More Americans than ever are downsizing their living space. According to a recent survey by real estate site Trulia, 37% of current homeowners would rather have a smaller house. Part of what is driving that trend is baby boomers who are retiring. On the other end of the spectrum, the millennials are finding a challenging time entering the workforce, and tend to live in small starter homes or apartments.
Another survey by the Demand Institute (operated by research groups The Conference Board and Nielsen) have issued a survey that noted 37% of baby boomers planned to move at some point, and 42% of that group said that they would like to live in a smaller home. Along with smaller houses, come smaller bedrooms, and small bedrooms are notoriously challenging spaces to design. While you want an effective and efficient space, you also don’t want to give up your opportunities for some style. After all, what good is a bedroom if it isn’t a soothing, relaxing place to sleep your 8 hours away?
Here are some practical and easy ways to make that small bedroom look its most spacious: Hang a mirror or two—this will help give the illusion of a bigger room without taking up much space at all. If the room has a window, accentuate it. It will draw the eye outward and make the space seem bigger.
Give serious consideration to downsizing your bedroom furniture. If you’re a sprawled-out sleeper, and prefer a big mattress, then forget mattress size as your biggest problem. By eliminating a fancy headboard, it will appear as though you have more space in the room. Either of these methods will keep a small room looking bigger, without compromising the size of the mattress.
You might also want to ditch the bedside tables. While it is convenient to have a reading lamp next to the bed, think outside the box. You can hang a pendent light, or mount a wall sconce—again, taking up almost no room. If you really need a bedside table, try to get one with multiple drawers or shelves. Or consider a half-circle nightstand that will be more tucked away than a rectangular one. Remember that in general, dark colors on the walls or the furniture will make the room feel more closed in. Try to stick with light colors which will make the room look more spacious than it really is. Interior designer Ken Fulk advises, “Color is a powerful tool in small spaces. By painting the walls, trim, and ceiling all the same shade, the color literally envelops you and creates an expanded sense of space.”
Having enough storage in a small bedroom is always a challenge. If you have a small closet, really plan and utilized the space well. Take out the old fashioned closet rod—it takes up too much space and doesn’t help you make use of the square footage. Instead, invest in some closet management pieces available at almost any home improvement store. See what pieces are available, and plan your closet accordingly. By just adding 2 racks horizontally, you can gain more than twice the capacity. A few shelves and hooks will complete your enhanced storage.
If the base of your bedframe doesn’t have storage drawers, buy some plastic and lidded containers specifically made for under-the- bed storage. You can put all your out-of- season clothes and shoes under there, and with a simple bed skirt you can hide them from view. Shelves are your friends. If you need to store objects you don’t need very often, a shelf running along the wall above your head could help. You can put quite a bit of stuff up there without it ever being in your way.
“Don’t fill every inch”, says designer Chris Barrett, “Group your collections and give them room to breathe. Remember that clutter will even make a big bedroom look small.”