10 small bedroom layouts to make the most of every inch of space

Small spaces can be tricky to work with, but the best small-bedroom layout ideas will ensure they're functional and stylish

Beige room with picture window
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Planning small bedroom layouts is the first step to turning a tiny room into a stylish and functional space. Small rooms can be particularly tricky to negotiate with size and awkward angles making a smart layout essential. 

The best place to start when choosing the best layout for small bedroom ideas is making sure the bed, wardrobes and chests of drawers all fit the space without blocking any doors or windows. Like with larger bedroom layouts, to do this effectively in a small room, draw up a floor plan with the bedroom’s dimensions on some graph paper, or do it online, there are plenty of free plans to choose from. 

When planning out a layout like this include any doors, windows, fixtures, awkward walls or obstructions. Then measure the larger pieces of furniture, not forgetting to allow enough space to open wardrobe doors and be able to pull out drawers. 

Once armed with a plan you can work out how much space you have to create a beautiful layout that will provide plenty of storage, and space to walk around the room without bumping into things. A relaxing and clutter-free bedroom is the goal, so everything has a place and there is no excuse for clothes piling up on a chair! 

Getting the right balance of practicality and style is always tricky, but with a little bit of planning around the layout easily achievable.

Small bedroom layouts

While practical considerations and effective small bedroom layouts are paramount, it’s important to also think about the mood and feel of the room too. We spend a lot of time in our bedrooms, so they need to be a calm and peaceful space to be in, and a room that reflects our style personality.

‘In terms of the layout of your small bedroom, a common mistake is positioning the bed in the wrong place,' says Lubo Todorov, Head of Visual Merchandising, Raft Furniture. ‘When you enter a room, you should ideally be facing the bed. Place your bed with its headboard to the back wall, with space on either side. This technique carries the eye the length of the room, creating depth. What’s more, it also frees up space on either side of your bed for bedside cabinets or tables, where ambient lamps can take pride of place.’ 

1. Centre the bed in the room for a balanced look

Beige room with picture window

(Image credit: Future PLC)

With the longest wall in the bedroom usually allocated to wardrobes, the bed sometimes has to fit into a less-than-perfect spot. There are often windows and doors to take into consideration, or there might be a wall that juts out into the room. If this sounds like your room if at all possible, try and centre the bed on the wall as Lubo says above. 

Adding bedside tables on either side helps with symmetry even if one of them is under a window, as is here. Choose low models, hang ceiling pendants rather than having table lamps and make sure they are equally placed and above the bedside tables too.

2. Make the window the focus of the scheme

Wooden wardrobes in white bedroom

(Image credit: Future PLC)

In a small bedroom layout, bespoke furniture is often the best way to make optimum use of the space available. Here wardrobes of different widths are placed on either side of the window, drawing attention to the outside. The open space under the window has been turned into a small dressing table or desk. Making the most of the available space and capitalising on the light.

The bed is tucked into a recess so you look across it, and the same wood has been used to create a headboard to pull the whole scheme together. 

3. Think outside the room and use unused space

Blue room with pink shelves

(Image credit: Future PLC)

A lot of British houses are Victorian or Edwardian and often have awkward-shaped rooms. They may have been altered by a previous owner, or just have too many doors or windows, narrow passageways, steps or fireplaces. These bedrooms are the most difficult to design as often there is not enough usable wall space. 

If you are struggling to find enough small bedroom storage ideas to work in your space, perhaps there is a room or alcove next door that could be used as a walk-in wardrobe. It doesn’t need to be that big, a corridor between two rooms could be fitted with shelving or hanging space and create the space you need.

4. Create a focal point in a tight spot

Blue bedding with blue bedroom

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Sometimes there is only one place where the bed can go, which makes a small bedroom layout easier, as there is no choice. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish and become the focal point of the room. 

A compact space can be zoned with wall panelling or a smart paint idea in a bold colour behind a bed. If there isn’t much space, rather than a bulky bedside table, opt for something like these rattan tables with their basketweave base, which adds a lighter feel to the small space.

5. Make a feature of an angled roof

Grey bedroom with armchair

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Loft conversion ideas are often designed to be used as a small bedrooms and should therefore have enough provision for a bed and decent storage. However, they often have an angled roof which follows the roof line, so make the most of the shape and decorate in a way that accentuates it rather than disguising it. 

6. Utilise alcoves in a small bedroom

yellow bedroom with blue cupboards

(Image credit: Future PLC)

As is often the case with older houses a chimney breast in a bedroom is common, and it’s the obvious place to position the bed. But instead of wardrobes or shelves in the alcoves, try something more individual, like these full-height wall cupboards with chests of drawers beneath. 

They offer lots of useful storage, including a surface for a lamp and potential hanging space. Add designer door handles for an individual look and think about the colour scheme, here the yellow makes the wall stand out and continues into the alcoves, with the cupboards in a complementary muted pale grey.

7. Design a headboard shelf for display

Grey bedroom with bed and side table

(Image credit: Future PLC)

In a small bedroom layout there isn’t always room to display accessories, instead think about creating a narrow shelf as a headboard to do double duty. The shelf shouldn't intrude far into the room. 

It can be as simple as building a box to encase a padded headboard. Small accessories, favourite pieces and artwork can be placed on the shelf to personalise your design scheme.

8.Forgo bedside tables

Green bedroom with black side lamps

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If space is at a premium it might pay to drop certain furniture items from your layout. While bedside tables are handy, aslong as you have light and a ledge to pop a glass and book you can get by without one. 

A clever workaround is to build a headboard in between two wardrobes that offer space to add two wall-hung lights and a small ledge on either side of the bed. With the full-length wardrobes, we promise you won't miss the extra storage from a bedside table.

9. Create a mini dressing-room from an unused space

Walk in corner wardrobe with dressing table

(Image credit: Future PLC)

In a loft room there are sometimes awkward spaces ‘left over’ so rather than them becoming a dumping ground, work with the shape to create a storage area with furniture to suit. This mini dressing area incorporates low-level drawers and shelving as somewhere to put clothes and shoes. It could even incorporate a dressing table with a low stool.

‘Storage is something that we all need in ample amounts, so it's always important to consider choosing bespoke, built-in joinery over freestanding designs,’ says Emma Deterding, Founder and Creative Director, Kelling Designs/KD Loves. ‘Going for a bespoke, built-in design will not only allow you to make your mark on the space in terms of design and colour, but you can also maximise the potential of elements such as alcoves, recesses and even bay windows.'

10. Stack them up for occasional guests

White room with bunk bed and yellow bedding

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Bunk beds come into their own in a small bedroom as they can be built into a tight space and have a small footprint. Usually, they are designed for children or teenagers, but if you have occasional adult overnight guests, bunk beds could be adapted to suit. 

If there is enough room, instead of 3ft single beds, consider small doubles which are 4ft wide and make all the difference in terms of comfort. Bunk beds can be customised with shelving and wall lights for reading. But if you are thinking of adult guests, make sure there is enough head height above each bed.

How do you layout a small bedroom?

‘Whether it’s a box room or a loft conversion optimising every square inch of available space in your layout is a must,' says Megan Barker, Interior Design Expert at My Fitted Bedroom. ‘The bed will usually take up the most floor space in a small room, so think vertically for storage and furniture.'

The first choice that will need to be made is what size bed you can comfortably fit in the solutions, and then you can plan the storage space from there. Don't forget to make the most of the wall and overbed space to optimise the square footage. Exploit the space all the way up to the ceiling, it will make the room feel higher as well as adding much-needed extra inches to storage spaces.

'Lighting is also key,' says Megan Barket. 'Think about what function it will serve within the space and play with the varying heights in a room. Ceiling lights as well as wall lights and low-level floor lights can create a glorious ambiance where space is limited. Mirrors, glossy surfaces and metallic finishes will also help bounce light around a room, making it feel larger.’

What can I do with very small bedrooms?

‘The best way to organise a small bedroom is by choosing a bed that can be used as storage too,' says Adam Black, Co-Founder of Button & Sprung. ‘Pick a divan over a classic bed frame, this will allow you to maximise the storage space available without taking up any additional floor space, which is especially important in small bedrooms.

'Drawer storage seamlessly blends within the divan base to safely store away any bedroom essentials. Alternatively, homeowners can opt for an ottoman bed - this allows for instant storage via a mechanical lifting system. Ideal for larger, bulkier items, storage is located within the base of the bed rather than split into individual compartments or drawers.’ 

What is the best design for a small room?

‘Think about a lighter, cohesive colour scheme to create a greater feeling of space,’ says Ann Marie Cousins, Founder of AMC Designs. ‘For example, for your larger piece of furniture or your headboard, choose a colour or material that is a similar tone to your wall colour, with colourful accents added through cushions, lamps and accessories. This adds colour without detracting from the airy and soft feel of the room.’

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.