Everyone loves new construction, but one of the main drawbacks of owning a newly constructed home can be the spare bedroom sizes. While the master bedroom is often quite spacious, additional bedroom space seems to continue to shrink decade by decade.
It’s true you don’t necessarily need a vast amount of open space in a spare bedroom, but if you’ve got kids or roommates who will be spending a lot of time there, you want to make those rooms feel as spacious and open as possible.
We’ll show you how to squeeze the most space out of your tiny bedroom by using a few tips and tricks of the interior design trade. We’ll also cover some major small bedroom mistakes you should never make.
What is Considered a Small Bedroom?
Believe it or not, there are actually regulations that govern what can and cannot be considered a bedroom. The International Residential Code provides that a room must be at least 70 square feet to be considered a safe, habitable bedroom. This would equate to measurements of at least 7’X10’.
That’s an incredibly small space which may make you appreciate your own small bedroom space a little more! Most spare bedrooms measure around 200 square feet, which gives you plenty of space for your necessary furniture, but not much additional room for decor. Thus, the focus should be on fitting your furniture and adding decorative style without adding additional, large items to your room.
Obviously, you’ll need a bed, but you can end up trying to fit a too large bed in a too small room. Here’s a helpful chart to help you determine what size bed you can actually fit in your spare bedroom.
Bedroom Size Requirements
Keep in mind these are minimum bedroom sizes, which means that you’ll have a tight fit but still retain adequate walk space and clearance around your bed. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you have at least 30”-36” of unobstructed walk space around the edges and foot of your bed.
Ways to Make a Small Bedroom Look Bigger
So what do you do when you’ve got a bedroom that’s incredibly small? First, you make sure the furniture you have fits properly. Using the guide above, make sure the bed you have selected fits and allows for walk space.
If you want to use your space as a guest room for two guests, but you only have space for a twin bed, consider a trundle bed or even a bunk bed. Having a larger bed than a twin in a space that is too small will make the room feel incredibly cramped.
Next, look for ways to maximize the space you have and create space where there seems to be none. Here’s how.
Use the Walls
The walls of your small bedroom are a great way to add extra storage space in a small bedroom. Consider the use of shelving for books and miscellaneous items. If you’re able to install built-in shelving, that’s an even better way to add storage.
You can even add a vertical “desk” by hanging file holders, wall-calendars, and other frequently used materials above a dresser.
Mirrors naturally make a space feel larger. You can use mirrors in a small space to make the room feel more open. If your space is especially small, consider using floor-to-ceiling mirrors, like mirrored closet doors. You can also add a large mirror above your dresser or bed.
If you don’t want to use a large mirror, opt for a collection of smaller mirrors over your bed or dresser. This will still allow light to flow through the room and “trick” the eyes into believing the room is more spacious than it actually is.
Opt for Contemporary Furniture
When deciding on the style, opt for contemporary or modern pieces. Traditional furniture is notoriously heavier, bulkier, and features ornamentation, which can make a piece look bigger.
Modern and contemporary styles feature pieces that are much more simplistic in design. Lines are more geometric, clean, and minimal, which is perfect for outfitting a small room. You’ll also find that modern pieces often sit above the floor, which can help your room feel more open and airy.
Look for dressers that are more slim-lined and feature feet to keep them off the floor. The space under furniture with feet helps keep energy flowing freely throughout the room.
Keep It Clean
Nothing makes any sized room feel smaller than piles of clutter or unorganized messes. Keep knick-knacks, frequently used items, and clutter to a minimum by using baskets or bins to collect loose items and getting rid of items frequently that no longer serve a purpose or are no longer needed.
Keeping your bed linens neutral in color will also make the room appear larger. Whites, creams, and light beige colors all make a room feel larger, while darker, deeply pigmented colors can close the room in. Making sure the bedding is minimal (less decorative pillows and blankets) will also maximize the space.
Natural lighting will make a huge difference in whether or not your room feels closed off or open. Make sure nothing obstructs the natural light from the window (no heavy drapes, shades, or furniture).
It’s also a great idea to use overhead or small table lamps instead of larger floor lamps which can take up extra space.
Small Bedroom Mistakes to Avoid
You can make a bedroom feel even smaller by making certain design and decorative decisions. We’ll help you avoid those pitfalls. Here’s what you should not do in a small bedroom.
- Excess furniture. In a small room, you’ll be lucky to comfortably fit a bed and dresser. Anything else is usually excessive and will make the room feel crowded.
If you really want an additional piece of furniture in your room, think small. Modern style chairs will have a sleek design that doesn’t require as much space as typical lounge chairs.
- Dark colors. You may really love navy, but painting the walls of a small bedroom navy will make it feel like a box. Even an accent wall painted a dark color can make the room feel smaller than it actually is.
Instead, keep the walls a light, neutral color, and use your favorite darker color as an accent. Just make sure you keep the accents light, or they can overpower the room.
- Stuffing items under the bed or dresser. If you’re using a bed or dresser that sits a few inches off the floor, using that space as storage will defeat the purpose of having elevated furniture in the first place.
Keep the floor space under the bed and dresser clear if it’s visible, so the room feels larger.
- Busy prints. You may absolutely adore leopard or paisley, but adding those prints to a small bedroom can make it seem busy and cluttered. You can use those prints sparingly as accents, but be sure the main color scheme of the room is neutral in color. Lots of white space will keep the room open and airy.
- Heavy drapes. Not only will heavy drapes and curtains make your room feel smaller, but they’ll also block out the essential natural lighting that can make your room feel larger. If you’re using window treatments, opt for blinds that easily allow light in when they are open and keep your curtains light. Go for an ethereal feel by using sheer panels and investing in tie-backs.
- Flooring. You may have a small bedroom that has older flooring; carpet that looks worn or out-of-date tile or laminate. In these cases, invest in a simple rug that isn’t too heavily patterned. The rug will become a focal point in the room and help cover up the flooring, which can make the room look old and stuffy.
If you decide on a patterned rug, just be sure to keep your bed linens and remaining decor light and neutral. Use the rug as the anchor and build your room around the rug colors, so the room looks balanced and textured, not chaotic and cluttered.
Modloft is a great resource for furnishing your entire home, including small bedroom spaces. We offer intentionally designed pieces that are beautiful, functional, and available in varying sizes to meet your needs.
We also offer a thirty-day in-home trial, so you can make sure that the piece you fell in love with in-store or online brings you just as much joy in your own space.
Your small bedroom space can feel perfectly adequate if you use these tips and tricks and shop for minimalist pieces at Modloft.
Minimum Habitable Room Area | R304.1
Bedroom Size | House Plans Helper
9 Tricks to Make a Small Bedroom Look Bigger | The Spruce