August 26, 2013

Four Options for Space Planning a Small Bedroom

A small bedroom can be really hard to decorate, many times because you don’t know where to first put your furniture. This is why space planning is so important. When starting ANY decorating project, it’s extremely important to take measurements of the space first, so you can efficiently space plan. One of my most popular posts to date is all about how to measure spaces. In the post, you’ll get step-by-step instructions on how to easily take measurements.

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So, after I measure a space, the space planning begins. I’m going to walk you through the space planning of a small bedroom project I worked on in the past. If you want to see the mock design board I created for this space plan, click here.

Here are before photos:

space planning a small bedroom

As you can see, this is a VERY small bedroom. There’s not a lot of space for any other furniture besides the bed and a dresser. Right now, there’s a Queen bed with headboard, a painted dresser, and a small chest of drawers that match the headboard. We could save so much space by switching to a Full bed, but for my client, a Queen bed is necessary.

The current headboard is at least 10″ deep, taking up valuable space in the room, so I suggested that we get another. My client is open to changing out all the furniture, but prefers a dresser over a chest of drawers. She’s also hoping for a mirror and a chair.

So, I took my measurements and came up with four different ways I could make this space work.

Original layout:

space planning a small bedroom
With the current layout, the space isn’t maximized well. There’s space between the bed and window that isn’t being used and the right side of the right set of drawers are hard to get into.

Below are four different options (I sometimes call them furniture plans) that I came up with:

Space Plan Option 1:

space planning a small bedroom


This option could work. I kept the bed in the same location, just removed the headboard, which frees up the space between the window and bed. This option lets me center the dresser on the window. There is over one foot of clearance between the dresser and bed to open up the drawers.

If you notice, in this option I’ve added a small, round bedside table so that a lamp could be placed on top. It’s close to the door, but there is still enough room to open the door all the way.

Space Plan Option 2:

space planning a small bedroom


In this layout, I’ve rotated the bed along the same two walls that they were on before. This option provides a lot more clearance between the bed and dresser.

Again, the dresser is centered at the window, giving much needed space in front of the closet to access clothes. In this layout, a bedside table is able to perfectly fit next to the bed. Notice I used a small round one, but you can also go with a larger nightstand with drawers (or shelves) for extra storage.

If I would take the dresser off center and push it closer to the wall by the table, we could fit a small chair by the closet.

Space Plan Option 3:

space planning a small bedroom


This option is very different from the first two. The bed is now centered at the window, facing you as you walk in the door. The bed can now be accessed from both sides. It’s not a lot of walk-through space, though, and would probably be a hassle getting to the other side.

Having the dresser on this wall, opposed to in front of the window, gives us wall space to hang a mirror, and/or shelving for more storage. We couldn’t do this above the dresser in either of the other two layouts.

Space Plan Option 4

space planning a small bedroom


This layout is actually my favorite. The bed is on the wall opposite the closet. A bedside table can fit on the side of the bed by the window, and the dresser can still fit on the wall opposite the window. Floating shelves and a mirror can be added above the dresser, to complete a beautiful vignette for getting pretty (or handsome) in the morning.

Space Planning Tips for Small Bedrooms:

I hope getting a peek into my space planning thinking process helps you out with your own small bedroom. If you need help with space planning a troublesome room, visit my services page. Sign up for my newsletter for updates on new blog posts.

This project was my space planning package, so I didn’t do any actual decorating for this client, only the 4 space planning options you saw in this post. Click here to see a mock design board for this room.

[disclaim]If you’d like to learn my step-by-step process to decorating a room, join my virtual decorating workshop.[/disclaim]

What layout would you choose for this space? I’d love to know. Leave me a comment below!


89 comments so far.

89 responses to “Four Options for Space Planning a Small Bedroom”

  1. Love this post! My bedroom is shared with my “office” and is a tiny space so I plan on using these tips:)
    Jamie@ They Call Me A Hippie recently posted…When You Can’t Find the Words to WriteMy Profile

    • Whitney says:

      I’m glad you find these tips useful, Jamie!! Thanks for popping over!


      • Wendy says:

        Hi I’m Wendy.. Do you think it’s okay to put a dresser with mirror in front of a window?

        • Whitney says:

          Hi Wendy! Sorry for the late response. I don’t like putting anything in front of a window unless it’s absolutely necessary. Is there anyway to detach the mirror from the dresser and maybe put a floor mirror or wall mirror on the wall next to the window?

  2. Kita says:

    Do they need the end table? I would get rid of the end table and push the bed over a little more so there is more room to open the dressers and use the dresser as an end table put a lamp on that. Don’t mind me though I am no decorator on any skill level lol.
    Kita recently posted…Fathers do more than just provideMy Profile

  3. Kirsten says:

    Option 4 provides the most space. Yes, that headboard is a space waster. Looks good!

  4. Wow, trying to figure these things out stress me out LOL But I do love your diagrams!
    Kristen from The Road to Domestication recently posted…Stoked About South Beach!My Profile

  5. Bev says:

    Hi Whitney, having looked at the four options you posted, may I make a suggestion. I would get rid of the dresser, and rather place a shelf below the mirror. since there is a closet, I’m assuming the room doesn’t necessarily need the drawers.

    • Whitney says:

      That’s a good suggestion! My client really wants the dresser since it has been handed down from her grandmother. She doesn’t know how old it it, but it means a lot to her. She painted it herself (it still needs some work), so she wants to make sure it’s part of the design. Also, the closet is rather small, and since she shares the room with her husband, some sort of drawers are definitely needed in the room to maximize storage.


  6. Ruth Hill says:

    What can I say? You did an amazing amount of work went into this post, and you have done more work than I ever dreamed of doing. We have recently had to maximize space in our small bedrooms, and I was amazed at what some simple changes did. I doubt I would go to all this work because I am not much of an artist, and there weren’t a lot of options, but I’ve got to hand it to you!
    Ruth Hill recently posted…“Photography For Kids” By Michael Ebert and Sandra Abend Book ReviewMy Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Thanks Ruth! I really appreciate the comments, how sweet! I work hard on my space planning layouts for clients, because creating a new space plan can make the biggest impact in a space. I also have a lot of fun figuring out the different options to present to clients.


  7. Scarlett says:

    Reading your post makes me feel like I’m in HGTV and that old Designer’s Challenge show. Love your layouts. I liked Option 1 and 4. Since the space is small, I assume extra storage space is important. 4 is my favorite, with a space that small, I can’t see adding seating. Personally I would feel cramped to lounge about the space (not in bed). The bookcases and shelves would be a good add and a large mirror might make the space look larger.
    Scarlett recently posted…Heirloom CookingMy Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Thanks for the lovely comment, Scarlett! I definitely pride myself on trying to find the best options for a client’s small space issue! It’s fun, too!


  8. beingomma says:

    We have one room in particular that just doesn’t work no matter how many ways I try the furniture. Great post – I have some encouragement to keep at it till I get it just right for our needs.

  9. Sandra says:

    How about a over the bed shelf on wheels, no end table. I mean these big ones which go from one side over the other, so you can push it at the foot end and watch tv, pull it closer and use it as a desk to write on it or push it in the room to use as a table…
    Is there an option to put hanging shelves inside the closet to get rid of that dresser or as mentioned above use the dresser as nightstand.
    Sandra recently posted…Wednesday#2My Profile

    • Whitney says:

      These are all amazing ideas! I haven’t seen the over the bed shelf in a long time, so I’ve forgotten about it. I’m definitely going to look for one to add as an option to my client. Thanks!


  10. Kecia says:

    I think I like option 3 best, though it does remove a lot of the open floor space. However, it seems to be the one that best fits the furniture needed in the small area.

    Our bedroom has furniture that is way too large for it, so we have had to move things around a couple times to get the most out of the space we have.
    Kecia recently posted…Alphie the Squid App Review & GiveawayMy Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Thanks for stopping by. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all bought our furniture after we had the home? That way we could make sure all our pieces would fit and we can space plan beforehand.


  11. Brian says:

    Great plans! Very creative. When we are out serving, there are 8 of us in a motorhome…wish you could create more space in there for us!!! Many blessings to you.

    • Whitney says:

      Thanks for stopping by! That’s a wonderful idea, I wish I had such a blessed oportunity to help you guys out with space in a shared motorhome. I want nothing more than our service men and women to be as comfortable as possible.


  12. I’m not good at visualizing spaces, but I love the layouts show how it will be with the furniture placed in. I think I like #4 the best.
    Sarah @ HelpMeet Your Goals recently posted…On goal setting and habit formationMy Profile

  13. This is such a great way to plan a space! I love the pictures and wish I was that talented! In our house, we have to have access on both sides of the bed in our room, the hubbs would not have it any other way! Plus my ocd likes things centered and symmetrical as much as possible- we have a lot to resolve lol!
    Michelle @ Delicate Construction! recently posted…DIY Soccer Banner TutorialMy Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Thanks for dropping by! I completely understand, I have to have symmetry, too!! But, sometimes with small spaces we have to try and forget what our mind tells us, lol.


  14. Tiffany H says:

    You did a great job here. I think #4 is the best option, but knowing me I would change it all the time anyway. I love doing this kind of thing too-rearranging for space or convenience or just aesthetics. What a fun blog. 🙂
    Tiffany H recently posted…10 Delicious Pumpkin Recipes for FallMy Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Thanks so much, Tiffany!
      I love rearranging, too. I typically get bored with a layout, so space planning is one of my favorite parts of designing a space!

  15. I think I like the bed under the window the best, but the last option works well too. I’m sure whatever you do will look great though 🙂
    Erin @ My Mommy World recently posted…Enter to win Kid-Friendly Tablet Accessories from KiteReaders and get a Free eBook!My Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Thanks Erin! I usually don’t like the bed under the window (personally, since I’m scared to sleep under a window), but I do think that it works for my client.


  16. Ryan says:

    I like design number 4. It’s got the best “flow.” I’ve gotbtwo boys in a shared bedroom, and will use your tips to maximize their space. They could use the help!
    Ryan recently posted…Experiment with Exposure – SilhouettesMy Profile

  17. Yolanda says:

    Wow, you have a great eye for functional layouts and trouble shooting. Thanks for sharing. I live in a small space, so this will be a great resource.

  18. Wendy says:

    I say option 4.

    Here is a suggestion. (I hope I am not stepping on your toes.). Sometimes with small spaces, we need to think outside the box. If she wants to keep the dresser, she could try repurposing it for some other function…entertainment center, behind the sofa as a sofa table, at the entry for a landing zone for keys might be some alternative uses. By moving the large dresser out of the bedroom that frees up a lot of floor space in a small room.

    Some storage ideas for the bedroom could be a smaller scale dresser. But, I actually like the idea of using drawers under the bed for the needed bedroom storage. They could even build up the bed using multiple, two drawer units stacked. They might be able to find a cabinet maker willing to construct these, or even retrofit something from Ikea.

    Great job inspiring your clients!
    Wendy recently posted…10 Tips for RemodelingMy Profile

  19. Martini says:

    I love the 4th option best of all. I don’t like my bed stuck in the corner…but I’m OCD and always rearranging so id change it up every few months or maybe weeks…lol

  20. pam russo says:

    All of your recommendations are good common sense tips. No one wants to feel cramped in their personal space so I love the way you offered alternate layouts for the space. For me, I love to follow Feng Shui when arranging a room.

  21. Peggy says:

    This a great way to think of how to rearrange rooms. I don’t need it but my son’s family does. Two girls share a room. They are try to get one out of a crib but are not sure how to set up the room after that. I think some graph paper and drawings will really help them think it out. Thank you for the idea of drawing it out instead of just moving the furniture or talking about it.
    Peggy recently posted…Share Your World – 2013 Week 31My Profile

  22. You definitely showed that there are many options to laying out a room. Making the best of small spaces is an art and you have many good ideas.
    Norma Kay Lawson Neal recently posted…Almost ParadiseMy Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Hey Norma,
      I completely agree with you about laying out a room being an art. It’s definitely an art to me. The funny thing is while I came up with these four options, another designer can come up with four more depending on his/her style, expertise, and budget. The sky is the limit when trying to maximize space. There’s space saving furniture and other solutions I could have used if the budget would have allowed it.


  23. Rant Relief says:

    I like that you showed the photos of the different design possibilities. I am a very visual person, so it made it a lot easier to see what you were talking about.
    Rant Relief recently posted…A Boat For ChristmasMy Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Thanks a lot. I get that a lot from people. They want to “see” it instead of someone trying to just explain it to them. I try to be that person that can show better than tell. I hope my clients receive it the way you have.


  24. Lynnette N. says:

    Thank you for these tips Whitney! Living in a big city, it is truly important for me to utilize every square inch properly. This is a great post with great ideas!
    Lynnette N. recently posted…Eat Candy for BreakfastMy Profile

    • Whitney says:

      You need to get with me if you’re having space issues. I love working with small spaces. City living is awesome, but you have to give up space. 🙁


  25. eschelle says:

    i tried to have my boys share a room but htey just would not go to sleep, too young i guess lol. Thankfully we found something larger for just a small amount more money so we got really lucky. we also live in an apartment that is uber expensive compared to most places in the world… in Vancouver bc so i pay rent on this when i could be paying rent on a house somewhere i bet lol

    • Whitney says:

      Yes, sometimes it’s not feasible for two people to share a room. Understandable when they’re babies, so it was wise of you get a place that provided a comfortable space for your boys.


  26. I love all the awesome drawings you made for this! Usually I just draw it on paper and it is usually not accurate by any means. This is awesome though because of all the different ways you came up with placing everything! Thanks for sharing!
    Britney @ The Princess & Her Cowboys recently posted…Guest Post at Domestic SuperheroMy Profile

  27. Rachel says:

    I like #3. We are in the middle of rearranging my son’s room for his big boy bed while keeping the crib for baby #2 due in December. Only 1 configuration really works so far based on how big that darn corvette bed is my husband insists our toddler needs. Do men ever grow up 🙂 Your plans are making me think through it more. Great post.
    Rachel recently posted…Roasted Chickpea saladMy Profile

  28. Lindsey says:

    I may be moving into a smaller place soon, so your site will come in handy! I liked how you sketched and laid everything out on paper before hand – something I should really do in the future!
    Lindsey recently posted…Green Bachelorette BashMy Profile

  29. Chinky says:

    Nice ideas! It’s always challenging to maximize space! I think we can all use some help like these! Thanks! 🙂
    Chinky recently posted…Learn to teach, teach to learnMy Profile

  30. Patricia says:

    great post. My second bedroom is shared with my craft room. It is a daybed of sorts (well all the left of the daybed which is the trundle portion). since I do not have company (any company is my relatives and they stay with my parents when they come), so the bed can come down so I can have a full craft room, but that is subject for debate.
    Patricia recently posted…World Market: Store of the month: part 2-PillowsMy Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Hey Patrice,
      A past was having a hard time removing her twin guest bed out of her office, but it was taking up too much space. She swore that she would never have any company so I convinced her to remove the bed and get really good full/queen air mattress that can be set in the “office” if guests happen to arrive one day. Her desk can easily swivel to a wall and out the way making enough room for the bed. You should think about it.


  31. Emilee says:

    These are all great ideas! I think I would choose #3 if it were my room. Regardless, I am generally not good at coming up with ideas like this, so I found the whole post fascinating! We’re moving in a couple of weeks, so I’ll have to check out more of your site for tips! 🙂
    Emilee recently posted…Maggie Bags Giveaway (ends 10/1)My Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Thanks for stopping by and your lovely comment. I would love for you to drop by again. If you have any specific questions be sure to drop by my Ask Whitney J page and you can ask me anything!


  32. Ms. Nix says:

    Now this is something I could have used a few months ago when I was buying furniture for my youngest son’s room. However, you still have some good spacing tips. His room seems to be the smallest in the house but I want him to have enough space in his room so he doesn’t feel the need to be all over the house making a “space” for himself. I am thinking about repositioning the bed, as your post suggested, to give the room the appearance of being bigger. I love the post.
    Ms. Nix recently posted…PoliTalk: Mass Shootings – Is America Desensitized to Violence?My Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Hey Ms. Nix!
      Let me know if you need help with it. You may want to look into the loft beds. They work great in kids’ rooms and help maximize space in small bedrooms. I would love to help you find one that works for you!


  33. Sandra says:

    I also like the 4th layout the best. It gives the room a fresh new look and still has a good space to move around and dress in front of the closet. I enjoyed your clear explainations and diagrams.
    Sandra recently posted…What do your kids really want for dinner?My Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Having a comfortable bedroom to dress and move around in is very important for me. I always try to maximize space in small bedrooms to give them “free space” as an option. Thanks for dropping by!


  34. I really need to do some space planning in my daughter’s room. Her set up has been pretty much the same for the last 3 years, but her needs as far as that space goes have changed and I think we need to change with them. I’d really like to incorporate a loft bed for her. I think she’d love that.
    Jamie (Mama.Mommy.Mom.) recently posted…Lala-Oopsies: A Sew Magical Tale {DVD Review and Giveaway} #ENMNetwork (Sponsored)My Profile

  35. Interesting points! I always struggle with coming up with ways to maximize small spaces — the diagrams seem like a lot of work/measurements involved, but probably more effective in the long run. I’m curious, what tools did you use to map out/draw the furniture?
    Ana @MommysBundle recently posted…5 Signs Your Baby Has Become a ToddlerMy Profile

  36. Sylina says:

    Option 4 is basically how my room is set up. Working with small spaces makes rearranging difficult. Thanks for the tips!
    Sylina recently posted…Apple Cider Syrup RecipeMy Profile

  37. M@SSBD says:

    So, if you could come over and do my measurements and fix up my bedroom to be more efficient, that would be awesome. 😉

    • Whitney says:

      LOL! I would love to help!!! Where are you located? If you are outside of New Orleans, unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to come over but I can definitely look at your space and let you know some options you may take. Or, you can hire me for the E-Design of your bedroom. 🙂 Either way, shoot me an email at hello[at]whitneyjdecor[dot]com.


  38. Brandi says:

    I remember sharing a room with my sister growing up. Our room was small, which made it even worse. Have you seen the headboard decals available online. That might be another option for you to consider. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my table. Hope you have a great weekend.

  39. Stacey says:

    I like the 4th option. Great tips! I look forward to reading additional posts!

  40. […] in the week, I share how I did the space planning for my living room, like I did for a client in my first space planning post. Then, you’ll get to see the fabrics I’m choosing and some sketches to see what the […]

  41. Not saying says:

    For option 4 you could move bed further towards the wall and then move the end table to the other side then you have room for a chair and save space! The room will also look more roomy.
    Just a thought!

  42. Jeff says:

    take the doors off the closet & put the dresser in the closet. Also, get a cube of shelves from Ikea (Kallax?) and put on the wall where the dresser is. That’s what my wife & I did in our 10′ x 11′ bedroom and it works fine!

  43. Teeb says:

    What if in a slightly rectangular room, door and window is on the same wall and there’s also an inbuilt cupboard, where should be a queen sized bed, chairs and a baby crib should be placed??

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About Me

whitney j decor | whitney jones | new orleans interior designer | new orleans decorator | nola interior designer | nola decorator

I’m a self-proclaimed foodie with a love of all things HOME. I’m at my best when color & coffee is involved, but you can also bribe me with crawfish, bread pudding, and/or hibachi. New Orleans born and bred, it’s how I’ve learned to be confident in my use of unique patterns, bold color, and space planning when transforming my clients’ homes! Welcome to Whitney J Décor!

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