When it comes to bedroom layout ideas, working out the most practical arrangement for bed, furniture and wardrobes can be tricky, especially if space is tight or there are awkward fixtures and fittings to be worked around. While space (or lack of space) is often the deciding factor, there are other considerations that come into play and sometimes the obvious option is not always the most practical.
How your bedroom ideas are arranged can have a big impact on its functionality, so getting it right is key. Start by drawing up a floor plan, which will make it easier for you to work out just how much space is available and what’s the best position for larger items of furniture.
Measure up first so that you have the room’s dimensions and then plot everything out on graph paper, making sure to include windows, doors, fixtures and any architectural details that you’ll have to work around. Making paper templates of key pieces of furniture will then allow you to play around with different layouts and determine where best to position everything.
Bedroom layout ideas
While practical considerations are a must when it comes to bedroom layout ideas, creating a relaxing mood and peaceful atmosphere is essential too. The bedroom is the space where we spend the most time, whether it's sleeping, relaxing or getting ready, so knowing how to arrange furniture in a bedroom and creating a tranquil layout that creates a sense of flow and doesn’t crowd the space is key.
‘Organising your bedroom with Chinese geomancy in mind can aid in creating balance,’ says Kate Windleton, a Feng Shui enthusiast and Relocation Manager at Strong Move. ‘You'll need space on both sides of the bed for a nightstand to ensure symmetry in the room. Nightstands also provide a great opportunity to personalise your space with lamps, plants and accessories. And I would also advise having a headboard - for they help represent stability.’
1. Make the bed the focal point
With bedroom layout ideas, the most important consideration is where to position the bed. As the largest item, it will determine the positioning of the other large pieces of furniture, which should be as evenly-spaced around the room as possible so that the bedroom doesn’t feel too crowded.
Even in small bedroom ideas, position the bed centred along the longest wall if you can. Having the bed facing the door so as you come into the bedroom it feels welcoming and helps draw you into the room. This position creates good Feng Shui too and is known as the ‘commanding’ position, but avoid having the bed directly lined up with the door if you can and arrange in a staggered position instead.
‘Consider if your bed is right for the room,' says Jonathan Warren, Director and bed specialist, Time4Sleep. ‘You might have managed to squeeze a kingsize bed into the room to enjoy the extra space while you sleep, but it could be visually crowding your bedroom and forcing you to uncomfortably manoeuvre around the space.’
‘Having a bed that fits comfortably within the room will allow you to have additional freestanding storage options such as wardrobes and drawers whilst avoiding looking too busy in a space that should ideally be promoting a sense of calm.’
2. Position the bed alongside the doorway
If fixtures and fittings mean that you can’t position your bed on the opposite wall to the doorway, then positioning it on the same wall as the door is an alternative that can still work well. This might mean that you are opposite a window, which will allow you to take in the view while you’re in bed. And with the bed being hidden from view slightly when entering the door, it gives a little more privacy.
Positioning bedroom layout ideas so that the bed on the same wall as the doorway might mean that the bed isn’t in the most central position, which can throw the room a little off-balance. To counter this, try to arrange other larger items of furniture strategically around the room so that space doesn’t feel too one-sided. A small armchair or chest of drawers in an empty spot across from the bed might be all that’s needed to bring better balance to your modern bedroom ideas.
3. Allow space for an en-suite
A bedroom with an en-suite bathroom can make bedroom layout ideas more challenging, as there will be two doorways to contend with. Good Feng Shui says that the head of a bed should never be positioned against the wall of a bathroom, but in practice that might not always be feasible. If you can, try to avoid placing the bed against an en-suite wall if there is pipework or plumbing on the reverse side which could be noisy in the night.
Positioning the bed against an en-suite wall can have its advantages, as it will mean the basin or loo aren’t visible when you are in bed and the door is open. Best practice with an en-suite is to get into the habit of closing the door if you can, so that you can’t see directly inside.
4. Enjoy a room with a view
Waking up to a good view is always lovely, so positioning the bed where you have a clear sight line to the window and no obstructions in the way is worth considering. However, if it’s a south-facing bedroom with large windows, direct sunlight can cause unwanted light and heat in the mornings, so if the bed is positioned directly opposite a window, blackout blinds or curtains are worth considering.
‘Our biggest exposure to sunlight is through our windows, but the right window treatment can help ensure your bedroom stays cooler for longer,’ says Yvonne Keal, Senior Product Manager, Hillarys. ‘If it’s south-facing and experiences more sunlight throughout the day, simply keeping the curtains, blinds or shutters closed will help keep things cooler. A thermal lining can protect against both heat loss (in winter) and heat gain (in summer) and can help to regulate the temperature of the room.’
5. View a window side-on
Positioning the bed on an adjacent wall to the window will still allow views outside, without the bed having direct sunlight streaming down on it on summer mornings heating up the mattress. Being slightly away from the window will also keep the bed out of draughts over the colder months too.
Having bedroom layout ideas with the bed positioned directly up against a window is never advised unless it's the only option available. Aside from blocking the view and being more visible from outside, being against glass makes the bed more vulnerable than against a solid wall and the temperature will be more varied too.
6. Choose a bright spot for a dressing table
When it comes to a dressing table, ideally, you’ll want as much natural light as possible for putting on make-up or styling hair, so positioning one in front of a window is a good spot with maximum light coming in. Adding a smart bedroom curtain idea such as a sheer blind or voile panel will help filter the light a little if it’s in a particularly sunny position.
Placing a dressing table across from a window (although not directly opposite) is another option so that the dressing table mirror will reflect the light from behind you back onto your face. When it comes to evening time, wall lights positioned to the side of a dressing table mirror will give a more flattering light than overhead lighting that is perfect for making up.
7. Utilise bedroom alcoves for storage
After the bed, bedroom wardrobe ideas are probably the next big consideration when it comes to working out bedroom layout ideas. Freestanding wardrobes are often the less-pricey option, with the added benefit that they aren’t a permanent fixture so can be moved or taken with you should you move home. Freestanding wardrobes can be quite bulky and cumbersome though and take up a lot of space if a bedroom is on the small side.
Older properties often have quirky architectural details and tricky shapes to work around, so fitted furniture comes into its own here, able to accommodate awkward alcoves and recesses. Fitted wardrobes are pricier, but can be tailored to suit the size and layout of a bedroom and incorporate any specific storage needs, so can be a worthwhile investment.
When positioning wardrobes, whether freestanding or fitted, if they are to be positioned near to a bed or close to other items of furniture, make sure that there is plenty of space for wardrobe doors to open fully plus space at the end of the bed so that there is room to walk around it uninterrupted.
‘Alcoves offer pockets of extra space in bedrooms, but it can often be difficult to know how to get the best use out of them,’ says Rachal Hucheson, National Retail Manager, Sharps. ‘Where it can be tempting to add off the peg furniture or create ‘nooks’, bespoke shelving and fitted storage offers the perfect solution for maximising available space and creating a focal point in a room.’
8. Bridge the gap above a bed
While a long run of wardrobes along one wall will provide plenty of clothes and shoe storage, a traditional arrangement like this might not be practical in a small bedroom or if there are architectural details that obstruct and make a straight run of units too tricky.
Work with your room layout instead and look to other ways of maximising a small bedroom layout. A bridge of built-in wall units spanning the space above a bed is a brilliant way of utilising over-bed space that might otherwise be wasted. Bridge units can be tailored to incorporate bedside units, cubbies and shelving and provide storage space for clothes, bedding, books and other bedside essentials.
‘You need all the floor space you can get in a small bedroom, but you don’t need the floor space right next to the head of your bed, so why not use it for storage?’ says Rachal Hucheson. ‘A bed bridge gives you all the practicality of a side table, the space-saving qualities of a shelving unit and the storage capacity of a big cupboard.’
‘Creating a well-designed bedroom with enough space to seamlessly store everything is at the heart of achieving a tranquil environment,’ adds Rachal.
9. Use a large rug to create balance
A well-positioned rug can create an anchor point for the bed in a large bedroom and help give the space a better sense of flow. Choose one large rug that sits under the foot of the bed, rather than two smaller rugs on either side. It should also be sizeable enough that it extends out on both sides of the bed, but not too big that it touches any other items of furniture or obstructs door ways.
The rule of thumb for including rugs in bedroom layout ideas is that bigger is better - a rug that’s too small for a large bedroom with throw the space off-balance.
10. Mix and match furniture
Matching nightstands and the bed centred in the middle of the room can help create balance and symmetry in master bedroom ideas. But in a single bedroom or if space is particularly tight, bringing in mismatched pieces creates more of a relaxed, eclectic vibe that feels less formal and structured.
A nightstand on one side of the bed, teamed with a console table or chest of drawers on the other side sit perfectly well together - and having a common thread, such as a similar colour, style or finish looks more intentionally placed rather than randomly put together. Style surfaces with lamps, pictures, candles and vases in complementary tones for a chic look.
What is the best way to lay out a bedroom?
When planning bedroom layout ideas, always try to leave as much open floor space as you can, especially around the door entrance so that you can open the door fully and the walkway into the room isn’t obstructed by furniture. It is also important to consider whether you are planning couples bedroom ideas or a space guests will be using.
When positioning large pieces of furniture, such as wardrobes, chests of drawers and dressing tables, make sure that you leave plenty of walking space around the bed, so that you can manoeuvre around it easily. Allow enough space for wardrobe doors to open fully and for drawers to be extended in and out. A space of roughly 50-60cm at the foot of a bed should be sufficient, with the same space again on each size of the bed so that the layout doesn’t feel too constricted.
What should you not do in a bedroom layout?
One thing to always be aware of with bedroom layout ideas is to avoid choosing a bed that is too big for the size of the space. While having plenty of bed space to sleep in is tempting, a bed that is too big will make a bedroom feel tight, cramped and awkward to manoeuvre.
Squeezing too many items of furniture into a bedroom is another no-no that can also make it feel overcrowded. Instead of having lots of smaller items of storage, try to consolidate several into a single, larger piece that will take up less floor space. And try not to position tall or bulky items of furniture in front of windows, where they could obstruct the view or block out valuable light.
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Lisa is Deputy Editor of Style at Home magazine and regularly contributes to sister title Ideal Home. She has written about interiors for more than 25 years and about pretty much every area of the home, from shopping and decorating, crafts and DIY to real home transformations and kitchen and bathroom makeovers. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person.
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