the walls are closing in the small rooms of your old house, try a few designer tricks to help your bedroom make a king-sized impression. From organizing your belongings to using the right colors, these ideas will give you that peaceful, easy feeling you need to fall asleep each night.

How to Make a Small Bedroom Look Bigger

Ever think that something is much bigger than it really is? Like the hill you conquered on your last hike? Well, you can encourage your eyes to do the same thing with your bedroom. Designers often use tricks to make a small space open up and feel much larger than it appears.

Use vertical space

Using wall space from floor to ceiling prompts your eyes to travel up rather than around.

Place shelves high, like over doors or along the ceilings, to showcase seldom-used items or collectibles. Hang your artwork higher than usual, too. And rather than blinds or short curtains, choose draperies that stretch from ceiling to floor, making the ceiling appear higher.

Choose colors strategically

A small bedroom with a monochromatic light pink color scheme. White toys lay on the floor and the bed. Jared Kuzia

Paint in light colors. A pale, monochromatic color palette makes you feel like the space is wide open. Match your drapery and headboard color to the walls, making them invisible; and save your color for throw pillows, artwork, or rugs.

Capitalize on the lighting

Whether you’re painting the walls in a light or dark color, make sure there’s plenty of light. If the room has minimal natural light, add it artificially. Layer the lighting with a ceiling chandelier, wall sconces, and table or floor lamps. If you need sun-blocking draperies for optimal sleep, layer them over sheers for the waking hours.

Choose transparent furnishings

From wall shelves to nightstands, clear lucite furnishings are virtually unnoticeable and expose more floor space. Also, try replacing wooden doors with frosted glass ones; they allow more light through, making the space appear larger while still protecting your privacy.

Add mirrors

A small modern bedroom with en suite and mirrors on the closet doors. GAP Interiors

Mirrors don’t just reflect the space, making it look bigger—they bounce light around the room giving it a more spacious feel. Try mirrored closet doors, a large dresser mirror, or mirrored tiles on the wall.

Tips for a Organizing Small Bedroom

The idea, “a place for everything and everything in its place” is tough to adhere to when space is at a premium. The first step in effective small bedroom organization is to declutter. How many pairs of jeans does one person need? Do you have clothes with the tags still on? Or maybe, items that should go elsewhere have gotten cozy in that easy chair in the corner. Ferret out those things and then use the following ideas to create that place for everything.

Hide the bed

Yes, you need a bed in the bedroom, but must it be the focal point? After all, it takes up more real estate than any other piece of furniture. So, why not hide it when you’re not sleeping? Consider a Murphy bed, cabinet bed, or daybed to save space in your small bedroom.

Ditch the dresser

Another space hog in the bedroom is the dresser. Conserve floor space with a highboy-style dresser. Or, ditch it altogether and use shelves in your closet and nightstands with drawers. Purchase bins to stow items that don’t need to be pristinely folded or hung up, like socks, underwear and pajamas.

Use the space under the bed

If you have a bed taking up most of the square footage of your room, why not use the space under it to store things like shoes, linens, off-season clothing, or even seasonal decorations. You could purchase a platform bed with drawers or use rolling bins with lids instead. If you don’t mind a high bed, create even more space underneath by elevating it a few inches with bed risers.

Use baskets

Bedroom interior with a rustic bed with blankets in a basket on the floor. iStock

A large basket for extra blanket storage takes up much less space than a cedar chest, and it can be moved around easily. Use a matching smaller basket to hold other items, and yet another for books or magazines.

Hang things on the walls

Wall hooks can hold a lot more than clothes. Hang musical instruments, sporting equipment, scarves, and jewelry for display when not in use. A toy hammock is ideal for stashing stuffed animals in a child’s room or extra pillows and blankets in a teen room. You can even mount a small floating box shelf next to the bed to replace a nightstand.

Get a new headboard

While having no headboard makes a room appear bigger, a headboard with shelves and storage cubbies can replace nightstands, freeing up floor space. Store books on the shelves and add some clip-on lighting or wall sconces for nighttime reading.

Build or buy a jewelry cabinet

Not enough floor space for your jewelry armoire? Save room by hanging a jewelry cabinet with a full-length mirrored door. With plenty of room for necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, you can hang the cabinet on the wall, over the door, or even recess it between the wall studs. Don’t have much jewelry? Use the cabinet for extra toiletries or small incidentals.

Your bedroom is meant to be a place of rest. A retreat where you escape the cares of the world. By eliminating clutter, organizing what’s left, and using a few visual tricks, your new zen space is only a weekend away.