closet with mirror doors

Clever Ideas on How to Make a Small Bedroom Look Bigger

It seems that nowadays, homes are constantly shrinking in size, even as their prices climb higher and higher.

As someone who bought a 44 sq m (approx. 474 sq ft) studio as her first home, I know firsthand the struggle of trying to design and decorate a small place.

But there are ways to make a space look bigger and in this post, I’ll list all my tips for making a small bedroom seem larger than it really is.

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How to make a small bedroom look bigger

01. Use light colors

When dealing with a small bedroom, light colors are generally your best friend, whether we’re speaking about walls, flooring, furniture, textiles, or even decorations.

This does not mean that you should go ahead and make your entire room white but aim to use light colors in your design as much as possible. Think beige, light greys, pastels, and of course, white.

Also, make sure you add darker colors sparingly to add dimension and avoid the room looking a bit washed out. These can be little things like a dark light fixture or lamp, the rod of your drapes, or even a darker door.

metal frame bed

02. Paint an accent wall

Now this may sound like I’m contradicting myself, especially after I just told you to go for light colors in terms of pretty much everything, but painting a darker accent wall will make it recede from you visually.

This is especially effective when the wall in question is one of the first things you see upon entering the room.

I have no words to describe what a huge difference painting the wall behind my headboard made in my small bedroom. It really elevated the room’s design and made it look much bigger.

As a reference, my apartment bedroom is quite small at 12.15 square meters (approx. 130.78 sq ft) and on top of that, there’s also a lower structural beam crossing it.

To mask it, I decided to install floor-to-ceiling sliding doors and use the space as a closet, but this made the actual bedroom even smaller and looked almost like a square.

Painting the opposite wall a light grey (my color scheme is white-grey-dark blue) made the room look longer and more put together.

bedroom with bulky furniture

03. Avoid bulky furniture

Bulky items will make your small bedroom look even smaller so getting the right size of furniture for your space is important.

Planning your bedroom in a tool like Sketchup is ideal (since you can see everything in 3D at the end), but it requires a bit of patience and learning.

An easier way is to simply stick tape on the floor at the exact dimensions that your furniture will be and do an imagination exercise to see if the space left is enough for you to comfortably walk around it and access everything.

When I was decorating my first apartment I made the mistake of ordering a 180cm (approx. 71 in) wide bed instead of the 160cm (approx. 63 in) one that I actually wanted.

You’d think that such a difference might not be very noticeable, but that bed looked enormous in my small bedroom. Not to mention, that I constantly bumped into its corner while trying to get around it.

I have since swapped it for a 160cm wide one and it looks so much better.

closet with mirror doors

04. Add mirrors

Because of their reflective nature, mirrors trick your eye into thinking a space is bigger than it really is. So include them in your design and the bigger the better.

If you have a tall and narrow window near the corner of the wall (on which you might want to place your bed or not) it’s a great idea to add a mirror on the other side of that same wall that will mirror (see what I did there?!:D ) the window.

This way not only do you make the room look bigger and brighter, but you also solve a design problem, like having an odd-placed window.

You can also add a self-standing mirror to a corner of the room, mount them on the walls, use them as decorations, etc.

Another popular placement for mirrors is the closet, more specifically its doors, be it a walk-in or a piece of furniture.

Remember how I created a closet space in my small apartment bedroom by adding floor-to-ceiling sliding doors? What I didn’t mention was that I also added equally large mirrors on them.

Even though they’re a bit of a pain to clean, they do wonders in the way the eye perceives the size of the room.

One thing that I want to mention and that I learned the hard way, is that if you add large mirrors to doors made from particleboard, the weight of the mirrors tends to curve the boards if they’re not properly installed/glued.

white metal bed

05. Choose elevated furniture when possible

By choosing elevated furniture, I mean go for items that don’t go all the way to the ground, so basically things with legs or mounted on the walls.

Having your furniture elevated will leave more floor space visible which in turn makes you perceive the room as airy and bigger than it really is.

06. Don’t go too crazy with patterns and colors

Avoid adding lots of patterns and colors to a small space: it’s way better to stick to just a few and repeat them if needed.

When your eyes don’t find something to rest on quickly and easily, they can become overwhelmed and you’ll perceive the room as small and crowded. And we don’t want that!

For your color scheme, a good rule of thumb is to opt for 1-3 base colors and 1 accent one.

07. Less is more when adding decor items

The same idea as above applies to decor items as well: refrain from adding too many or they’ll make your bedroom look stuffed and a size smaller than it really is, like a boot that doesn’t fit.

And I know it’s hard to resist all those cute decorations you see in stores but trust me, less is more when you have a small bedroom.

hang curtains the right way

08. Install your curtains the right way

Getting curtains long enough and installing them the right way will do wonders for your small bedroom.

I actually wrote an entire post listing all the dos and don’t of installing curtains, but if you don’t have the time to read it all, here are the two most important things to bear in mind:

  • Install the rod at the right height: I’d suggest a minimum of 2/3 of the distance between the ceiling and the window.
  • Make sure your curtains are long enough to barely touch the floor (my preferred look) or make a small puddle.

09. Make sure your rug is the right size

As with your furniture, you should also pay attention to the size and shape of your rug if you opt for one.

To make your bedroom feel bigger you should avoid getting a small rug as it can break up the space into even smaller pieces and that’s not the look that you’re after.

You can also opt for irregular or round shapes to avoid the feeling of being boxed in.

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