Before and After: A Tiny Bedroom Redo Has 3 Great Tricks for Maximizing Space

published Aug 24, 2023
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Super-small bedrooms can be tricky to arrange, so it’s helpful to take inspiration from those who have pulled off successful layouts. This room redo, which is extremely tight on square footage, has a few small-space design strategies that you’ll want to copy.

The redo comes from apartment owner Susan Wall (@inspired_interiors_edinburgh), whose home had two teeny-tiny — 8-foot-by-10-foot, to be specific — matching rooms next to each other. At first, Susan used only one as a bedroom and employed the other as a dining room. But to help her home fit her needs, she decided to turn both into stylish guest rooms. In order for the tiny rooms, which Susan calls “sad, plain boxes,” to go big on style, they needed to make the most of their small square footage.

Susan’s redo follows three big principles for maximizing cramped spaces. First, it sticks to one dominant color for a more cohesive look; second, it scales down on furniture; and third, it utilizes vertical space. Here’s how Susan pulled off the redo.

Credit: Square Foot Media @_squarefoot, Chris Sutherland Photography @chrissutherlandphotography
Credit: Square Foot Media @_squarefoot, Chris Sutherland Photography @chrissutherlandphotography

Corner beds and headboards save on space.

“The biggest decision to maximize space was to actually build in the beds (leaving a large space for storage below) and to create additional impact surrounding the area with tongue-and-groove paneling that doubled as a headboard and picture shelf,” Susan says, adding that the shelf is perfect for artwork, books, and accessories. It also saved her money because she didn’t have to buy a headboard.

“I’d never used paneling before and was so impressed how it added so much character,” she says. (Susan’s paneling and beds were professionally installed, and then she painted them with a dark blue-gray.) “Deep colors paired with lighter walls was a bold move, but delivered the impact I was looking for,” she says.

Susan says the most difficult part of the layout configuration was adding carpeting. “I wanted one seamless piece, and thankfully the fitter was able to navigate all the angles around the bed and underneath,” she says. In the small space on the side of the bed, Susan added a slender nightstand (with drawers!) and a wall-mount light, which are both smart finds for a small space. 

“Angled bedside lights are perfect for bedtime reading, plus USB ports and plug sockets at bed head level mean it all feels very modern and functional,” Susan says. “Everyone who stays seems to love the coziness.”

Credit: Square Foot Media @_squarefoot, Chris Sutherland Photography @chrissutherlandphotography
Credit: Square Foot Media @_squarefoot, Chris Sutherland Photography @chrissutherlandphotography

Room-brightening tricks also help the small bedroom feel more spacious.

Bringing more light into the small space was the final piece of this project. “The skylight adds natural light, and I added a ceiling fitting that allows three drum pendants that creates a wow from above, too!” Susan says. (Her fresh white paint paint on the walls also plays a part in making the small space feel a bit more airy and open.)

The takeaway from Susan’s bedroom redo? “Don’t be put-off if a room feels small,” she says. Susan adds that she loves the transformation from plain box to cozy, cabin-like bedroom.

If she could change one thing about the project, she would add an LED strip along the ledge — and she still might. “Now that would really make this room glow!” Susan says. For more small bedroom inspo, check out these 33 configurations for maximizing space and style.