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Bed Basics
Bed Basics

Small Bedroom? Here’s Your Guide to Maximizing Space

An illustration of a small bedroom with a well optimized set up.
Leo Medrano

From single dorm rooms to first apartments and historic homes, many bedrooms are smaller than we’d like. While we don’t always get a say in the size of our room, we (fortunately) do get to decide what to do with it.

So, whether you’re moving into a new place or looking to spruce up your space, don’t lose any more sleep over small-bedroom layout, design and storage challenges.

Use these tips and tricks from Mattress Firm Sleep Expert® Maleek Oden to maximize space without minimizing style, and you’ll be able to create the sleep sanctuary of your dreams (even if it’s a tiny one)!

Best Mattress Type for Small Bedrooms

When designing your small bedroom, the bed should be the first and most important piece of furniture to consider. Because it generally will be the largest item in your room, choosing the right size, placement and frame are vital to utilizing the space best.

Selecting the size: When prioritizing space-saving above all other factors, an individual under 5'8" should opt for a twin or full. If you’re taller, a twin XL or full XL will be a more comfortable option, giving you an additional 5” of foot room. If more than one person will be sleeping in the bed, a queen will be your best choice. If your room can't accommodate a traditional bed, a wall bed, murphy bed, loft bed or futon can each be a great space-saving alternative.

Where to Put a Bed in a Small Bedroom

For a full XL or smaller, positioning the bed against a wall in a corner can help create space for a more versatile bedroom—especially if you want a desk, seating area or other big furniture. For a queen or larger, placing the bed in the center of the longest or most visible wall will make it accessible from both sides and is a good starting point for creating symmetry, which can help make your room look bigger.

Best bed frame for a small bedroom: A bed frame not only adds support to the bed and style to your room but can also offer additional storage. To make the most of already-used space, look for a frame with built-in drawers, lift-up storage or a platform to store items underneath. If your room has low ceilings, opt for a lower-profile bed frame to help create the illusion of height.

An overhead view of an illustration of a small bedroom
Leo Medrano

How to Create Storage in a Small Bedroom

Nothing makes a small bedroom seem even smaller than cramming it full of stuff. But instead of shoving everything into your closet or getting rid of things you want and need, take advantage of these creative storage solutions.

Utilize Wall Space

Hooks, shelves, and wall-mounted furniture provide additional storage without taking up floor space. Placing them high on the wall can also help make your room appear taller. If you’re living someplace where you can’t leave holes behind, look for pieces that use special, non-damaging adhesive.

Use Multi-Purpose Pieces Like Storage Ottomans

From a seat to a step stool, ottomans are one of the most versatile and multifunctional pieces of furniture you can have. Plus, many models have hollow insides, perfect for storing small to medium-sized items. They also come in various shapes, sizes and colors to add more personality to your room in less space. Floating desks with shelving are also ideal space-saving solutions that provide storage and a place to work.

Decorate the Doors

Over-the-door organizers are game-changers for increasing storage and reducing clutter. Some options are even stylish enough that you won’t need (or want) to hide them. Best of all, they don’t damage doors and can store a variety of items, including laundry, shoes and towels.

How to Decorate a Small Bedroom

Just because your bedroom may be small doesn’t mean it can’t be big in style. In a tiny space, a little decor goes a long way, and these design ideas can help make your room look and feel bigger—and, most importantly, make it your own.

Maximize with Mirrors

Not only are mirrors helpful in coordinating outfits, but they can make your bedroom look bigger by reflecting light to give off the illusion of depth. Hanging a mirror at eye-level height near a light source can boost your room’s brightness and create more dimension. To maximize space even more, opt for a mirror (or two) with built-in storage.

Choose the Right Colors

Sticking with a uniform color scheme will help make your room appear more organized and minimalistic, which is ideal for small spaces. Tones that don’t absorb light, such as earth tones and neutral shades, can help brighten the area, making it feel more spacious. To easily add color to your bedroom, bedding and curtains are both useful and decorative.

Fill the Floor

Rugs can help pull your bedroom together and add more character without taking up extra space. Adding a patterned or textured rug with lines and stripes that run perpendicular to the longest walls can also help visually widen your room. To avoid making the area feel crowded, stick with one large rug instead of multiple small ones.

An overhead view of an illustration of a small bedroom
Leo Medrano

Small Bedroom Ideas for Couples

When cohabitating in a small bedroom, it's important to agree on the look and feel of your space to help make it less cluttered.

Give Each Person Storage Space

Providing a place for each person's clothes and belongings at the end of the day is vital to minimizing clutter. Bedside caddies, nightstands, and under-bed cabinets are a few options that will help keep the room tidy and make it feel more spacious.

Blend Your Tastes

Design choices feel that much more pronounced in a small space, so be sure to collaborate and bring each person’s taste into the design considerations. For many couples, this can mean putting large or especially loud pieces into storage until you upgrade to a larger sleep space.

Bedroom Setups for Teens and College Students

Whether moving into a college dorm or getting their first solo bedroom away from siblings, teens and college students are in good company when it comes to inhabiting a small bedroom, and the internet is packed with decorating tips and ideas for making the most of a small bedroom space. The above tips all work for teens and college students, but here are some special tips:

Picking the smallest bed you still find comfortable will allow you to preserve space for a desk or lounge area. A loft or murphy bed are two great options that free up room for other furniture. If you're looking to fit a bed and a sofa into your bedroom but don't have the space, consider a futon (Western or Japanese-style).

To maximize storage, look for a lift-up bed, a bed with drawers or under-bed bins. Adding risers to your bed to raise the frame can also create more room for storage. Storing seasonal clothing, unneeded furniture, or items that won't be used daily in another room or storage unit will help clear clutter.

Small Bedroom Setups for Children

Children often end up in the smallest bedroom in the house—little ones often need less space, or so the thinking goes. But furnishing a bedroom for everything a child needs (including all of their toys) can be trickier than you’d expect.

You know your own child, so don’t opt for anything that would be dangerous or unappealing, but considering age and maturity, bed options for a child in a small bedroom can include:

  • Day beds with a stored pull-out bed underneath for sleepovers
  • Bunk beds
  • Murphy bed or Murphy bunk bed
  • Loft bed
  • Triple bunk beds—though extreme, for families sleeping three kids in one space, a triple bunk bed can be a good option

So, there you have it—with this creative inspiration, you’ll be able to turn your small bedroom into the best room in no time! Because even though your space may be limited, what you can do with it is limitless.

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