Small Bedroom Decorating Ideas

How to sell your home and make a faster, more profitable sale

A monochromatic color scheme is the best design for small bedrooms.

Applying small bedroom decorating ideas to your home before placing it on the real estate market can help it sell faster and for more money.

It’s to your financial advantage to make each room look as spacious as possible.

As a former Realtor, I observed that home buyers were really turned off by small bedrooms. I have seen buyers scratch homes off their list because of small rooms.

What these buyers fail to realize is that many bedrooms only APPEAR smaller than they actually are.

Too much clutter, furniture, dark oppressive wall colors and heavy draperies can make even an average-sized bedroom feel cramped. Many prospective buyers can miss the potential of a room if they can't see it!

It's possible to visually increase the size of any small space by decluttering and applying some small bedroom decorating ideas to your home.

Small bedroom decorating ideas using color

Small bedroom interior design picturesThis monochromatic bedroom in soft grey tones is very sophisticated and calming.

Color is one of the keys to all successful decorating— it can work magic by visually expanding or shrinking space, raising and lowering ceilings. It can even effect our disposition.

Most people respond positively to light neutral colors. Your goal is to make your home appeal to the largest number of buyers possible.

Paint is the cheapest and the fastest way to update a room. Proper color combinations can fool the eye into thinking that a small room is larger than it really is. Color can also minimize awkward angles or badly-placed windows. 

  • Shorten a long, narrow room by painting the long walls a light color and end walls a darker warm shade of the same color. This will effectively "shorten" the room.

  • Paint walls and trim the same color to disguise bad trim work.
  • If walls are covered with outdated wallpaper, take it down, as buyers WILL HATE IT! Wallpaper is taste specific and buyers will only be thinking about all the work they'll have to do to remove it.
  • If walls are broken up by doorways, poorly placed windows, nooks, or slanting ceilings, make them less conspicuous by painting them the same color as the walls.
  • Electrical outlets, switch plates and radiators are also distractions if they contrast with the wall color. Paint them to match the wall color.

Pretty basement bedroomPale colors and good lighting turn this basement bedroom in a lovely retreat in spite of a tiny window!

Other small bedroom decorating ideas may include some renovation work, like stealing extra space from the closet of an adjoining room, or removing a wall between two small adjoining bedrooms to make one bigger room.

This can be a risky proposition though, as you will be downsizing the number of bedrooms in your home, possibly decreasing the value of your home.

The best colors for small room design

  • Pale colors reflect light and can visually expand a small bedroom by giving the impression of pushing back the walls.
  • Dark colors absorb and deflect light and give the impression of walls closing in on you.
  • Cool colors appear to retreat, while warm colors seem to advance.
  • A successful room will have a combination of cool and warm colors in the design palette, but one or the other should dominate.  
  • Introducing too many different colors can overwhelm a small room. Avoid loud, bright or dark colors. 
  • The best neutral colors for a small bedroom are white, beige, gray, blue, lavender, and green. 

Use a monochromatic color scheme for a small bedroom

A monochromatic bedroom in varying shades of tan. Use pendant or wall lighting to gain floor space.

The most successful designs for small rooms are monochromatic and monotone color schemes. Monochromatic color schemes can be very sophisticated by successfully creating the illusion of a more expansive and calming space.

This room design style uses just one color in varying shades, tints, tones, and textures in the wall paint, draperies, furniture, upholstery, bedding and flooring.

To create a monochromatic room design, use different shades of one color, such as white, off-white, grey, or beige, even blue! (See the blue room above.) Do the same with furniture, draperies, bedding, pillows, throws, and an area rug.

A monochromatic color scheme is usually accented with crisp whites in the trim work, lamp shades and accessories.

Many people may think it sounds boring to design a room around one color, but by incorporating variations in tones and textures, accessorizing with glass, metal, wood, and objects from nature, you can create a feeling of relaxation, spaciousness, and sophistication. 

Paint finishes for a small bedroom 

When selecting paint for a small room, avoid glossy finishes. Because of its reflective quality, a glossy paint finish will highlight every flaw on a wall and won’t appear to recede as well as a flatter paint finish will.

A flat paint has a matte finish that doesn’t reflect light, causing it to hide flaws better—the downside is that it’s not scrubbable and tends to look chalky. The best paint option for most walls are eggshell or satin paint finishes, both having a light luster and scrubbable quality.

A flat paint is typically used for ceilings or areas where a wall is less than perfect. Semi-gloss or glossy paint finishes are best for trim work.

Pattern and texture in a small bedroom

Neutral bedroom interior design picturesUse neutral colors and texture variations.
  • In the absence of wild patterns and bright paint colors, texture will add excitement and interest to a small room.

  • Shiny, satiny fabrics on a bedcover, window treatments, or accent pillows will add illumination to a small space.  
  • Avoid heavy brocaded fabrics and dark colors in small room design.
  • Dress the bed in soft neutral colors and lustrous fabrics to impart a feeling of luxury.
  • Solid colors create a high-end look home buyers are looking for.
  • Wide horizontal stripes on the walls can visually widen a small bedroom.
  • Use light neutral colors for striping. Avoid pin stripes, as they have the reverse effect.

Small bedroom with striped wallsHorizontal stripes, plus mirrors visually expand this small bedroom
  • Keep patterns to a minimum in a small space. 
  • Use fabrics with texture rather than pattern on larger pieces, such as an upholstered chair, so as not to overwhelm a small space.
  • Use accent pillows to add spots of color and pattern, but don’t go overboard. Three pillows are sufficient. Arrange in odd numbers to create a relaxed feel.

Small bedroom decorating ideas for lighting

Proper lighting plays a key role in making small rooms look bigger. Bedroom lighting should always be relaxing and come from several different sources.

Open drapes to allow as much natural light in as possible. Natural light is always the best lighting.

One glaring overhead light fixture can dominate a small room, drawing the eye to that one spot. Add another source of light to keep the eye from fixating there.

Clear light fixturesClear fixtures will extend sight lines.

No room for bedside tables? Mount light fixtures on the wall on each side of the bed, or one over the middle of the bed. The most practical task light fixtures for reading in bed are swing-arm wall lights.

Or hang pendent lights from the ceiling on each side of the bed. Be sure to hang them low enough that you can turn them off while lying in bed.

Recessed lighting is the answer for low ceilings and small bedrooms, because they don't take up space by protruding into the room. 

Dark unlit corners can "visually shrink" a room. You'll want to light up every corner of your small space! Use lamps and floor lighting. Torchiere lighting can really light up a room, but should be balanced with another fixture in the opposite corner. Torchiere light shines upward, so if your ceiling is in bad shape, every flaw will be magnified.

Small bedroom decorating ideas for ceilings and floors

Ceilings in a small bedroom

Small bedroom interior design picturesA vertical pattern on walls can make low ceilings appear taller.

A vertical pattern or wide stripes can visually "raise" a low ceiling.

Dark walls and ceiling can make a small bedroom feel like a cave.

Uniting the walls and ceiling in one light receding (cool) color can make it harder for the eye to see where walls and ceiling meet, making the room feel larger. 

A ceiling that is too high can be "lowered" by painting it a darker color than the walls.

Remember, dark warm colors advance. Bring the color down a foot or so onto the wall for greater effect. 

 Flooring in a small bedroom

The more flooring that is exposed, the bigger a small space will seem. Light-colored hardwood flooring or carpeting will make a small room feel more expansive.

An area rug with wide stripes can make your room appear longer or wider.

TASTE SPECIFIC: Your specific taste may not appeal to a very large number of people. When selling your home, your goal is to target the most buyers possible. Home staging helps you achieve this.

Small bedroom decorating ideas include placing a large area rug under the bed. Make sure  the rug extends past the edge of the bed at least 12-18 inches.

Or place two identical rugs, evenly spaced on each side of the bed. This will draw the eye outward and seemingly stretch the room horizontally. Extend the visual length by using area rugs with stripes.

Area rugs that fill most of a room should have about 18 inches of exposed flooring showing between the rug and the walls. For a small bedroom, reduce this number to about eight inches.

Positioning the bed in a small bedroom

Don't be afraid to place a bed in front of a window if there is no other option. The window will act like a focal point.

Every good room design begins with locating a focal point, then planning your arrangement around it.

If your small bedroom is devoid of any outstanding features, the bed naturally becomes a focal point because of its size and importance. Interior designers recommend that you place the bed where it looks best as you enter the room, but you may have little choice due to the confines of your small room.

The foot of the bed should be the first thing you see as you walk into a bedroom and should be placed furthest from the door, typically in the middle of the longest wall. 

Downsizing the bed is one of the best small bedroom decorating ideas ever! In a master bedroom, replace a king size bed with a queen, and so on. Downsizing the bed will instantly make a small bedroom look larger by introducing more “breathing room” into the space.

Often, you are left with no other option than positioning the long side of the bed against a wall, leaving room for only one nightstand. This is perfectly acceptable. Use a daybed instead and stage the room as a pretty sitting area.

Don’t automatically place your bed against the wall. Position the bed on the diagonal, which is the longest line of a room. This will feel more spacious, unless the room is too small.

Small bedroom decorating ideas for furniture

Bedroom with open frame bedOpen-legged furniture reveals more flooring, making the room appear bigger by extending sight lines

Some interior designers say that the eye travels more quickly through a small space. Eliminate anything that stops the flow of the eye, like clutter, contrasts in color, and dark heavy draperies.

Use fewer pieces of furniture, instead of a lot of small pieces that can make a room feel more crowded. The farther the eye can see into a room without stopping, the better.

Daybed design interior picturesUse a daybed instead of a bed. This allows you to place it against a wall without apology.

Consider scale when choosing furniture for a small bedroom. Avoid heavy furniture, like sleigh or canopy style bed frames. Their massive size will swallow up space.

Remove the footboard from your bed frame to reveal more visual space.

Use armless furniture to create more visual and physical space.

Don’t be afraid to have one large piece of furniture in your bedroom. Using one bold piece, like an upholstered armchair or armoire, will actually make a small space seem less cluttered then many smaller pieces.

If you are staging your home and need a cheap bed, stack up air mattresses. Once you cover it with bedding, no one will ever know unless they sit down! Don't place mattresses on the floor, use bed risers or six boxes as a base instead. Mattresses on the floor are a bad look.

Select furniture with open designs, like a metal bed frame and open legged pieces.

One of the best small bedroom decorating ideas is glass and lucite, furniture that you can see through. 

Monochromatic small bedroomThis bedroom would look larger if the heavy padded footboard was removed.
  • Mirrored furniture will reflect the many surfaces of a room, appearing to open up space.

  • Place a large mirror somewhere in the bedroom; this will add dimension to the room.
  • Take advantage of the vertical space in a small bedroom by using tall pieces of furniture instead of lower wide ones. You get the same amount of function, but gain floor space.
  • Don't stage a small room with a suite of matching furniture. Bedroom furniture suites are outdated and will "shrink" a room. Instead, use a mix of light and dark pieces.
  • Storage issues can be solved with the purchase of a lift storage bed or a bed frame with built-in drawers. Lift storage beds operate on a pivot frame and offer a large space under the mattress for stashing things.
  • For extremely small bedrooms, remove all the furniture except for the bed and a nightstand. 

Bedroom interior design picturesRecessing the bed between built-in shelving opens more floor space in this small bedroom
  • Add shallow built-in shelving for extra storage. Shelves won’t eat up precious floor space, especially if you recess the bed in the middle of shelving units. 

  • Shelves that go all the way to the ceiling will give the effect of “raising” the ceiling by creating a long vertical line.
  • Rather then a nightstand on each side of the bed, put up floating shelves, which won’t take up any floor space.

  • More small bedroom decorating ideas include taking advantage of multifunctional furniture. Nightstands with drawers, a vintage steamer trunk or storage ottoman can function as seating and storage.
  • Remove the television, electronics and exercise equipment from the bedroom. They just add to the clutter and don’t create that relaxing retreat that home buyers are looking for.

Small bedroom decorating ideas for window treatments

Monochromatic bedroomHanging draperies from the ceiling to the floor creates a strong vertical line, visually raising the height of a low ceiling.

If buyers are expected, open window treatments to allow as much natural light as possible into the bedroom.

If you have a great view, leave windows bare of window treatments. If you need privacy, hang sheers for an airy feeling.

Make narrow windows appear wider by extending curtain rods well beyond the width of the window, wide enough so that curtain panels don't cover any glass when opened. 

Avoid dark and heavy window treatments which can have a confining effect. Use drapes the same color as your walls to make the bedroom look bigger.

No window? Consider installing a skylight.

Staging your small bedroom for sale

Floor mirrorA large mirror will add extra dimension to a small space.
  • Don't hang pictures on every wall!
  • Limit collectibles to one or three pieces, or one large outstanding accessory that functions as a focal point. Too many small objects can look cluttered.
  • Wall-to-wall sliding closet doors are great for creating a feeling of spaciousness, but, I have never yet met a home buyer that likes them!
  • Other small bedroom decorating ideas for home staging include depersonalizing; reducing daily clutter like makeup, prescription pills, wet towels, etc., by stashing them in the laundry bin, baskets, or under-the-bed storage bins.

  • A large floral arrangement can overwhelm a small room. Instead, display a single elegant bloom, like an orchid or peony.
  • Use accessories with reflective or see-through qualities that will blend into the background.
  • Landscapes are ideal for small rooms because they have perspective which will draw the eye in, sort of like looking out a window.
  • The most important place to hang a painting is opposite the bed. Use just one large piece of art in a small room as a focal point.

  • Avoid artwork with bulky picture frames. A frameless painting with canvas wrapped edges is ideal.

  • Group smaller pieces of artwork together, so they read as “one” piece, or a unit. Not too many pieces, though, as they will look cluttered.
  • Hang floating shelves instead of shelving with ugly bracketing or heavy corbels. Floating shelves take up less visual space. Accessorize sparsely.

For more small bedroom decorating ideas to make bedrooms appear larger and correcting small space mistakes, watch the video below by Libby Landon.

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