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The right small bedroom ideas can turn a tiny cramped space into a must-see retreat, with practical storage solutions and enviable interior design schemes.
Even the most humble of box rooms has the ability to serve as a comfortable small bedroom, and clever use of furniture can turn it into a multi-functional space too, incorporating useful study and storage areas.
Careful planning and a dash of inspiration are all that’s needed to maximise a small bedroom’s potential. Take a look at these small bedroom and single bedroom ideas before you start decorating.
Small bedroom ideas to style compact spaces
1. Rethink the layout
A small bedroom will always benefit from rethinking the traditional layout. Position the furniture in a way that makes you feel less overwhelmed. Position the majority of furniture on just one wall, preferably the wall you see less of when in the space to stop it feeling overcrowded.
Try to minimise the amount of furniture within a small bedroom, by being resourceful with clever multifunctional pieces – the sideboard that also acts as a dressing table for instance.
2. Utilise all awkward corners for storage
When space is premium it calls for savvy storage solutions. In this small attic bedroom idea the owners have used the awkward recess space in a tight corner to go for bespoke built-in cupboards. Using an otherwise unusable space for concealed storage helps to prevent clutter from encroaching on an already limited space.
Out of sight is best for a small bedroom, because any visible items will make the room feel overcrowded – therefore feeling even smaller.
3. Build storage around the bed
Bespoke wardrobes are the most effective way to get the most out of your bedroom storage. Building wardrobes either side of the bed help to create a frame which holds the gaze on that one wall. This allows the remaining walls to be free of any obstructions which will take up valuable space. Use the other walls for artwork or mirrors instead.
You could use the space further by creating storage above the bed too, just be mindful not to make the decor feel dated – or claustrophobic with too much going on.
4. Reflect on surface choices
Double the feel of a small bedroom by using reflective surfaces to create the optical illusion of continuing space. Who hasn't walked into a bar and thought it was double the size, only to realise it was a clever use of mirrors which led you to believe so? Mirrored wardrobes, a reflect shiny wall covering and mirrored bedside tables are used in the compact bedroom to make the space feel bigger than it is.
Maybe using all three feels too overwhelming, fear not – the same principles work by using only a single one of the these elements. Think about where you can best install reflective surfaces when designing your small bedroom layout.
5. Create an illusion of space with clever decorating
Paint is a marvellous solution for so many decorating problems. Not only can a splash of colour instantly help to invigorate a space, making it feel more inviting, it can also be used in a way that helps to combat wider aesthetic issues, such as making small spaces feel bigger. Take for instance this small bedroom paint idea, where a combination of colours has helped to create a border, and therefore has created a new perspective for the walls. An optical illusion of sorts.
The thoughtful combination of Dulux’s Denim drift on the bottom half, met by a slim dado-style border of Spiced Honey, topped by Tranquil Dawn helps to break the room – lengthening the walls. A great paint solution to tackle the perils of small spaces.
6. Double your headboard as storage
If space is in short supply, ditch the usual style of headboard for one like this with a gap for storage and a surface area, where you can place things. This means you can do away with bulky bedside tables, as you'll have a convenient spot to stash your bedtime reading. Go one better and install wall lamps too.
7. Store from floor to ceiling
Invest in a wardrobe as tall as you can physically get into the room, slimline is of course best to save taking up valuable floorspace. Then use the space above the wardrobe to seek extra storage room, for boxes and baskets to ensure every inch of space from floor to ceiling is best used. Keep the baskets and boxes orderly and tidy, to avoid it look chaotic.
8. Build storage into awkward alcove spaces
Whether your small bedroom has alcoves or awkward spaces caused by eaves make the most of them by creating smart storage solutions. The architectural nature of alcoves provides the perfect place to feature a run of open shelves, with bespoke cupboards below.
The shelves of this savvy alcove idea are ideal for housing books and things you wish to have on display, while the cupboards are perfect for bigger storage needs, to conceal items such as extra bedding or boxes of life admin.
9. Double up your dressing table
Never before have we been so confined within the walls of our homes, looking for ways to use each space in alternative ways. while it's not ideal to work or have your computer in the bedroom, but can your dressing table double up as a writing desk?
Even if it's just somewhere to peacefully gather your thoughts and write your to do list, it's worth keeping the surface area clear rather than cluttering it with lotions and potions.
10. Elevate storage off the floor
Hanging a storage unit on the wall instead of having a bedside table that sits on the floor will instantly free up space and one with a drop down desk will give you somewhere to sit and do your make up or place your morning coffee.
11. Use uplifting colour to open up the space
Using an uplifting colour, such as a sunshine yellow, can help to invigorate any small space, just be mindful of how you use the colour. Painting the bright colour up to mid room height will help to anchor the colour to the bottom half of the room.
Finish the rest of the painting in a bright white or similar neutral to help keep the look airy and spacious. Allow the added splash of colour to determine a tonal palette for bedding, accessories and floor rugs to create a cohesive look.
12. Wall mount the lighting
Wall-mounted lighting in a small bedroom can help to free up some much needed surface space. Using the wall allows you to perfectly place the task lighting to enhance the layout.
13. Step things up with vertical storage
Ladder storage is a great way to achieve the benefit of wall shelving whilst having the flexibility to move it when you want to change things around. This one perfectly suits this tight space in the bedroom but it could just as easily work in the bathroom or a small sitting room.
14. Buy a wardrobe with a sliding door
Barely have space to move in your bedroom, but have lots of clothes that need a home? Try a wardrobe with a sliding door. This piece features a full-height rail on one side, together with five drawers and a half-height wardrobe above with removable shelves.
Buy now: Malvern mink wardrobe with sliding door, £1,250, The Cotswold Company (opens in new tab)
15. Swap the bed for a sofa bed
When square footage is at a premium, try incorporating a wall bed instead of a traditional sofa bed. It takes a standard mattress, offering greater comfort, and can fold away to look like a wardrobe or cabinet, freeing up valuable floor space for a desk and chair.
Ensure that the surrounding furniture is lightweight so that it can easily be moved to accommodate a pull-down bed. If you have adequate ceiling height, look at bespoke options, such as a simple mezzanine incorporating a sleeping area on a raised platform with a wardrobe or shelving below.
16. Put storage in place at new heights
Like any small space, the key to a successful compact bedroom is to create adequate storage within a functional layout. Often in a small guest room, a couple of large, hard-working pieces of furniture will create a less cluttered look than several small pieces.
When square footage is at a premium, try incorporating floating shelves, or (if your budget allows) bespoke fitting above the bed for a streamlined look that won't compromise your space.
17. Hang a space-saving headboard
You wouldn't think a headboard would take up much space, but some designs can be deceptive. Where every inch of space counts look for alternative ways to add interest to a bedroom wall, without compromising on valuable space. A quirky wall-hung DIY headboard idea is a genius way to add a finishing touch to a bedstead, without having to encroach on the space.
This smart idea also saves the costs of buying a new bed when tastes or trends change, simply create a new backdrop for the bed by way of a new wall hanging.
18. Pick a theme for your small space
Make a small bedroom appear larger by choosing a predominantly white look and peppering it with a specific decorative motif such as flowers and leaves.
Combine neutral flooring with crisp white walls, delicate florals and minimal accessories for a chic, life-enhancing bedroom. This scheme is a masterclass in using complementary colours to make a space sing.
Keep furniture pale and lightweight rather than dark and solid, going for a metal bedstead and cafe-style bedside table.
19. Look to use symmetry in your small bedroom
A simple, perfectly balanced design scheme can be the saving grace of a small twin bedroom. Metal bedsteads are good space savers - but ring the changes with an unusual finish such as polished brass. Dress the beds in pure white linen and pastel-coloured wool blankets with a neutral/patterned duo of cushions to finish. Fit wall-mounted lamps to free up space on a shared bedside table.
20. Luxuriate in colour
Think you can't add colour to a small bedroom? Think again! Tight spaces are a great for experimenting with colour, texture and design.
Combine petrol blue and aqua tones for a near-combustible mix; choose sumptuous silks and rich velvets for tactile bedspreads, cushions and curtains. But amidst these deep, rich shades, hold back a little white for ceilings and window frames.
21. Create a feature wall
Be bold with a striking wallpaper and eye-catching artwork and turn a single wall into the main focus of a small bedroom. Opt for a restricted colour palette with crisp white bed linen and furniture made from reclaimed wood.
Stick to mostly white bed linen so the look isn't overly busy and introduce a splash of colour to liven up the scheme a notch.
22. Use multifunctional furniture
When space is at a premium, multifunctional furniture comes into its own. Look for pieces that can double up, such as a storage ottoman that can be used at the foot of the bed as a seat while acting also acting as the ideal place for extra blankets and layers to pull out at a moments notice. Keeping the extra bedding out of sight helps to create a clutter-free space, which contributes to making the space feel bigger.
23. Paint a small bedroom white
Decorate walls and ceilings in the best white paint to visually open up a small space and free you to use colour and pattern in a controlled way elsewhere. Then go to town with cottage garden florals - against the plain background they won’t overpower a small bedroom.
Let colourful fabrics take centre stage with a bold, red patterned bedspread and cushions that contrast with the rest of the room.
24. Use the space behind the bed to store out of sight
Make storage less visible by incorporating it into an unassuming area, such as the space behind the bed. Cleverly disguised units, most likely found at IKEA, will create a form of interest at the head of the bed in place of a headboard but will double up as hidden storage.
This hidden storage is the perfect place to keep extra blankets, hot water bottles and other bedtime essentials. It could also be an ideal storage solution for freshly laundered bedding, to ensure it's close to hand come sheet changing day.
25. Create a cool work zone
In a kid's room, take over part of the wardrobe space to create a cool work zone. Installing a wall lamp and hanging a pin board where you can fix pots for pens and other knick knacks will keep the desk space free for focusing on the important stuff.
26. Duplicate a pattern
Don't be afraid to use pattern in a small bedroom. Pick one design, such as polka dots, and assign it to walls and soft furnishings for a smart, tightly controlled decorating scheme.
Where space is at premium, choose your furniture with storage potential in mind: bedside cabinets over tables; an end-of-bed blanket box over a sofa.
27. Put a peg rail in place
Peg rails are not just for traditional Shaker kitchens. Use a simple peg rail in a bedroom to elevate any additional storage needs in a small bedroom space. Hang pictures, mirrors or even items of clothing to keep items off the floor. The versatile pegs allow for flexible storage, which will ensure every inch of space is usable.
28. Make it minimal
Symmetry is your friend when you need to strip back to essentials in a small room. Double up on bedside cabinets and lighting for an uncomplicated, easy-on-the-eye scheme. Use hits of duplicated colour to create visual balance and add definition and energy.
Pick a pale colour palette as a fail-safe space enhancer. Here, soft neutrals add just the right amount of warmth, while the minimal wall decorations draw the eye to the bed and keep it there.
29. Keep the colour scheme neutral
Create a restful feel in a guest bedroom with chalky cream walls, a pale upholstered headboard and a luxurious off-white satin throw.
Stick to neutrals for as much of the room as you dare so that items don't compete with each other for attention and the space appears less cluttered. But do feel free to add in the odd warmer tones to prevent the scheme from feeling cold and clinical.
30. Think outside the box
If you love bold prints or texture, don't shy away from your favourite pattern in a small bedroom.
Whether it's on walls or soft furnishings, make a feature out of a strong design: papering one wall with flocked or floral wallpaper will stop the pattern from taking over the small room, but will still achieve the desired finish.
31. Repeat a single motif
Keep the decorative elements of a small room pared back by choosing a single motif - such as the heart - and running with it. Use it in two or three forms, such as artwork, accessories and soft furnishings, and in varying scales and the cohesive, contained scheme that results will free your space of clutter and confusion.
Restrict colour to accessories and the room will be easy to update whenever you feel like it.
32. Look to furniture with form and function
Most homes suffer from bottlenecks so think laterally too about how to free up space. Can a small bedroom have wardrobes in the hall outside, with dressing room appeal? Challenge your preconceptions, but do make sure any solution is practical.
Another option is to go for a statement bed and little else, as we've done here. If you follow this route, use a bed that offers plenty of in-built hidden storage, or space underneath to store boxes and vacuum bags.
Which colour is best for a small bedroom?
Generally speaking white and neutral are thought best for decorating small spaces, especially small bedrooms because the colours are calming and tranquil. Having said that there are ways in which you can incorporate colour into a small bedroom space without overwhelming the space.
Clever paint techniques mean you can introduce colour in a way that opens up the space, to great a sense of generosity within the space - and for this any colour goes. The key is to be mindful of the layout, for instance does the bedroom. have plenty of natural light? Read here for more bedroom colour scheme ideas.
How do I arrange my small bedroom?
Try to minimise clutter to instantly make the room feel more spacious. A clutter-free bedroom is also key to getting a good night's sleep too. Keep furniture to a minimum in a small bedroom. Because there's no escaping bigger bulky pieces of essential furniture, such as beds and wardrobes. Where you can opt for elevated designs, those on legs rather than flush to the ground in order to free up floor space.
Let's not forget the storage potential for under beds, to keep items out of sight – just be sure it is stored out of sight at all times. The aim is to keep as much off the floor to create a sense of space, look up at the ceiling to remind yourself of the floorspace within the room.
And of course make sure the space is comforting, whether large or small this is always the most important factor when arranging a bedroom layout.
Will you be using any of these small bedroom ideas to decorate your compact space?
Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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