So Your Bedroom’s Not Much Bigger Than Your Bed: Here’s How to Make it Work

published Feb 27, 2017
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(Image credit: Design Sponge)

It’s a common problem—especially when shopping for NYC apartments—that the apartment that fits your budget comes with a bedroom barely big enough to fit your adult-sized bed. To maximize this minuscule space, we sought inspiration in teeny-tiny bedrooms that are big on storage, personality and charm. When you realize that your “one bedroom” is really a converted closet, take a deep breath—there’s big potential hidden in here.

(Image credit: Stephanie Strickland)

Never underestimate the power of shelving.

In her tiny San Francisco apartment, Lauren’s bedroom is quite literally a converted closet. She loves that the sleeping nook feels like her own personal fort, but it also calls for a creative use of space. By adding shelves and hooks along the walls, Lauren added invaluable storage that lets her keep what she values most close at hand. “If I want to read, all I have to do is stand on my bed and pick a book from my reading rainbow!” she says.

Let mirrors extend the space.

By placing long vertical mirrors on both sides of the bed, this Brazilian room from Casa e Jardim spotted on Stylist creates an optical illusion, giving the impression that the room continues beyond the bed. Try this trick by placing mirrors on the far end of a tiny room, so the reflective surface will bounce light around the room.

Side tables will save the day.

In a sloped sleeping nook designed by the Swedish design firm BLOOC and featured on Elle Decoration, a side table at the end of the bed provides an essential spot to rest a bedside book and a carafe of water. In a rental where you can’t install floating shelving, a tiny table that can tuck beside the bed is your best friend.

(Image credit: My Scandinavian Home)

Lighting is everything.

This minimalist bedroom from My Scandinavian Home excels in using multiple lighting sources to brighten up the small space. Not only is the bed conveniently positioned against a window for natural light during the day, but a simple suspended pendant lamp and two sconces provide multiple lighting options for late-night reading or studying sessions.

(Image credit: Damsel in Dior)

Be bold with the back wall.

By introducing a playful print on the back wall of this little bedroom, Damsel in Dior draws the eye all the way to the back of the room. This both emphasizes the length of a narrow space and it adds vibrant personality to a space that’s often kept neutral.

Dark colors can be cozy.

We often think that dark colors don’t belong in a small space, but Homepolish stylist Tali Roth (and our own Eleanor Busing!) proves us wrong with a bedroom found via My Domain. The charcoal color makes the room feel intimate, yet keeping the brick wall stark white prevents it from turning into a cave. Slim side tables and folding footstools maximize the available surface area.

(Image credit: Design Sponge)

Let the life in.

At its worst, a cramped bedroom can start to feel like a cell. To add life to the space—not to mention, extra oxygen—introduce houseplants that can hang from the ceiling or hug the walls. In this Portland bedroom from Design*Sponge, plants and good lighting make this one of the family’s favorite spots in the house (the adorable kitten doesn’t hurt, either).