Small is beautiful: How to make the most of a bijou bedroom

There's a lot you can do to make a small bedroom feel more substantial. 

There's a lot you can do to make a small bedroom feel more substantial. - Credit: Alamy/PA

Arguably we spend more time in our bedrooms than any other room of the house, and we’re conscious for at least some of it, so it’s well worth getting the room right.

From inner city tenement blocks to chocolate box cottages, in the housing market space is at a premium, and a lot of the nation’s homes boast shoebox bedrooms in which you’d struggle to swing a cat.

Here’s how to make the best of a (very) small bedroom…

1. Under-the-bed storage

Under-the-bed drawers will help max out your storage. 

Under-the-bed drawers will help max out your storage. - Credit: Alamy/PA

Your bed is almost certainly the largest item in your bedroom’s stock list, so getting the most out of it is essential to getting the most out of your room. Simple storage boxes do well under most beds (measure carefully before you buy), while pull-out drawers are also popular if you still want access. Think out-of-season clothes, sporadically important files and documents, or nostalgic items you’re not quite ready to send to the charity shop.


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2. Use your wall space

Most small rooms have far more wall than floor, and canny designers can squeeze usage out of every square inch of masonry. Simple DIY shelves suffice for ornaments and (light) books, while mounted lamps can provide illumination without clogging up limited surfaces.

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3. Use lights strategically

The right lighting can make all the difference in a small space. 

The right lighting can make all the difference in a small space. - Credit: Alamy/PA

Room size is as much about perception as reality, and how large a room feels doesn’t always tally up with how large a room actually is. Natural light can give your bedroom a breezy feel, imitating the wide open spaces of the great outdoors, so make sure any windows have an uninterrupted view across the room.

After dark, poorly lit areas quickly feel poky, so stock up on lamps to accent important areas like desks and bedside tables, and send a warm glow splashing across the walls.

4. Cut the clutter

The bedroom is perhaps the prime forum for random stuff you don’t need. Kitchens and bathrooms are functional places first and foremost, while the more public nature of the living room makes it ill-suited to generic bits of bric-a-brac. So useless junk often ends up in the bedroom, where it will sit doing nothing but take up space for literally decades unless something is done.

5. Use a light colour palette

Light colours can make a room feel more spacious.

Light colours can make a room feel more spacious. - Credit: Alamy/PA

One of the golden rules of decorating is that light colours make a space feel open and bigger, so whites, creams and greys are often shades of choice in smaller areas. Other colour blocks like desktops and bedsheets can also affect how a room feels.

6. Think vertically

Floor-to-ceiling furnishings serve a dual purpose: they clear space at ground level while also drawing the eye upwards, making the room feel larger and airier. Tall bookcases, cupboards, or even long-hanging curtains can all help spread a room out, while posters and wall hangings at higher altitudes should be just as effective.

7. Utilise your corners

Hard-to-access right angles often neglected by decorators, corners make up the kind of dead space you cannot afford in a shoebox bedroom. Triangular shelves can slot into the space nicely, as can most right-angled furniture, bean bags, or angled televisions. Just make sure you’re using them for something.

8. Keep it tidy

We know, hardly revolutionary advice, but the single easiest way to make a room feel larger is to put everything away. Your chest of drawers looks the same whether it’s full or empty, so anything not stowed is taking up space unnecessarily.

A spring clean can also work wonders. Clean, bright, cobweb-free furnishings can banish claustrophobia with just a few dabs of the duster.

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