Anyone who has ever lived in a small apartment has had to deal with small-bedroom woes. (Why on earth is the room that’s supposed to fit your king size bed so small?)
It may feel like you have limited options. Don’t focus on what you don’t have — there are still plenty of creative ways to organize and decorate a tiny bedroom. Focus on the benefits of the room.
Keep in mind if you live in a studio, you’re going to have to figure out a solution to incorporate both a bedroom and living area in one room. Or, you can stick with just a bedroom layout. It all depends on your needs and design goals.
The good news is that having a smaller room is cozier and costs less money to furnish and decorate.
To help make assembling and decorating your space easier, we came up with a step-by-step guide to decorating a small bedroom.
From keeping the colors in your room simple to aiming for minimalism, we’ve got five creative ideas to make the most of your tiny living quarters.
1. Keep the colors simple
If management allows you to paint, then by all means, use whatever colors you’d like.
But if your apartment comes with painted white walls, you’re in luck!
White is an appropriate choice for a small bedroom because it can help the room appear larger. It also keeps the room from looking too cluttered. More on that later.
Additionally, the expansiveness of a white will combat the lack of windows or wall space.
If white isn’t a color you’re fond off there are always ways to add pops of color through decor and working on your layout — which we cover next.
White walls also work with different textures and patterns to add drama.
For example, adding a patterned throw blanket adds contrast with the white, transforming the space and make it feel less drab.
2. Design your layout
To get to the perfect design for a small room, you first have to consider how to make the most of the space you have to work with.
The first thing you should do is place the bed in a way that gives you room to move. Don’t let it gobble up space.
Situating your bed in the center of the biggest wall is better than putting one side of the bed against an adjacent wall.
If you have a daybed, it can also double as a “sofa” to cut back on space.
When you place your bed, make sure there’s enough room to walk on both sides. Freedom of movement will make the room feel more spacious. Plus, you can decorate on either side and have enough room to make your bed (if you want to)!
You can also add a bedside table on each side if there is enough room to walk by each table. If there isn’t enough space for two bedside tables, use one.
If you need more than your closet provides you might be able to squeeze in a chest of drawers. If that’s a tight fit, you’ll have to decide which furniture gets priority.
Obviously, your bed has to stay, and perhaps a few other pieces of furniture.
Be creative and take advantage of unused space – like under your bed – for storage. We’ll cover this in more detail in a bit.
Next, we’ll go over how to make your apartment look larger than it is.
If you’ve been dealing with squeezing in your furniture as you settle in, these tips will help!
3. Create an illusion of space
Having a lack of space can get frustrating, but there are a variety of techniques you can try to create an illusion of space in your tiny room.
Mirrors are perfect for tricking the eye. They create an illusion of space and also look beautiful in an apartment.
If you are “sharing” your room with the living room area, your living room wall is probably a good place to put a mirror. You can also place family photos or a canvas print on the same wall beside it.
Hanging window drapes close to the ceiling is another trick that’ll bring the eye up. If your walls are white, like we discussed earlier, choose a fabric in a light color like taupe or mint.
Staying within the same value (light or dark) is easier on the eyes than a variety of different shades and colors. It also goes well with a minimalistic layout, which we cover next.
4. Aim for minimalism
Don’t get carried away, adding too many belongings to your apartment. If you find you have too much stuff, you may need to rent a storage unit or go through everything prior to getting settled.
You should decide on what you must keep and what is okay to toss. Being minimalistic is better than having too many belongings. You need to be able to move around in your tiny apartment without feeling claustrophobic!
Stick with the essentials so you’ll have enough room for your bed, other essential furniture pieces, and vital accessories.
Modern built-ins work well for additional storage, which we go into more detail about shortly. Built-ins are also ideal for maximizing your space. Place them to look like they’re a part of the room.
Unless you have bedside tables, incorporating a built-in around your bed can make your room feel cozy. It also improves your storage space, which you always need more of in a studio or smaller apartment.
5. Maximize storage space
It’s up to you to effectively maximize your storage space. One of the ways you can do this is by implementing a floor-to-ceiling unit.
This type of unit will ensure you have enough room to store your stuff. You could custom build it or modify a prefab floor to ceiling bookshelf to serve as a headboard.
If you do go with a fitted unit against a wall, you can use it to store various items. Examples are storing books, displaying family treasures, and adding drawers for smaller items.
Having this type of furniture storage is a great multiuse way to store a little bit of everything.
Multiuse furniture can also help with storage in other areas. A fitted unit can help solve limited closet space.
Don’t forget about the room underneath the bed. Purchase a bed with drawers underneath to store extra belongings such as clothing or bulky items like sweatshirts.
If drawers under your bed aren’t an option, put bins under there for storage. Woven baskets or milk crates are attractive places to store tee shirts, books, keepsakes, and other accessories.
6. Add Decorative Touches
To prevent the room from feeling cramped and dark, incorporating overhead light fixtures. A chandelier, floor lamp, or bedside table light can do the trick.
Having plenty of lights and trick mirrors are fantastic ways to make your small bedroom look larger and feel inviting.
Also, don’t be afraid to interject some personality into your space. Even though you’re dealing with a small apartment, it doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate some of your favorite things!
Houseplants are a great way to make a tiny room feel fresh and inviting too. Colorful pillows and throws will look great on your daybed or sofa.
Just make sure you don’t make your tiny space too cluttered or you’ll be defeating the purpose of opening up space.
7. Think outside the box
As we mentioned at the very beginning of this article, setting up a small apartment is all about being creative. If you want the privacy of a bedroom and can separate it from the living room and kitchen, a bookcase works well as a room divider.
If you do put a bookcase in the middle of the room, guests will know which space you designated for sleeping, eating, and socializing.
Besides, you’ll feel like you have a larger apartment than you actually have.
If you’re not happy with your closet space or need more storage space, hanging garment racks can do wonders. You can also create a closet in another area in your apartment, such as close to your bed or living room area.
Put a dresser underneath the hanging rack to maximize the space and create an area to get ready.
Continue to make the space work for you by displaying some of your favorite art pieces. Layer framed art on a nightstand or shelf to add pizzazz and personality to your tiny space. Layering also helps you take advantage of every inch of space.
Living in a tiny space forces you to be creative and develop a functional apartment.
It may be hard to separate your space, and you’ll have to make some tough decisions about what furniture is most important to you. Remember, the furniture you select should serve multiple purposes.
For example, we mentioned using a bed as a daybed so that it can double as a bed and couch. A bookshelf also works well as a room divider and place to store books and other accessories.
Put some thought into what you need to live your best life in this space. Careful consideration will make it easier to organize and decorate using what really matters.
If it takes some time to come up with the perfect arrangement, don’t be too hard on yourself. In time you’ll have a small yet functional apartment you’re happy to call home.
So what are you waiting for?
Use your imagination to create a cozy and attractive bedroom that incorporates smart storage.
Caitlin Sinclair is a senior marketing manager who works with Entrada to provide affordable housing to San Diego residents on a daily basis.