Published on April 25, 2019

Small bedrooms often have to put function first. Anyone who has lived in a shoebox apartment will be able to speak to this firsthand: Priorities shift in a tiny space, and it becomes less about style and more about utility. A comfy sleeping spot here, some smart storage there—after all, the room has a job to do. But sometimes, a small bedroom laughs in the face of its own square footage and allows design to coexist with function. These are the spaces that give us hope for our own diminutive rooms. Ranging in style from simple, minimalist bedrooms that would make Marie Kondo shed tears of joy to bold boudoirs full of rich color, these rooms prove that any design aesthetic can work in a smaller space.

If you’re looking to rearrange your room and are in desperate need of some helpful decor suggestions, read on. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite rooms that’ll provide you with endless hours of inspiration—plus, serviceable takeaways from each space. Living small has never looked chicer.

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Photography by Tessa Neustadt

Circumvent a vertically challenged bedroom by playing around with scale. Choose low-profile furniture for your smaller bedroom to make the room feel taller and showcase as much of the wall space as possible. If you really want to take the airy feel to the next level, opt for sleek, minimalist furniture styles to keep the room light.

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea

Studio apartments can be tricky to decorate, and if you’re currently struggling with how to outfit yours, we understand. This 500-square-foot NYC apartment is a great example of what to do, starting with the breezy bedroom. To deal with the fact that there are no walls and the bedroom has to flow with the rest of the apartment, the homeowners chose neutral bedding in linen that feels on par with the natural vibe of the rest of the studio. Use like colors and materials to ensure cohesion in your own space.

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea

Anyone who lives in a tiny apartment already knows that multifunctional pieces are the key to making the most of square footage. Here, a yellow stool is a perfect makeshift nightstand, but should homeowner Timothy Goodman need extra seating for entertaining, he can just bring it out into the main living area.

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Photography by Anna Hudson for Society6

Hidden behind barn doors, this small bedroom is a veritable desert oasis. Take a page from artist Holli Zollinger’s book and mix in a range of textiles and natural materials—like a rattan pendant and an eclectic mix of throw rugs—to really drive home the cozy feel in a tiny space.

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Photography by CODY GUILFOYLE AND AARON BENGOCHEA

Our social media editor’s bedroom alcove in her 650-square-foot Williamsburg apartment boasts bold color that doesn’t back down. The corner walls in contrasting shades of blue are balanced out by a softer, more neutral bedspread—ultimately proving that small doesn’t have to mean boring. “My bedroom gets the least light in the apartment, and the bold walls help create a cozy corner that is more calming than you might think,” says our editor about her space.

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Photography by Autumn Bailey 

The master bedroom area of this tiny renovated trailer still packs major style. A patterned rug on the floor lets the eye rest on something central without focusing on the space’s lack of square footage, while a large mirror hangs opposite one of the windows, mimicking even more natural light.

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Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

When your bedroom doesn’t have doors and is visible from most of your 265-square-foot apartment, it can’t feel like an afterthought. This tiny bedroom is anything but: With bespoke artwork, plenty of greenery, and personal touches throughout, it blends seamlessly with the rest of the apartment and even doubles as a sitting area. Just add floor pillows.

Pin ItPhotography by Ashley Petrone

Listen, if a family of five can manage life in a 180-square-foot RV, there’s hope for any small-space dweller. One trick to steal? Built-in cabinetry above the bed for optimum storage in minimal space. Not only does it keep clutter at bay, but the extra surface area can also be used in many ways—say, for displaying your very chic hat collection by using a couple of wall hooks.

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Photography by Whitney Leigh Morris

At first glance, this may look like a pretty spacious bedroom, but it’s actually not a bedroom at all. It’s part of a joint living room–kitchen in a charming California cottage and moonlights as a custom bench sofa during the day. When you’re truly tight on space, multipurpose pieces like this foldout bed are a lifesaver.

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Photography by NATHALIE MALIC

Bright spaces somehow seem bigger and airier, so let the natural light shine through by allowing an unobstructed view of the window. Spruce up your windowsill with some decorative pieces to add interest to the space.

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

Vibrant colors give this room a playful feel. If the hand-painted art adorning the wall isn’t quite your taste, swap the drawings out for more sophisticated prints to make a mini gallery wall. Keep up the eclectic design by mixing in a few nontraditional hangings like dried flowers or a cool postcard from a favorite travel spot.

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Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK

We don’t have to tell small-space dwellers that storage is key: Wherever you can find it, squeeze it in. Underbed drawers, like the ones shown here, will neatly store anything to minimize clutter, and the light-filled room creates the illusion of added space.

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Photography by KRISTOFER JOHNSSON

When a bed fits as perfectly into a little nook as this one does, it’s best to keep things simple. The complete lack of clutter and decor in this room lends it a minimalist feel that’s timeless.

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Photography by PARACHUTEHOME.COM

Bright light pours into this smaller bedroom, giving it an open, airy feeling. We love how the homeowner made use of an unusually shaped ceiling by incorporating a statement light fixture for a bold touch. Instead of trying to disguise potentially challenging architectural features, work with them to make them the star. We promise that it’ll prove to be a unique finished product.

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Photography by 100LAYERCAKE.COM

Layer in pillows, bedding, and rugs—each with different patterns and complementary color schemes—for a completely cozy look. Not only does it feel more comfortable, but the layers also help add depth to a smaller bedroom.

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Photography by HM.COM

Printed sheets are key to creating a well-balanced bedding set. Mixed patterns and colors add polish to this small space, ensuring the bed feels like an intentional design moment rather than just a functional necessity.

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Photography by HKLIVING.NL

Statement lighting isn’t just for your main floor—it adds a huge amount of interest to your sleeping quarters too. Here, a large copper pendant, flanked by two sconces, draws the eye up and heightens the smaller bedroom.

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Photography by MYSCANDINAVIANHOME.COM

Though mainly white, this bedroom is anything but boring. The gorgeous hardwood floors, mixed with a Scandi-minimalist vibe, make for an inviting space we’d never leave. If you have a similarly rustic space, keep the decor simple: One bed with a storage-friendly headboard and a simple chair or nightstand are all that’s needed when the backdrop is this stunning.

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Photography by SFGIRLBYBAY.COM

No headboard? No problem. This bedroom is still bursting with style. A leaning ladder and pendant light bookend this bed beautifully—plus the ladder doubles as great storage for towels and scarves, in case your wardrobe space leaves something to be desired.

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Photography by URBANOUTFITTERS.COM

Your bed is one of the most obvious places to make a statement in a small room, so do it with a wonderfully intricate duvet. The other obvious place is the space over your bed, where there is plenty of room for a great piece of art or a unique headboard.

See more small space ideas:
The Best Shelves for Small Spaces

15 Design Pieces Every Small Space Needs
10 Finds from IKEA That Were Made for Tiny Bedrooms

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