How to Arrange a Small Bedroom to Give the Illusion of More Space, According to Experts

Professional organizers and interior designers share their best tips for maximizing your small bedroom.

Most homes include a favorite place to unwind, and for many, that comfort area is in the bedroom. But if your safe haven is small and haphazardly organized, it can quickly become messy, which is why learning how to arrange a small bedroom is key to ensuring the area remains a respite.

Everything from how you set up your furniture to the décor choices you make can contribute to how big or constricting this space feels. But with a few smart organizational tips, your small bedroom will feel larger without much work.

small bedroom

Choose Furniture With Storage Space

The most difficult aspect of keeping a small room organized is figuring out where to put all of your things. There are a few ways you can maximize space for clothes, accessories, and other personal items that don't require adding extra furnishings to your room.

Captain's Bed

Despite limited square footage, a small bedroom still has plenty of storage potential, notes Sharon Lowenheim, MBA, MSE, a certified professional organizer, a National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) board member, and the founder of Organizing Goddess. You can take advantage of the space you have by using multipurpose furniture that also serves as storage space. "A captain's bed, with drawers along the base, can provide extra storage without requiring extra floor space," says Lowenheim.

Under Bed Storage Boxes

Use boxes that fit underneath your bed to stow out-of-season clothes or extra linens. Try looking for iterations that have wheels so you can easily access stored items when necessary, suggest Ashley Murphy and Marissa Hagmeyer, the co-founders of NEAT Method. "Just remember to choose matching bins that are cohesive with the aesthetic of the space, so it doesn't look chaotic," they say.

Nightstand With Drawers

Phone chargers, important receipts, spare change—these are all things that can make your small room look cluttered when left in the open. Maximize space for these miscellaneous items by opting for a nightstand with drawers, explains Kerrie Kelly, creative director of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab. "These make great multi-functional pieces that can take the place of a dresser when you don't have a lot of square footage," she says.

Use Your Desk as a Nightstand

If you want a desk in your room but don't have the space, consider placing it next to your bed, shares interior designer Liz MacPhail. "We often use dressers or even desks as bedside tables to double the workload of that piece of furniture," she says. "Not only can it house a bedside lamp and glass of water and book, but it can double as clothes storage or a homework or workspace if needed."

small bedroom
Oscar Wong / Getty Images

Create the Illusion of More Space

In addition to more obvious methods, like downsizing and optimizing your storage systems, you can also give the illusion of more room rather than actually creating the extra space yourself.

Add Mirrors

Add mirrors throughout your room to make it appear bigger."Try placing a mirror across from a window to reflect natural light and the outdoors or over nightstands to give the feeling of additional windows," Kelly says.

Incorporate Bright Light

Lighting is key when it comes to making a room feel more open, notes Keith Miller of Miller Interior Design. "Wrapping a ceiling cove or base cove (or both) with indirect light contributes to broaden the sense of scale, as do dimmable pin-point art lighting and small, recessed downlight fixtures," he says. If you do add lighting to your space, use options that can be mounted to the wall in place of floor lamps to eliminate taking up extra floor spaces.

Play With Lines

The most effective way to provide visual expanse to a small bedroom is by using lines. "Floor and wall coverings with stripes, for example—vertical, horizontal, and especially diagonal, or of an organic movement—disrupt the sense of constriction close quarters may evoke for some," Miller says.

Opt for Smaller Furniture

Opting for small furniture will always go a long way when trying to keep a tiny area look more spacious. "Many furniture brands offer 'apartment' sized beds and dressers that utilize a smaller footprint," say Murphy and Hagmeyer.

If you've found you've purchased a furnishing too big for your bedroom, you can downsize after assessing what your space will allow. "For example, consider getting a smaller bed—full instead of queen, or queen instead of king—if the one you already have takes up too much room," Lowenheim says.

wood Hangers with clothes
Orbon Alija / Getty Image

Keep Clothes in Your Closet

If you have the space, always opt to hang rather than fold your clothes. "Closets and built-in furniture save precious inches in depth compared to individual furnishings like dressers that duplicate structural support," says Miller. "If the aesthetic goals of the room can accommodate, build it in." Even your shoes can be stored in your closet when you include a vertical option that hangs over the door.

Remove Auxiliary Seating

While it's natural to want to add chairs for guests to sit in when they visit, it may not be a possibility in a small bedroom. "We love a chair in the corner, bench at the end of the bed, or a dresser for extra storage, but these pieces can easily overwhelm a small area," says Kelly.

Since your bed will be the most comfortable space in your room, it's better to focus on this as a hangout area, explains Miller. "If you can make the bed alone suitable for relaxed seating as well as sleeping using a comfortable upholstered headboard, you can eliminate auxiliary seating pieces altogether," says Miller.

Provide Symmetry

Setting up your room so the furnishings are symmetrical will make the space feel tidier. "Symmetry is a relaxing concept for our brain and when we provide symmetry in a small space that we want to feel like a sanctuary, it's easier to take everything in and is more calming visually," says MacPhail.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by placing your bed in the center of your room. "If you must place one bed side against the wall because of space issues, try balancing the other side of the room with a desk or dresser," says Kelly. "A substantial piece that gives weight to the side of the room opposite the bed will help the proportion, balance and symmetry of the space."

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