While we all profess to wanting a space that’s manageable and easy to maintain well, when it comes to size, everyone wants more.
However, with home sizes shrinking, property prices hitting the roof, and schedules getting more packed by the day, the challenge is about doing the best with what’s available.
Small bedrooms are notoriously difficult to decorate. That’s because there are certain essentials in the room that you can’t do without, such as the bed and adequate storage.
The trick is to work with what you have, max the use of available space and use clever design ideas to give the illusion of roominess and ample area. The idea is to enjoy the challenge and come up with creative solutions.
It’s also important to firm up on who will use the room. If it’s for a child or teen, senior citizen or guest, make sure that you tailor your interior decoration scheme to match this requirement.
Here are some great tips and tricks and bedroom ideas used by decorating professionals:
Before you plunge into colours, patterns, shapes or fabrics, get out your measuring tape. Get accurate dimensions of not just the floor and walls, but also take the ceiling into account. It’s your “fifth wall” and an important part of your design format.
Once you have the exact dimensions, if you’re decorating from scratch, this helps you when you shop for furniture and accessories. If you already have stuff that needs to go into this space, take measurements of your bed and any other furniture you want and then look at placement options.
2. Decide On Your Colour Scheme:
Colour plays a big role in the visual aspect of your room. Keep the colour palette down to one or two colours, or play with shades of the same hue. While decorators would generally advise you to stick to whites and pastels, you don’t need to make your bedroom look like a hospital cubicle.
It’s a great idea to pick a focus colour from a favourite artwork, or to decide on a general theme. Using lighter shades helps to open up the space and draw the eye outwards.
Use natural light and let it in as much as possible. If you don’t have large windows, give the illusion that you do with ceiling to floor airy, light, sheer draperies. If you can, open up a window/ventilator at ceiling level, or a skylight in a studio apartment.
Decorate with recessed lighting and task lighting, pendant lights, lights around your dressing area mirror, strings of fairy lights, free standing floor lamps and wall-mounted sconces. Keep the mood mellow, with pools of light at focus points to create interest and break the monotony.
4. Be Playful:
Paint the ceiling in a slightly darker shade or a contrast colour to pull the eyes upwards. You can make the ceiling a focal point by painting polka dots or stars in silver/gold, etc. It’s a good idea to paint trim and borders along the ceiling and top of the walls in a slightly darker shade.
It gives the feeling of a receding space, and adds to the illusion that the room is bigger than it really is. Ditch boring bedside tables and opt for free-standing shelves that can hold your books, glasses, jar of candy, etc. If you aren’t too particular, substitute the bed with a futon or a pull-out day-bed-sofa that you can lounge in while watching TV.
5. Select the Right Furniture:
Every piece of furniture in a small bedroom may have to do double duty. Choose low level furniture that opens up more vertical space in the room. Ensure that your bed has a storage facility and choose fitted storage with sliding doors. Select or make to measure more free-standing furniture that allows a view of the floor, such as chairs with longer legs rather than big, squashy sofas.
Ditch headboards but it’s a good idea to have all-round shelving around the bed and even running along the top of the walls. Just make sure that the shelves are not too deep – about 6-8 inches is perfect. Another great trick is transparent furniture – strong acrylic, glass or Lucite are great for table-tops, shelves, chairs, etc.
Be ruthless with clutter. Throw or give away unwanted stuff if you can’t find space for it. Keep the room neat, clean and orderly at all times. This not only looks great, it’s also a great stress buster. Display clear, empty surfaces on table-tops and in shelves, for the visual break in the room and open up spaces.
Avoid having magazines, knitting, sewing, too many knick-knacks and photos, etc., crowding every surface in the room. If you have a lot of stuff that you want to keep and show, put some of it away and after a month or two, do a swap.
7. Do It With Mirrors:
Artfully placed mirrors help to bounce light off surfaces and reflect images. They can play the role of artwork themselves if you frame them right, or you can have a large free-standing mirror that reflects images from different angles. Placing a mirror opposite an open window gives the illusion that you have another one on the wall across.
You can trick the eye with mirrors placed at different levels, or on wardrobe or bathroom doors for depth and distance. Let your mirrors catch the light in a dark niche to open up the space.
8. Be Bold:
Don’t allow the room’s size to intimidate you. Express your personality and style with artwork, cultural symbols, books, etc. When choosing artwork for smaller rooms, try and select one or two large pieces rather than a collection of smaller ones.
A full size tapestry, or oil painting, acrylic abstract etc. hung strategically above your bed can trick the eye into believing that there’s a whole lot of space in the room. Don’t mix and match vertical and horizontal artworks. They add to the visual clutter. Instead, sync the shape of your paintings and bunch them together size-wise.
Finally, experiment with different arrangements, looks, materials, furniture, artifacts, artwork, accessories, moods and lighting. Plan for the future. Leave a little room for those impulse purchases that you simply couldn’t resist!