How to organise a small bedroom to get the most out of a tiny bedroom

Clever storage ideas and a bit of lateral thinking are all that is needed to make the most of a small bedroom

Pink bedroom with wardrobe
(Image credit: Future PLC / Paul Massey)

Small bedrooms are an unfortunate reality for many homes across the UK.  Knowing how to organise a small bedroom is essential to keeping a small space functional.

You need to think carefully about making the most of the space so your small bedroom ideas can be the star of the show. Reducing the clutter around the bed is the first step, a cluttered bedroom will make it seem smaller, so embrace your inner Marie Kondo and learn the true magic of tidying up. 

There are also plenty of space-saving tricks and rules you can capitalise on, for example, if you don’t have room for two bedside tables, just make do with one. And don’t block the window, it will make the room seem smaller and prevent natural light from coming in. 

How to organise a small bedroom

Bedrooms have to work hard, there are some big pieces of furniture to take into consideration – beds, wardrobes and chests of drawers for example. There might not be space to arrange this furniture in your bedroom, so you may need to think about alternative, clever storage ideas to make everything fit. 

Bedrooms have to accommodate a lot of stuff – clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, spare bedding all need to be stored away for a clutter-free environment. It is easy to unlock space in your home you didn’t know you had, just follow our simple tips on how to organise a small bedroom.

1. Choose space-busting fitted wardrobes

Blue dressing table

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Fitted wardrobes were made for small bedrooms as they are the best way of utilising every available inch of space. Rather than doors that open outwards into the room, choose fitted wardrobes with sliding doors or doors that slot back into the recess as they have here. 

If you want to include a dressing table, this can be fitted in too and hidden behind a door. A stool can tuck underneath and you can close the door when you have finished using it for a sleek finish.

2. Disguise storage furniture with paint

Pink bedroom with wardrobe

(Image credit: Future PLC)

In older houses wardrobes were often narrow from front to back, so to cope with the number of modern clothes, build out the cupboard into the room, then disguise it by painting it the same colour as the walls and it will seem to ‘disappear.’

‘If you have a freestanding wardrobe, placing it next to or close to the door can make the room feel crowded,' says Antanas Budvytis, Managing Director of wardrobe specialists,  instrument.London. ‘Wardrobes should be tucked into corners where possible. Consider built-in storage if you’re considering investing in your bedroom space, as this can be tailored to help make the room layout more appealing.’ 

3. Invest in an ottoman for spare bedding

Bedroom with stormy wallpaper

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Houses rarely have linen cupboards anymore, so where do you put the spare bedding? An old-fashioned blanket box or ottoman is the perfect solution and a great way to organise a small bedroom. 

The lid lifts up to offer an easy bedroom storage idea, they are usually narrow, so they don’t take up too much space at the end of the bed, and they provide a seat too. You can also lay throws across them when you get into bed.

4. Think about a headboard with hidden storage

White headboard with storage

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Storage headboard ideas were designed with small bedrooms in mind. Such a nifty idea and a great way to organise a small bedroom. 

The headboard opens forwards so items such as throws, towels or spare bedding can be stored inside. Or there are versions with cubby holes in the sides for small items such as books, an e-reader or a phone charger. 

5. Make use of the ceiling with a hanging rail

Dressing room with black clothes hanging rail above pink drawers

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

If there isn’t room for a wardrobe, an alternative storage idea for a small bedroom is to choose a set of drawers with a hanging rail above. It’s ideal for smaller items such as blouses or shirts, bags or belts or anything you may be wearing that day, and all within easy reach. It frees up floor space and as it’s above the drawers it won’t get in the way. Choose coloured, matching hangers for a neat look.

6. Use mirrors to make a small bedroom seem larger

Red headboard with mirrors

(Image credit: Future PLC)

An oldie but a goodie, mirrors really do make a room seem bigger than it is. Mirrored wardrobes sometimes get a bad rep, but they help make a small bedroom look bigger by reflecting the space. Choose sliding doors so they don’t open into the room, offering an ideal way to organise a small with a small storage footprint.

7. Utilise the dead space above the bed

Small bedroom ideas and storage ideas for small box rooms

(Image credit: Future Plc/Dominic Blackmore)

Sometimes there is only one place the bed can go in a tight space, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for anything else. Think outside the box and use whatever space you can, like this high shelf above the window. Make it deep enough to place storage baskets on top and label them so you can see what is in them at a glance. 

Choose a small double bed which is 4ft wide in a tight spot, or build a wooden platform and just buy a mattress.

8. Choose a storage divan bed

Blue bed with underbed storage

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Storage beds are a great solution in a small space. Any spare bedding, towels, throws or cushions can be stored underneath the bed in roomy drawers. Or they could be used for out of season clothes, all neatly tucked away, freeing up floor space in the room. 

‘Always get the best quality and biggest bed and mattress the room can take and spend the most you can as these are investment pieces that will be with you for a long time,’ says Emma Deterding, Founder and Creative Director of Kelling Designs/KD Loves. ‘Choose a bed that has storage underneath, for instance an ottoman-style bed. It'll allow you to store things away underneath the bed and maximise every inch of space available.’

9. Create a compact bedroom office

Blue bedroom with double bed, blue duvet, wooden wall mounted side table next to fluffy stool

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If your bedroom doubles up as an office, choose compact pieces of furniture like this fold-down desk to make good use of the space. It can be folded down during the day to work, then folded back up in the evening. 

It’s narrow so it doesn’t take up a lot of wall space and frees up much-needed floor space too.

10. Think about the inside of doors

Yellow door with hooks

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you are short on space, don’t forget the doors. Hooks and rails can be attached to the inside or outside of doors to store accessories, jewellery, and even toiletries. 

There are plenty of small storage items out there that would work well. And instead of a bedside table, think about a stool, it can then double up as extra seating.

How do you organise a lot of things in a small bedroom?

‘To keep lots of things organised in a smaller bedroom, it is important to choose super functional storage to make the most of the space,' says Sarah and Sally Wilkie, Founders of Home Barn. ‘Opting for rustic storage, like cabinets with cupboard doors gives you plenty of room for larger pieces and stackable items like books. 

'Extra points for cupboards with shelves inside, which make it much easier to keep things organised. Choosing something with drawers allows you to keep special things grouped together. Additionally, choosing pieces with either draws or doors means you can keep the trappings of modern life, such as electricals and wires, out of sight and mind. Putting away gadgets will give the living space an extra calming feel, allowing you to truly unwind and enjoy the bedroom.'

What is the best way to organise a small bedroom?

‘Storage is key when you have limited space,' says Ann Marie Cousins, Founder of AMC Design. ‘So, get pretty baskets for the top of the wardrobe and think about an ottoman bed or drawer that slide away under your bed, keeping clutter out of sight.

'Use mirrors to make the space feel bigger - use them to trick the eye. Make sure furniture and patterns are to scale but don't forget to add a sense of drama to the scheme- small doesn't have to mean boring and being brave will make the scheme come to life.’

How do you reduce clutter in a small bedroom?

‘People are increasingly looking for ways to utilise their bedrooms more efficiently, which seems to be the effect that the influx of influencers such as Marie Kondo are having,’ says Adam Black, Co-Founder of Button & Sprung. 

‘The idea of clever organisation and storage, coupled with decluttering unwanted items, has been linked to a happier mindset. In spaces that are much smaller, you have to be clever about storage. This is why we have seen more and more people opting for bedroom storage and, in terms of beds, choosing models such as the ottoman which includes under-mattress storage space.’

Alison Davidson

Alison Davidson has been working as an interiors and lifestyle journalist for over 30 years. She has been Homes and Gardens Editor of Woman & Home magazine and Interiors Editor of House Beautiful magazine, she has also freelanced and worked for most of the interiors magazines at one time or another. She is currently embracing the move to digital using the same knowledge and expertise to produce high quality features.