I Moved into a Bedroom Half the Size of My Old One — Here’s What I Learned

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

February is Bedroom Month on Apartment Therapy! We’re sharing stories all month about bedrooms — from how to decorate them, to the fascinating history of them, and so much more. Head over here to see them all!

When I moved from a quaint neighborhood in Boston to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for a new job, I knew I would be downsizing a bit to get something affordable. I was blessed to have the primary bedroom in my Boston apartment — and it turned out my new room was approximately half the size of the old one. It only fit my queen-sized bed and dresser. When it came time to move, I was a little stressed about how I would fit everything.

But as my dad reassured me on move-in day: “You love tiny houses, right?” He wasn’t wrong. After making some slight storage, design, and lifestyle changes, I’ve learned to love my cozy space. Here’s what I’ve learned in the six months since my downsize.

I embraced unique storage options.

Any small-space dweller knows that sneaky storage is key to surviving without feeling too cluttered. (Have you seen those neat benches that open up into blanket storage?) Aside from cutting down on my clothing and putting items in a donation pile as I unpacked, I also got smarter about what storage items I would use. 

For me, that meant nixing a nightstand and opting for a long IKEA dresser that could double as my vanity — I devoted an entire drawer of it to storing my makeup and odds and ends. I’ve also embraced my wall space and utilized floating shelves and a unique bed shelf to neatly house books and knick-knacks. I even found a clever coat rack that fits perfectly in an odd corner in my room to make up for my lack of a hall closet and got a cute woven basket to use for my laundry.

I became a (neatish) maximalist.

In order to make my previous, larger room feel homier, I purchased a ton of artwork and mirrors. While not all of these items could stay, I’ve adopted more of a maximalist decor style with multiple mini-galleries throughout my small room. Worried about my excessive plant collections that were spread out throughout my last bedroom, I’ve managed to neatly line them up across my dresser, giving them adequate sunlight. Honestly, they’re doing much better in their new home. 

I changed my cleaning mentality.

Living in a larger bedroom gave me enough space to live in mess without feeling overly messy. I would often leave clothes in a corner on the ground to put away later or sleep with my purses and coats resting on one side of the bed. But now, if I even leave a pair of sneakers on the ground, it not only immediately looks cluttered, I also trip on them whenever I try to walk. I now put stuff away as soon as I take it off. 

I’ve also made a habit of determining what is necessary in my life. I now clean out my junk drawer regularly and won’t get a new item of clothing without donating or selling another item, which is something I previously only did when I moved apartments. A smaller space also makes dirt more visible, so I’m more cognizant of vacuuming and wiping down my tiny room compared to the bigger one. 

I found creative ways to “separate” spaces.

During the pandemic, my last room graduated from just a bedroom to also serving as my home office. Because of this combination, I could never fully feel relaxed in my room — it reminded me too much of work. With a smaller space, there’s even more of a challenge to create a “separate” space when I’m using my laptop for work on my bed instead of a desk.

Now, when I don’t want to use a common space or go to a coffee shop to do my freelance work, I try to set a different vibe when it’s time to wind down. Namely, lighting a candle and turning on string lights sets a whole different mood and actually makes me feel cozy — which isn’t hard to do in a smaller space.