Decorating a small space is always a pain. But for a small bedroom in particular, the best way to deal with a limited square footage is going to depend a lot on how you use the room. There’s a world of difference between a smallish master bedroom and a studio apartment; a nursery and a small room for two older kids. Today, we’ve got advice for how to furnish and style a small bedroom tailored to a variety of situations, from frustratingly closet-sized spare rooms to itty-bitty apartment living.
A Proper Guest Room
Thankfully, a guest room doesn’t need much in it aside from a comfortable place to sleep. As long as you keep the design simple, a guest room is the easiest bedroom for a small space. That said, you want to start with a few personalized parameters. Namely: who is going to be using this room, how often, and for how long? Your BFF who crashes for the night once every few months and your elderly in-laws stay for a week at a time have very different needs. If you can, round up to accommodate your most-demanding guest. For older relatives, consider both the width and the height of the bed, which can make it easier to get in and out of. Full sized beds are more comfortable and can (arguably) fit more people and are a safe choice. But if you’re more likely to have a single long-term guest than a pair (or if overnight guests are a rarity for your household), it can be worth rounding town to a twin-sized mattress. You can then use the remaining space for a dresser or desk. Most people can sleep on a twin-size mattress without dangling their feet off, and for some the floor space is better spent on supplementary furniture. A quality bed frame can elevate even the smallest bed into looking nice, but don’t go for a headboard. Not having the attached structure to the frame can save some crucial inches between the bed and wall.
Babies don’t take up much space, right? It shouldn’t be hard to fit a nursery in a small spare room, right?? Unfortunately, nothing is further from the truth. Babies take up quite a bit of space, especially when they’re at their smallest. Getting a crib is obvious, but trust me: you also want to budget space for a comfortable, quiet rocking chair. It doesn’t need to be big or high tech, but it does need to be comfortable sleeping in. Changing stations are another must, but those (and many other baby-accessories) are more negotiable when it comes to size and shape. But a good rocking chair? Worth it even if it makes the room feel crowded and a little snug to navigate.
The best way to furnish a small bedroom for a kid depends on your kid(s). How many kids have to share? How old are they and how well do they get along? Then factor in their hobbies and how often they have friends over. Bunk beds are a traditional go-to for younger kids that get along well. But older kids (or ones with a big age gap) need space for privacy and self-expression, even in the same room. Lofted beds (with a desk underneath) will give your kids more personal space in a small bedroom. If they want extra privacy, you can hang a curtain underneath. Lots of sleepovers? Consider a trundle bed or daybed instead. Then include as much storage as necessary for their hobbies. You’ll be as thankful as them when you aren’t tripping over craft supplies and sports padding!
Small Apartment Living
Whether you’re a recent grad or a lifelong urbanite, living in a big city with a small apartment is one of the trickiest bedrooms to accommodate. In small homes, bedrooms double as an office, hobby, or living room. Which, when translated to an even smaller apartment, means more stuff in your already cramped bedroom. Unlike child or guest rooms, your bed should be the biggest priority. Everything else comes second. Yes, everything. You NEED a bed that’s big enough to sleep in comfortably. Beds with built-in storage (either pull-out drawers, storage headboards, or platforms that lift up) are a lifesaver in a small bedroom. Once you have a bed picked out, prioritize your other needs: a desk? a dresser? bookshelves? a TV stand? You’ll get double the mileage out of any furniture that can do more than one task. But if you plan to do a lot of work at a bedroom-home-office, don’t skimp on a good office chair, even if it takes up more space than you’d like. If you have a decent window, leaving the blinds open will make the bedroom feel bigger during the day. At night, ensure you have thick or blackout curtains so that the light outside doesn’t keep you awake.
The Studio Apartment
A studio apartment is a step even further than the small apartment bedroom because there’s no actual room division. Depending on your layout and priorities, this can mean you have a bigger “bedroom” than one with walls… but it’s also always visible. The best way to stay sane in a home with no walls? Choose furniture that can double as room dividers. While it might feel a little college dorm, a lofted bed with a curtain or backing hides clutter and adds privacy to a studio apartment. Ditto for double-sided bookshelves. These also reward you for overfilling their shelves by acting as an almost-solid wall as well. Of course, much of the advice found elsewhere on this list also applies: beds with built-in storage, prioritizing your comfort first and your hobbies and lifestyle as a close second, trimming where you can, and splurging where it’ll make the biggest impact.
Decorating a small bedroom is never easy, but how hard it’ll be depends hugely on how you plan to use the room. But while decking out a small space might be a necessity rather than a luxury, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it – and get a result that works for you, your family, and your lifestyle.