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Video: Big ideas for small spaces

TODAY
updated 1/24/2007 10:46:13 AM ET 2007-01-24T15:46:13

On this segment of TODAY’s two-part series, “Big Ideas for Small Spaces,” we look at how to make the most of small bedrooms. Not only can decorating tips make your bedroom look bigger, but innovative storage solutions can help you make more open space. Elizabeth Mayhew, a lifestyle expert, was invited on TODAY to share her tips how to live large in small spaces. Here they are:

Many times, bedrooms leave us starved for storage — and small bedrooms are a particular challenge. As in any small room, keep the dimensions of your room in mind when buying furniture and reconsider buying that overstuffed "reading" chair that is just going to collect a week's worth of clothes. In general, look for furniture than can help you expand your storage options and keep them well-hidden, like a skirted table or bed skirt for a bed.  Also consider furniture that can multi-task —a desk can be a bedside table or a unit that can house your clothes as well as your electronics. With just a few simple ideas, you can live large in a small bedroom.

Stretch the space
In a small bedroom, chose either solid, neutral-colored carpeting that disappears in the room or one with horizontal stripes. Both widen a room and make it feel larger.
Rug $194, Dash and Albert

Come out of the closet
Most small bedrooms simply don't have enough closet space and your average dresser is either low and wide or tall and thin. Use this entertainment center for all-in-one storage. As an extra wardrobe, it's almost two feet higher than your tallest dresser, which maximizes the vertical space in a room. At only 18-inches deep, it takes up less floor space than your average dresser. It can also multi-task as a place for a TV, office files, or any overflow items. The canvas cover allows you to keep everything out-of-sight when it's not in use. Storing items in labeled boxes gives it an organized feel. Put out-of-season clothing on the upper shelves.
Canvas Entertainment Center $214, Container Store; Canvas Cover $69, Container Store; Pandan Box in Leaf Green $34.99 each, Container Store

Keep it hidden
A skirted bedside table is a great way to hide magazines, papers and books that can accumulate. The Terrific Trio Table from Ballard Designs actually has built in shelves to make storage easier.
Trio Table & Tablecloth $119, Ballard Designs

Use a bed skirt to hide storage bins under the bed. Keep out-of-season clothing or extra comforters in Space Bags, a vacuum-sealed storage system that reduces volume of soft-goods by up to 75 percent. You remove the air from the bag using a regular household vacuum, and store the bag away. Items are accessed through the zip-seal closure and the bags can be used over and over again.
Matine Toile Pleated Bed Skirt in Sprout $89, Pottery Barn; Space Bags $5.99 to $9.99, Container Store

Space saver
Free up bedside table space by attaching reading lights to the wall. Some people assume that your walls need to be hardwired to accommodate sconces, but many versions are available as plug-ins.
Adair Sconces in Polished Nickel $139 set of 2, Pottery Barn

Head's up
For small bedrooms do away with big bulky beds that have a foot board.  Small rooms are not the place for your sleigh bed — use headboards only.
Camden Untufted Headboard in White Duck $309, Ballard Designs

Keep it simple
Bed linens should be neat and simple.  Large patterns and bold colors draw too much attention to what is typically the bulkiest item in the room.
Matine Toile Pleated Bed Skirt in Sprout $89, Pottery Barn; Pearl Embroidered Sheet Set in Honeydew $89, Pottery Barn; Pickstitch Quilt in Leaf $179, Pottery Barn; Pickstitch Shams $29, Pottery Barn

Double duty
A small desk or convertible work station makes a smart choice for a bedside table. Hang a mirror above it and it can double as a dressing area.  Pair it with a acrylic chair and the chair disappears, taking up no visual space.
Jay Desk $199, West Elm; Jay Desk Hutch $99, West Elm; Louis Ghost Chair $334, The Conran ShopReflect beauty
Mirrors are a great way to make a room look and feel bigger just make sure that they reflect something pleasing like a window or painting; you don't want them to reflect a cluttered corner of your room.
Belladonna Round Mirror, $350, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

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