As any small-space dwellers well know, sometimes there is nothing more literal than a bedroom: it’s a room with your bed in it, and little else. If you’re lucky, you’re able to wedge a nightstand in the 12-inch crevice between your mattress and the wall. Or maybe—since you are a grown adult, after all—you’ve upgraded to a bed bigger than a twin, a move that invariably gives your room, with its new wall-to-wall springiness, all the charm of a bouncy castle (or your very own padded cell).
There is hope, however: While we at ELLE DECOR are known for publishing sprawling villas and gracious estates, we’ve showcased plenty of small spaces in our day, a handful of which will undoubtedly give you some small bedroom ideas. These spaces will show you how to create the illusion of loftiness in spaces with a lack thereof; teach you how to draw the eye away from the cramped mess; or simply demonstrate how to embrace living in the closest of quarters. It all goes to show that you can indeed live small while dreaming big.
Pile Your Pillows
When space is at a premium, be sure to make the most of your bed itself. Here, in a perfectly situated Rome apartment, design duo Alvisi Kirimoto piled an antique bed with pillows by Vox Populi. A space-saving squiggly-legged nightstand by Maarten Baas provides extra punch.
Frame It Out
When it comes to your sleeping quarters, why not create a room-within-a-room with a striking four-poster bed? We love the barley twist version that designer Tatyana Miron Ahlers sourced for her chic Manhattan pad.
Nestle in a Nook
As we’ve reported earlier, built-in beds are having a moment. And, with their integrated storage, these cute compartments make the perfect space-savers too. Filmmaker Dorothy Berwin tapped Sandra Arndt of Studio AKTE to create this adorable custom children’s nook in her swank Manhattan home.
Find Space Where You Can
Sure, you might have a tiny bedroom, but is your footprint as small as this lighthouse? Rather than fight the quirky building’s tight geometries, designer Sally Mackereth found space where it was available and tucked one bedroom beneath a winding spiral staircase. Dare we say the look is shipshape?
Work Your Angles
An attic space needn’t feel dreary, as shown in this cozy Connecticut Colonial overhauled by Ryan Lawson. The designer tucked the bed below the slanted ceiling; he also assembled a group of lush plants at the lowest point to help avoid clunks on the noggin.
Craft a Creative Headboard
This bed, custom designed by Cochineal, might have one of our favorite headboards of all time. It brings a fresh, wavy look to this Manhattan bedroom—and directs your eye to the window to boot.
Curate Your Own Gallery
This pint-sized bungalow in Palm Beach might be a mere 800 square feet, but that didn’t stop architect Lee F. Mindel from maximizing the bedroom’s small footprint. The all-white paint job creates the illusion of space, while a set of antique watercolors draws your eye up and around the room.
Find a Stand-Out Nightstand
If you have space for just one bedside table, make sure it’s stylish enough to earn its keep. We love this burled Art Deco–style piece in designer Augusta Hoffman’s apartment in Manhattan’s East Village.
Go Over the Top
No space for a soaring four-poster bed? No problem! Create a canopy by hanging a boho tapestry on the wall and ceiling, à la Jean-Louis Deniot in his family’s French seaside retreat. The mini custom nightstands complete the look.
Try a Daybed
When a full-sized mattress just won’t fit, opt for a smaller daybed. We love how landscape architect Thomas Woltz slotted this elegant antique alongside a window in his Virginia Victorian.
Sometimes, it’s best to embrace your treasures. William Cullum, a senior designer at Jayne Design Studio, certainly did in the tiny-but-mighty 500-square-foot studio apartment he shares with his partner. His maximalist design ethos? “If we love it, we make it work.”
This happy twin bedroom in a Portuguese retreat designed by Jacques Grange is certainly cozy, but the decorator maximized space with not one but two shelves: one doubles as a nightstand above the bed, while the other displays whimsical flea-market finds at ceiling height.
The Dark Side
Contrary to popular belief, dark colors can make a small space appear larger. Colony’s Jean Lin used a deep, inky blue in this travel-inspired apartment.
As the old saying goes, opposites attract. When tasked to design this apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Danielle Colding embraced her bold streak with an orange bed from Design Within Reach and offsetting blue accessories.
A Bold Bed
Just because your bedroom is small doesn’t mean it has to be boring. San Francisco–based designer Antonio Martins added an 18th-century Portuguese Bilros bed to this guest room in his home. While the intricate carved posts are eye-catching, the negative space of the canopy keeps the room from feeling claustrophobic.
Pretty and Pragmatic
To give a statement bed a practical edge, take a cue from Thomas Hamel, who flanked this Fortuny fabric–clad canopy with tall cabinets.
If you want to enjoy your small bedroom beyond those eight glorious sleeping hours, add a perch. For his room with a view in Milan, Dimorestudio’s Emiliano Salci placed this small chair in front of his bedroom’s casement window.
Layer Your Lighting
Up your small bedroom’s cozy factor with warm, layered lighting. In a Madrid bedroom, designer Isabel López-Quesada paired a reading sconce with a classic table lamp.
Make the Most of Monochrome
For a low-effort way to make a big impact, stick with a monochromatic color palette. In this apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Tom Scheerer used a soft blue throughout to make his clients feel as if they’re floating on cloud nine.
Get Creative With Your Ceilings
When decorating your small bedroom, it’s important to make the most of every available space—even your ceiling. In Srila Chatterjee and Mahesh Mathai’s Mumbai apartment, the couple punctuated the pitched ceilings of this attic guest room with artwork.
In his French weekend home, the late designer François Catroux turned the main bedroom into a serene oasis by juxtaposing warm neutrals with a splash of blue. This space features a custom bed draped in Bernard Thorp fabric and collages by Yves Saint Laurent.
Push the Limits
In this Bay Area abode, Nicole Hollis made the most of this small children’s bedroom by pushing the custom-designed bunk beds and cabinets up against facing walls.
Want to make a real statement in your small bedroom? Swap out an accent wall for a serene mural, as designer Nebihe Cihan did in this London apartment.
Embrace the Old
Give your small bedroom an otherworldly edge with some vintage pieces. In this Malibu hacienda, designer Steven Gambrel offset a 19th-century Spanish bed with an Annie Selke coverlet and a rug from J&D Oriental Rugs Co.
Studio Apartment Excellence
Creating a stylish sleep area in a studio apartment is no small feat. But in this Manhattan setup, designer Charlie Ferrer rose to the challenge with a custom bed by Robert Stilin, an Hermès blanket, and bedding by Anichini Linens.
Consider the bedroom in this home on the coast of Uruguay the perfect blend of form and function. A dainty mosquito net hangs from a wall bracket that swings over a charmingly ornate bed—it’s a practical finishing touch for an all-white bedroom.
Mix and Match
Why settle for one pattern when you can enjoy a few? Designer Hubert Zandberg decked out this de Le Cuona–clad canopy bed with various patterns. The secret to this style move is sticking with a consistent color palette, as Zandberg did in this Tuscan villa.
As the old adage goes, the devil is in the details. The creative couple who lives in this Milan abode sprung for a bed frame with handblown glass finials for a subtle statement. Rounding out the room is a mohair blanket from South Africa as well as bedding and a lamp from Zara.
Transform your small bedroom from crammed to cozy with a hefty dose of texture. In this apartment on Manhattan’s Park Avenue, designer Samuel Amoia used plaster panels to create the illusion of suede walls.
For entertainment executive Kent Belden’s Hamptons guest bedroom, designer Brigette Romanek incorporated a black-and-white-striped accent wall, a Poltrona Frau bed, and a B&B Italia nightstand.
A grasscloth wallcovering by Kravet serves as the foundation for this gender-neutral twin bedroom design by Sabrina Albanese. To complement the look, the designer outfitted the space with bed frames and a nightstand by CB2 along with bedding by St. Geneve Linens and Ralph Lauren.
Designer Alessandra Branca went for a Moroccan-inspired guest bedroom in a 1910s mansion in Chicago. Window coverings and bed curtains in a custom Bennison fabric add to the room’s cocoon-like feel. The George IV bedside table features inlaid brass and mother-of-pearl, and the table lamp is late-19th-century English.
Modern Beach Look
A Miami Beach getaway designed by Lee F. Mindel is a lesson in decorating with color. Benjamin Moore’s vibrant Cool Aqua pairs well with headboard, in a Link Textiles fabric, along with pops of crisp white. to finish the look, Mindel settled on custom bedding by E. Braun & Co., Oluce lamps from MSK Illuminations, and Design Within Reach nightstands.
Colorful, oversized artwork by Vik Muniz inject personality into a child’s bedroom, featuring a bed by Meridiani with sheets by the Company Store. Delphine Krakoff, the designer of the space, finished the look with a soft pink cashmere throw from Williams Sonoma, and a side table by Pinto Guillemin Voisin for Ligne Roset.
Trompe L’Oeil Striped Tent
The trompe l’oeil striped tent—hand-painted by decorative artist Deborah Phillips—lends a contemporary edge to this Ken Fulk–designed guest room. Linens by Schweitzer and a photograph of model Cheryl Tiegs by Anne Collier enhance the design scheme.
To make his Connecticut attic bedroom feel luxe, designer Christian Siriano added several light fixtures throughout the space. A combination of white walls, whitewashed floors, and white bedding make for a cozy atmosphere.
Cozy Penthouse Bedroom
From an eye-catching collection of paintings to an 18th-century Italian mirror, thoughtful accessories steal the show in this Greenwich Village bedroom. The bed, featuring antique French linens, is upholstered in a neutral striped fabric by Robert Kime. The side table is 18th-century English, the lantern is 19th-century Indian, and the walls are in Farrow & Ball’s Off-White.
In a prewar New York City apartment, a rich sapphire wall accentuates the expansiveness of a relatively small master. Osborne and Little’s butterfly pattern upholstery—seen on the lampshades and chair—inspired the bedroom’s overall color scheme. The custom headboard in a Schumacher fabric is flanked by hand-painted vintage Korean chests; the settee at the end of the bed is vintage and custom upholstered.
In this Brooklyn Heights apartment, a West Elm dresser is repurposed as a roomy nightstand to house bouquets, books, and beauty products.
In a guest room in a sunny bungalow on the Adriatic coast, a purple accent wall takes center stage along with a headboard designed from a woven screen from Burundi. Adding to the interesting textiles in the space are a bedcover of a West African kente cloth and an Indonesian floor mat.
A wall-mounted bedside table in the bedroom of designer Raquel Garcia makes sure every square inch is used, allowing a little extra room for a showpiece custom headbaord.
In the master bedroom of this West Village apartment , the bed and side tables are custom designs, the walls are sheathed in a custom grass cloth by Work + Sea, and the sconces are by Jason Koharik.
Light it Up
In a Canadian lakehouse, the guest bedroom’s custom bed is by Sabrina Albanese Interiors, the bedside table is by Made Goods, the art is by David Edwards from Saatchi Art, and the light fixture is by Found Vintage.
The High Life
An incredibly tall canopy in gray linen with Samuel & Sons trim highlights the vertical space in the master bedroom of this renovated 400-square-foot East Village apartment. The coverlet is in a Miles Redd fabric for Schumacher, and the carpet is by Stark.
Warm White Bedroom
The beam-ceilinged master bedroom of Amanda Seyfried’s rustic Catskills retreat includes a Restoration Hardware bed, a bench from Gilt, and a rug from ABC Carpet & Home. The pendant light is by &tradition, and the beadboard walls are painted in Ammonite by Farrow & Ball.
Bold, Graphic Bedroom
For a graphic punch that’s still playful, one petite bedroom of this kid-friendly Manhattan duplex features a bed by DucDuc and a womb chair by Knoll.
Breezy White Bedroom
Light-catching white makes the small guest bedroom of this San Miguel de Allende, Mexico retreat feel open and airy. The four-poster bed is custom, and interior designer/owner Rela Gleason painted her mother’s vintage vanity table white; the basket is from Oaxaca and the throw is an antique suzani.
Spanish supermodel Eugenia Silva’s breezy Portuguese beach house features clean white walls with bold accents of color. The beds in one guest room are topped with crocheted-cotton coverlets from Bulgaria, the wall hanging is Portuguese, and the multi-colored tile floor is original to the house.
For a Silicon Valley family’s woodland retreat—sans the rustic implications of a cabin in the woods—architect Cynthia Wang and designer Jamie Bush conjured a completely new take on the country house that brings urban cool to Sierra, Nevada. The minimally-decorated bedrooms feature built-in wooden closets and a desk to keep from eating into the floorspace with hefty furnishings.
In the bedroom of textile-designer Kathryn M. Ireland’s Santa Monica home, a Barley Twist bed is topped with Indian bedding from her collection. The pillows and curtains are in her fabrics, the chair is by Sika Design, the lamp is from Hollywood at Home, and the rug is by Woven.
Retail guru Jeffrey Kalinsky’s West Village townhouse maximizes the impression of space by keeping the use of color low to the floor in the master bedroom. A bed by Christopher Ostafin and a 1990s bench by Campion Platt fill out the space along with a circa-1950 chair by Illum Wikkelso from Hostler Burrows.
Artsy Lilac Bedroom
In the master bedroom of this colorful Upper West Side apartment, a Hästens bed is dressed in linens by Sferra and Olatz, the circa-1970 side tables are by Milo Baughman, and the lamp is by Taylor; the walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Cinder Rose, and the photographs are by Marsha Lebedev Bernstein.
In the master bedroom of this San Francisco art dealer’s warehouse-turned-apartment, the broad headboard is covered in a Rogers & Goffigon fabric, the bed linens are by Sue Fisher King, the bedspread is antique Belgian linen, the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Super White, and the artwork is by Joan Mitchell.
For her youngest daughter’s little room in their redesigned Cape Cod home, interior designer Raquel Garcia wanted to create a cozy, nestlike feel with peachy printed wallpaper. “I call it her nest because it feels like little birds decorated it.”
In a contemporary farmhouse in Los Angeles, the petite Italian seashell bed came from the owners’ former house in Europe, the mirrored side table is from JF Chen, and the chandelier was found on 1stdibs.
Bright, Airy Bedroom
An intimate guest room in the poolhouse of a 19th-century farmhouse contains a John Himmel bed dressed in Schweitzer Linen bedding, a Swedish painted chest and a rug by Restoration Hardware; the matchstick Roman shades are custom.
Sleek Alcove Bed
Tucked into a tidy alcove in Steven Gambrel’s Art Deco apartment, this custom bed is upholstered in a Zimmer + Rohde fabric, while the houndstooth pillows are in a Holland & Sherry fabric, and the 1950s sconces are by Ignazio Gardella.
In John Robshaw’s country home, the cozy guest room’s headboard, bedding, and curtain fabrics are all by Robshaw, and the walls are painted in Dark Lime by Benjamin Moore.
In Ninni Ryott’s diminutive rural cabin, a tiny sleeping loft is fitted with a bedside stool from Åhléns, and the white linseed-oil paint on the walls is by Kulturhantverkarna Färg.
Poster Bed In Paris
In the guest bedroom of a Paris apartment, the custom forged-iron bed frame is finished in gold leaf and is dressed with pillows in Robert Normand and Lelièvre fabrics. The light fixture is a 1940 plaster bird sculpture, and the curtains are of a Pierre Frey chintz and Dedar fabric.
Inside a historic house in upstate New York, the gray-and-white guest room downstairs makes a case for the less-is-more approach. The bed is dressed in linens by Matteo, the side chair was found in India and the stool is from Dennis & Leen. The lithograph is by Joan Miró.
In Northern France, the daybed in this guest room is Louis XVI, and is the perfect, small-space alternative to a large bed frame. The side table in the same style is from the 19th century.
The custom bed in this Oakland, California guest room is a sleek twin size, maximizing floor space without sacrificing comfort. The linens are by Ralph Lauren Home, the floor lamp is by Original BTC, the rug is Persian, and the glitter-on-canvas artwork is by René Garcia, Jr.
All-Over Pattern Bedroom
In a tight guest bedroom in Paris, the custom day-bed, walls and curtains are in Pierre Frey fabrics. French doors flood the space with natural light, making it feel larger.
Cathedral Ceiling Bedroom
In a young couple’s monochromatic Swedish home, the master bedroom blends white and cool brown for a color scheme that makes the petite space feel more open and airy. The bed is by Hästens, and the lamp and stool are vintage.
Sleek Sleigh Bed
The 18th-century sleigh bed in the master bedroom of a Paris pied-a-terre is covered in a Travers fabric; the 17th-century Italian wall sconce is from Galerie Sylvain Lévy- Alban.
In art and furniture dealer Ralph Pucci’s Long Island beach house, a guest bedroom is characterized by whispers of gray and blue, which give the small space some big personality. Thebed is dressed in bedding by , and a Bertoia chair is paired with a vintage Indonesian desk. The photograph is by .
Bathroom And Bedroom All-In-One
In a couple’s 19th-century villa high in the hills on the isle of Capri, even the home’s smaller spaces offer an easygoing, contemporary retreat. In the tiny guest room, an installation of porcelain roses is by Art et Floritude. The marble tub is antique, and the floor is paved with travertine tiles.
Naturally Lit Attic Bedroom
Ceramist Amanda Moffat’s Brooklyn townhouse has a big dose of personality with saturated colors, intricate patterns, and an array of treasured heirlooms, and the attic bedroom is no exception. The Louis Vuitton trunk in the attic bedroom belonged to Moffat’s mother, the bed is dressed in Coyuchi linens, the 19th-century chair is from John Derian and the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White.
Two Twin Beds
New York City-based decorator Alex Papachristidis designed two twin beds, upholstered in a Mokum fabric, for the charming guest room in his London apartment. The side table is by John Dickinson.
Matching Coverlet and Wallpaper
In the historic 19th-century London house of Milan-based design duo,, a small guest bedroom’s headboard, bed skirt, coverlet, and wall covering are all of the same Braquenié cottons. The pillows are covered with 19th-century Fez broderie.
Fabric-Covered Guest Bedroom
In Brazilian architect and designer Sig Bergamin’s Paris home, an 18th-century fabric fragment hangs above the guest-room bed. The chair is Indian and the wall is upholstered in a cotton by.
Qing Dynasty Bed
In designers Amy and Todd Hase’s Hamptons home, a tiny guest room is turned into a grand experience by way of an elaborately carved and gilded Qing dynasty wedding bed.
Bold Printed Bedroom
In the compact guest bedroom of a London townhouse, hotelier and designer Kit Kemp used a black-and-white Brunschwig & Fils toile de Jouy for the walls, canopy, pillows, and bedding, adding texture while maintain a clean, monochromatic color scheme. The artwork is by Dick Bixby, and the faux-shagreen table is Kemp’s own design.
A Rose Tarlow Melrose House fabric drapes the custom-made bed in the master bedroom of this Cape Cod cottage, making the small room seem a tad grander.
A quaint study area and two small beds fit perfectly in the guest room of this Virginia Tupker-designed carriage house. The curtains are of acotton and the rug is a vintage Indian dhurrie. The custom beds are dressed with spreads from .
Fresh Patterned Bedroom
In this Southhampton cottage, fashion designer Lorry Newhouse saturated the walls in whimsical patterns. The wallpaper in the bedroom and the fabric for the chair, bed skirts and curtains are by Rose Cumming. The coverlet and shams are byand the prints and mirror are Victorian.
Earthy tones make two New York designers’ Marrakech riad feel cozy rather than cramped. The master bedroom’s rug was found in a souk. The bed is dressed with a blanket and linens byand pillow shams by , the floor lamps are by and the drawing is by .
Treasure Trove Bedroom
A New York collector fills his bedroom with eye-catching items, lending excitement to every corner of the little space. The bedroom’s rug is from, the crewel bedspread was bought in a thrift shop and the English tufted-leather chest was found on . The French lantern is from .
A light palette visually opens up the small master bedroom of Paris fashion star Andrew Gn’s Right Bank apartment. The 1950s rug is Swedish, the custom-made nightstands are by Benoit Langlade, and 1970s lamps flank the bed. The coverlet is by Le Rideau de Paris and the armchair is Danish.
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