If you have a small space that feels cramped and uncomfortable, it’s probably because you haven’t maximized the space. Let’s work on a space planning project, so you can get an idea on how to do it for your own space.
Recently, I wrote a post about measuring spaces. In the post, you’ll get step-by-step instructions on how to take these measurements easily. Measuring your room is an important beginning step when planning to decorate a space. After I measure a space, the space planning begins…
(I would love for you to pin this image!)
Space Planning Tips for Small Bedrooms:
- After taking measurements of your space and furniture, make note of existing furniture that will stay and additional furniture that needs to be added.
- Brainstorm and sketch different layouts of furniture and keep in mind that many pieces come in different sizes, i.e.: desks, tables, ottomans, beds.
- Allow for at least a bed, dresser (or chest of drawers), chair, and set of bedside tables to provide major functions of a bedroom.
- Think of unconvential places to place furniture to maximize space. For example, if you need to fit a desk in the bedroom, but the space is tiny, try placing your desk next to your bed and having it work double duty as your bedside table.
- Furniture must have ample clearance between it and other furniture, walls, windows, and doors. Find what’s comfortable to you, but you don’t want drawers bumping into other furniture when opened.
- Doors should be able to open all the way, and not be constricted by furniture or other items in a room.
- For maximum comfortability, you should allow for, at minimum, 12″ on the least used side of a bed, and at least 22″ on the other side.
- 22″ is a good clearance for major circulation path (ex: from room door to bed).
So, now it’s time to plan the layout of the furniture (and lighting, if it’s an issue) of a space. Below are the before pictures of a client’s rented small, shared bedroom.
As you can see, the room is VERY small. 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 matches the headboard. We could save so much space by switching to a Full bed, but since my client shares the room with her husband, 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. She’s also willing to part with the chest of drawers, but would like to keep the dresser and wants at least one bedside table.
So, I took my measurements and pondered over the different ways I could make this space work for them and came up with four different options.
As you can see from the current layout above, the space isn’t maximized well. There is space between the bed and window that isn’t being used and the right side of the dresser has only 8″ of clearance to open.
Below are the four alternate options I presented to my client:
This option could work. I’ve kept the bed in the same location, just removed the headboard, which frees up the space between the window and bed .This makes it able to center the dresser on the window. There is over 1′ of clearance between the dresser and bed to open up the drawers. There is also 3′ x 2 1/2′ of space between the bed and window wall, giving ample space to add another small piece of furniture, like a small ottoman (not shown) that can be moved around the room as needed. If you notice, in this option I’ve added a small, round bedside table so that a lamp could be placed atop. It’s close to the door, but there is still enough room to open the door all the way. Since there is so much open space left, a small chair (not shown) could also be added in the spot that the chest of drawers used to be.
Potential problems with option 1:
- Client doesn’t want the bed tucked in a corner anymore.
- It may not look as if anything has actually changed.
Here you can see that I’ve rotated the bed along the same two walls that there were on before. This option provides a lot more clearance between the bed and dresser and there is still ample walk-through space coming through the door. The dresser is still centered at the window, giving much needed space in front of the closet to access clothes, and a bedside table is able to fit next to the bed. A corner shelving system (not shown) could be utitized in the corner between the table and dresser for extra storage.
Potential problems with option 2:
- There isn’t much room for a chair or any additional seating.
- The bed is still in a corner; my client doesn’t want to put her bed in the corner.
This option is very different from the ones before. 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, but you have to walk through 1 1/2′ of space to get to the other side. It’s not a lot of walkthrough space, but it’s definitely a lot more than she has in the current layout. Having the dresser on this wall, opposed to in front of the window, gives us wall space to put a mirror, and shelving for more storage. Since the closet doors both slide, it’s possible to fit another bedside table with this layout.
Potential problems with option 3:
- There’s not enough space to put additional seating.
- My client may not feel comfortable with the bed being at the window.
- This layout gives up “free play” space (open space) that the previous options had.
- The space between the bed and closet could only be used for walking through, not much more.
This option 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. I can still add floating shelves atop the dresser. This layout also provides space for a couple of small ottomans or a small bench to be placed at the foot of the bed. Even a bookshelf could be placed between the window and closet.
Potential problems with option 4:
- 1′-4 1/2″ of clearance between the bed and dresser could work, but my client may not want to squeeze through the space everyday. It may seem like a hassle to her.
So, what do you think about these space planning tips? Do you think that either of these layouts help maximize my client’s space? Why or why not? I’d love to know how you feel… be sure to drop a comment below!
Did you like this post? If so, please share it! I would also LOVE for you SUBSCRIBE to the newsletter. You’ll get loads of great decor tips and tricks, be in the know of fun new contests/giveaways, and you’ll get all the latest blog posts delivered directly to your inbox. There won’t be any spam… pinky swear! Just enter your email address in the box at the top of the right sidebar.