Last Updated: Nov 10, 2016
Small bedrooms are uniquely difficult to design and decorate because of one essential piece of large furniture: the bed. However, just because you have a large bed in a small room, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your sense of style and, more importantly, sense of space. By following some simple bedroom design rules and color schemes, you’ll be amazed how quickly a room transforms.
We have put together a list of 25 simple answers to the timeless question: how do you make a small bedroom look bigger? From simple touch ups to complete bedroom redesigns, read on to find solutions that work for your bedroom.
Make Your Bedroom Look Bigger Using Paint
1) Paint your walls light colors
The reason this works is simply because lighter colors will reflect the light, making it seem brighter and roomier. Darker paint absorbs light, which will feel smaller and more constricting. In this bedroom, the walls are painted a light, lively blue color, making this small room feel much larger. When thinking about your bedroom design, try to stay away from dark colors.
2) Monochromatic paint
Coordination is an important feature of any room design and the best place to start is with your paint. Use monochromatic paint colors throughout the room to create fluidity and space. Painting the room with different or opposite colors will segment off portions of the room when viewing, making it feel smaller. This small room uses shades of blue to coordinate the flow of color.
3) Paint the trim a slightly lighter color
Another simple optical illusion, by painting the trim a slightly lighter color than the walls, your eye perceives depth. Incorporating this simple trick in your small bedroom design will make it feel like the walls are farther away, giving you a roomier feeling bedroom. Notice the white trim around the doorframe and ceiling pictured here offsets the blue with a lighter, white color.
4) Paint the ceilings darker or with a bold pattern
This is an interesting technique because you are essentially tricking the eye to look upward. Using colors or patterns that pop will draw the eye upward, which gives the illusion of height even if you don’t necessarily have high ceilings. This fun bedroom ceiling is painted to mimic the dark blue night sky.
Make Your Bedroom Look Bigger With Furniture
5) Use space-saving furniture
Not all small bedroom design ideas are optical illusions. Obviously, the less furniture that you have in your bedroom, the bigger it will look. A simple solution would be raising your bed with risers and then storing your clothes beneath. You can also purchase beds with built in storage beneath, like the bed pictured here. But, don’t stop there, get creative with the rest of your small room design ideas. Utilize folding desks and chairs and store them when you aren’t using them.
6) Avoid excessive furniture
You don’t always need two bedside tables, especially in a small room. This tip is relatively simple on paper, but somewhat harder in practice. It is always nice to have extra things to make your life easier, but if space is an issue, less furniture will make your room seem much bigger. By keeping the bed on the floor and using only one small table as the only piece of furniture, this small bedroom looks much bigger.
7) Get creative
Instead of a full size bed, try using a futon, which doubles as a couch during the day. If you really want to hide away, try installing a pullman bed. These will maximize floor space when you aren’t sleeping. If you are looking for some nice small bedroom design ideas for lounging that don’t take up floor space, try a hammock. Another great idea for small rooms with multiple children is the bunk bed—the ones pictured here even have built-in shelving.
8) Keep low to the ground
Stay away from tall chairs and tables in your small bedroom design, and definitely get rid of the high headboard. By keeping things low to the ground, you are creating more space above, which keeps the wall cleaner and ceiling seem higher. The bedroom pictured here has smaller ceiling, but by keeping the bed on the ground, it makes the bedroom look and feel much bigger.
9) Transparent furniture
Try replacing your wooden desk with a glass table top. This takes up the same amount of space, but tricks the eye into feeling like it does not. Pair your desk with some acrylic or lucite chairs and you have a minimal visual impact work space that will help make your whole bedroom look bigger. This lucite chair and small desk combination do the trick for a small room.
10) Exposed legs on your furniture
Similar to the bedroom design tip above, by exposing the legs on your furniture, you are creating the illusion of space and making the bedroom look bigger. The key to this one, however is to make sure to keep the area below your furniture clean and organized. Ditch the bed skirt and let the room breathe a bit, like in this little girl’s room. The long legs of the bedside table also help to exaggerate the sense of space.
11) Built-in shelving around bedding
Building shelving around your bedding and recessing the bed a bit is a great small bedroom design idea. The shelving doubles as bedside table, saving space in that regard, but by having the bed recessed, it creates an illusion of depth in the wall, making the small room feel bigger.
Make Your Bedroom Look Bigger With Decor
12) Stay out of middle zone
Leave space above hanging art to give the illusion of a taller wall. However, if you have shelves or other storage, keep it closer to the ceiling to draw the eye upwards. The easiest way to do this is by breaking your wall into thirds, instead of halves. The hanging art should live closer to the lower third and any shelves or storage closer to the upper third. Each has a heightening effect. This bedroom image uses the low shelf and low hanging photo, leaving much more space above.
13) Mirrors are the ultimate illusion
If you have a bare wall or door in your bedroom, add some mirrors to make it look bigger. Mirrors not only reflect light, but a cleverly angled mirror will also create depth or height. Optimally, you would want your mirrors to go floor-to-ceiling. The most common use of this would be mirrored closet doors, but those aren’t always part of every small bedroom design. The mirror in the room pictured here is placed near the window, giving an even wider sense of space for a small room.
14) Color code everything
Be sure to color coordinate your decorations throughout the room. Something as simple as grouping books of like colors together will create a sense of unity throughout. Try to match your pillows with your wall art. This creates coherence, which is a necessity in a small room. The color-coded design in this small bedroom provides any easy flow. The mix of yellows and blues can be seen all throughout.
15) Mount shelves
A simple way to keep things off of the floor and free up walking space is to mount shelves. Use them to store books, picture frames, or even clothes. However, be sure to keep the colors of shelves coordinated throughout the room. The items on the shelf should also be organized and color-coded if possible. These unique shelves constructed above the child’s desk are a great space saver and perfectly match the darker wall color.
A clutter free room is key to the perception of space and will make a small bedroom look much bigger. Keep your clothes in drawers, your pencils in a jar, and your loose pennies in your piggy bank. This boy’s small room pictured does away with all of the clutter, leaving clean floors and a clean desktop for working. Overall the room looks and feels much larger than it actually is.
17) Empty space
Some people don’t realize the virtues of empty space. It is not necessary to fill all of your shelves to the brim. Empty space is essential for a smaller room, because it helps let the room breathe a bit. If you find the need to decorate your room with small pieces, follow what is called the Cantaloupe rule, which states that your decorations shouldn’t be smaller than a cantaloupe. Anything smaller will add clutter. The room pictured here does away with pretty much everything, making it feel much larger.
18) Smaller lamps
Instead of having a lone source light in the middle of your ceiling, try using several smaller lamps around the room. This will draw the eyes around the room, exaggerating your sense of space. A nice, easy way to incorporate this in your bedroom design would be to place lamps on your bedside table, like this cozy bedroom pictured here.
19) Bold wall art
Instead of peppering the room with photos, use a single bold piece of art. This will help create a focal point in the room, giving it structure and depth. Any of these canvas prints are a great choice. The size of your canvas prints can play a large part in how the room feels. This luxurious piece of art hung above the bed is a great example of the way to draw all of the eyes to one point in the room.
20) Coordinate vertically or horizontally
This is a very important rule for making your bedroom feel larger. Think of your room as a large painting or drawing. You want the lines of movement to coordinate throughout. If you have vertical lines and patterns everywhere, but then suddenly a horizontal patch, it breaks up the flow and segments the room, making it feel smaller. Either vertical or horizontal is great, but just don’t mix and match. Follow the horizontal path around the room pictured here in everything from the shudders to the abacus.
21) Don’t let the drapes hit the floor
This follows the same principle as keeping the legs exposed on your furniture. By letting your drapes run all the way to the floor, you are cutting off the flow of the room. They shouldn’t run and pool on the floor. A great idea is to tie them up or leave a few inches below, like pictured in this photo.
22) No dark drapes (or better yet, no drapes at all!)
Although you may want to keep out the bright, early morning sun, the natural light is going to expand your bedroom’s sense of space. Paired with your mirrors and light colored walls, you will notice a difference right away in a small. However, if you really need the drapes, stay away from dark colors. The best way to make your room feel bigger is by utilizing sheer, white drapes like the ones pictured in this image.
23) Use a light-colored, simple-patterned sheet or quilt
Since this is the bedroom, your bed sheets are going to be a key ingredient in the decoration of your room. When choosing your sheets, stay away from loud, busy patterns. Try to coordinate the colors and shapes with drapes to match the flow of the room. Get creative and use one of these personalized photo quilts or woven photo blankets. Over all else, stick to lighter, brighter color like the one pictured below to make the room feel larger.
24) Use high drapes
While not everyone is fortunate enough to have floor to ceiling windows, you can still create an illusion of this by mounting your drapes above your window frame and letting them hang long (but don’t let them touch or pool on the floor). This will create the horizontal effect that draws the eyes upwards like this room does with these sheer pink drapes.
25) Keep it simple
This is the best rule in all design, but especially if you want to make a small bedroom seem larger. It is easy to fall into the trap of adding unnecessary decorations and details, and after a while, you end up with a cramped, cluttered room. A few pictures, a nice lamp, and a beautiful plant placed in the corner is all that is needed in this room.
Overall, a room will always feel larger if you keep it clean and organized. Experiment with different types of furniture, beds, and bedding. Rearrange the layout and build shelves to maximize the space of your room. A simple design with coordinating colors and patterns will not only make it more visually appealing, but also make your small bedroom room seem bigger.