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How to Maximise Space in a Small Bedroom Layout

For those bedrooms that are small on space, but big on design, these tips will create the ultimate trick on the eye

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By House & Garden | April 9, 2024 | Design

Designing any small space can be a challenge but small bedrooms are one of the more enjoyable ones; as spaces to dream, you can do some truly wonderful and imaginative things in the tiniest spaces. There are lots of brilliant decorative tricks that work brilliantly in these rooms – colour drenching, going wild with pattern and adding small four poster beds to create the illusion of space – but how can you maximise the floorspace with clever layout tricks instead?

Tuck the bed away

One smart way to use the space in a small bedroom is to add a bed against one wall, rather than jutting into the middle of the room. Box beds and nooks are extremely cosy and create a lovely nook to sleep in – they're perfect for guest bedrooms and children's rooms, which tend to be the smaller bedrooms in a house. Curtains are always a good idea with this type of design as they create a distinct sense of place, rather than feeling as though you've just shoved a bed against a wall.

The addition of shelves above the head of the bed, lighting and art creates a world of its own in the space. Image: Supplied.

If a full box bed or nook feels too much, simply putting the bed against one wall is still a good idea as it frees up as much floor space as possible for other furniture. In this children’s bedroom, the bed and shelves take up the width of the room. The window has a linen half-curtain made from a vintage tablecloth as a concession to privacy. The lack of other curtains or blinds mean that the attractive curved tops of the windows are still visible. Of the canopy bed she says "it feels so self-contained, a bit like a ship that's going to set sail with me in it, which I love. It's a very good bed for daydreaming."

Build in storage

Perhaps it seems obvious but smart storage is essential in smaller rooms and bespoke joinery goes very far in these spaces. By far the most space-saving solution for small bedrooms is to incorporate built-in wardrobes across one wall, if possible. When you have freestanding furniture, it tends to be bulkier and therefore feels like it's taking up more of the space, whereas a subtle wall of lovely bespoke joinery can blend in better, and means you potentially don't need any more than a bed, bedside tables and perhaps a chair in the rest of the room. The wardrobes can either be a whole wall, or frame a bed – ideally with space for slim bedside tables or with little niches carved out either side for a glass of water, book and reading glasses.

Small spaces require us to think beyond the usual solutions and test our creativity. Photography by Prue Ruscoe.

Take inspiration from this Australian home. This room features an element the home integrates into many small bedrooms: a built-in desk. ‘They take up less space and are also practical. Plus, they create a separate workspace, which enriches even the smallest room with another distinct zone.’

Add a window seat

A charming window seat makes the most of a bay window in this small bedroom. Image via Unsplash.

The space below a window can be redundant most of the time, so consider adding a slim window seat – if your window is recessed. This can be both a space to read, negating the need for a bulkier chair in the room, as well as conceal some extra storage for clothes, blankets or toys.

Think outside the box

There are lots of brilliant decorative tricks that work brilliantly in these rooms – colour drenching, going wild with pattern and adding small four poster beds to create the illusion of space. Photography by Greg Cox.

As a final word, for bedrooms that are only big enough to fit a bed and nothing else, Sue Crewe's design above is rather clever. The panelling behind the bed does several jobs: bedside lights are wired into it, nooks have been carved out to serve as bedside tables, and the shelf above is both decorative and useful.

This story originally appeared on House & Garden UK.