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.

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

Cons:
  • Bed in the corner. Can’t access both sides.
  • Not much room for a chair.
  • Dresser drawers still have little clearance. Still hard to access clothing.
  • Bottom right corner isn’t very easy to get to.
  • Can’t hang a mirror in front of the dresser (unless you want it in front of the window).

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

Cons:
  • Not much room for a chair.
  • Bed in the corner.

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

Cons:
  • No space for chair.
  • Bed in front of the window.
  • No open space. Room may feel a bit stuffy.
  • Still not a lot of clearance for dresser drawers.

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

Cons:
  • Not enough clearance around furniture.
  • Can’t fit in a chair.

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:

  • 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 unconventional 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).

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.

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

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83 comments on “Four Options for Space Planning a Small Bedroom”

  1. 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

    • That’s actually a good idea, are you talking about option 4? The problem is that she doesn’t want the bed too close to a corner and she really wants an end table, since she doesn’t have any right now.

      Whitney

  2. 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.

    • 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.

      Whitney

  3. 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

    • 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.

      Whitney

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

    • Sandra,
      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!

      Whitney

  7. 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

    • Kecia,
      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.

      Whitney

  8. 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.

    • Brian,
      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.

      Whitney

    • Michelle,
      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.

      Whitney

    • 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.

      Whitney

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

    • 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.

      Whitney

    • 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.

      Whitney

    • Lynnette,
      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. 🙁

      Whitney

  13. 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

    • 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.

      Whitney

  14. 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

  15. 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

    • 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.

      Whitney

  16. 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

    • Emilee!
      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!

      Whitney

  17. 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

    • 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!

      Whitney

    • Sandra,
      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!

      Whitney

    • 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.

      Whitney

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

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