20 Smart Design Solutions for Small Bedrooms
Let’s face it: Tiny nooks are the coziest snoozing spots.
Cramped quarters can feel claustrophobic, but a little strategic styling can transform a snug bedroom into a restful retreat. Make the most of your small space with these multitasking decorating ideas.
In her master bedroom, Justina Blakeney designed a curvy headboard with built-in nightstands. A vintage pendant eliminates the need for a table lamp, leaving more room for books.
Shop a similar look: rug ($349, wayfair.com), yellow wallpaper ($2, jossandmain.com), green velvet pillows ($33 and more, etsy.com)
Lacking a spare bedroom in his New York apartment, Amir Khamneipur created a pair of six-foot-long banquettes that pivot to become twin beds. Upholstered in a Perennials outdoor fabric, they have built-in drawers for stashing luggage.
Don’t be fooled. Dark colors do work in small spaces, including Moises Esquenazi’s Los Angeles bungalow. Benjamin Moore’s Newburg Green on the guest room walls plays off fabrics in hot tropical colors. “I don’t mind a bedroom that feels small, especially since its primary use is for sleeping,” he says. “Why should it not be dark, moody or sensual?”
In his “moody and eclectic” bedroom, designer Stephen Shubel mounted flea-market finds against a black wall. Genuine Fake Books wallpaper by Deborah Bowness creates the illusion of more space.
Shop a similar look: newspaper pillows ($10, etsy.com)
Mann-o-Print curtains frame a guest bedroom’s nautical berth with built-in drawers. The Louis XVI portrait is a photocopy paper assemblage by Woody Biggs.
Shop a similar look: navy and white curtains (price upon request, houseofmann.com), anchor pillow ($46, jossandmain.com), yellow bedding ($21, jossandmain.com)
To lighten up her studio’s windowless bed alcove, Sara Bengur painted the walls in Colorhouse’s Grain .01. It “makes the room feel like it’s bathed in Mediterranean sunshine,” she says. The hand-embroidered wool bedcover, kilim throw pillows and mohair-and-wool throw are all from Sara Bengur Shop.
In a tiny coastal cottage, a corner desk also acts as a nightstand. Underbed drawers sneak in extra storage, while walls covered in Designers Guild’s Moselle linen give off a restful vibe.
Shop a similar look: pale blue headboard ($138, jossandmain.com), aqua velvet pillow ($53, wayfair.com)
The master bedroom of a 950-square-foot Venetian retreat “feels like the inside of a boat, and the key was to keep it simple and cozy,” says designer Matthew White. He designed the screen, made by Il Prato out of their hand-printed paper, to function like a headboard and give the bed a little more substance. The colors repeat the same terra-cottas and blues seen throughout the apartment.
Sconces bracket a 525-square-foot apartment’s bed and take up less space than table lamps. The custom shades pick up the colors of the headboard, upholstered in Le Manach’s Toiles de Tours Nuage and trimmed in carpet binding.
Shop a similar look: monogrammed pillows ($50, etsy.com)
In a Marin County, California, beach house designed by Erin Martin and homeowner Kim Dempster, closet mirrors in the master bedroom expand the sense of space. The CB2 platform bed is covered in vintage French linen.
Shop a similar look: platform bed ($1,199, cb2.com), white linen bedding ($100, jossandmain.com)
In Kelly Giesen’s Manhattan apartment, the Wolf Home headboard, hung on the wall to save space, is upholstered in a silver fabric from Gray Line Linen. Tiny crystals glint on a Michelle Hatch pillow. For extra shimmer, Giesen had John Mahoney’s Kiku Komon wallpaper printed on silver Mylar. The chandelier is available through Kelly G Design.
In a 400-square-foot Brooklyn apartment designed by Fitzhugh Karol and Lyndsay Caleo of The Brooklyn Home Company, IKEA’s Brimnes bed has drawers underneath, for more storage.
In Moises Esquenazi’s Los Angeles bungalow, the master bedroom is dark and cozy, with walls in Farrow Ball Mahogany No. 36. Esquenazi designed the mohair velvet headboard; curtains are Donghia’s Uma Black Print. Leather Saigon stools are from Bourgeouis Boheme. “I don’t mind a bedroom that feels small, especially since its primary use is for sleeping. Why should it not be dark, moody or sensual?” he says.
In David Kaihoi’s 64-square-foot bedroom in Manhattan, he covered the walls in an eye-catching, hand-painted 18th-century Chinese wallpaper found at auction. “The idea was to create a jewel-box effect in the bedroom, with pattern to distract your senses from the tight quarters,” he says. “I papered the wall in the spirit of a collage trying to make the most of a beautiful old thing. Call it a new take on a traditional application.”
In Bill Brockschmidt’s 640-square-foot Manhattan apartment, the master bedroom’s curtains conceal bedside tables and a large storage area behind the bed.
Shop a similar look: white and green pillow ($38, jossandmain.com), light blue pillows ($42, jossandmain.com)
Covering the walls, headboard and bed skirt in the same fabric — a striped Ralph Lauren Home silk — is a tried-and-true decorating solution for unifying a small room, like designer Sam Allen’s Connecticut apartment bedroom.
Peter Dunham gave the tiny bedroom in his 550-square-foot Los Angeles apartment a sense of drama and scale by upholstering the walls in Bukhara from his fabric line. “I have a very imposing bed that gave my poky room style, a sense of scale, and the big pattern on the walls gave it a sense of depth,” he says. “I feel like I’m living big in a small space.”
“These nesting tables are great for the small master bedroom,” designer Krista Ewart says of a California beach bungalow. “Pull the little one out at night, push it back in when you’re not using it.”
“I love the hard geometry of the chest next to the frilly curtains,” designer Nick Olsen says of the bedroom area in a 295-square-foot Brooklyn studio. To add a soft touch to the metal Heimdal bed from IKEA, he slipcovered a length of foam in Schumacher’s Hong Kong for a headboard. Because of their large scale, Mercury glass lamps from Circa Lighting make an impact. They’re set on vintage end tables — originally brown, Olsen repainted them a bright Chinese red, “because every room needs a touch of red.”
“Most people think, ‘Oh my God, it’s going to take up most of the space, and then the room is going to seem small,'” designer Kelly Delrose says of her oversized bed. “Take the converse of that: If you put something big in there, everybody walks in and immediately sees this big bed and says, ‘Oh wow, this space is really big.’ Your eye plays tricks on you. Trust me it totally works.” Ralph Lauren’s RLX Bed in black anodized aluminum and carbon fiber CF1 chair in black leather give the master bedroom a sleek, modern look.