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How to decorate and organize a small bedroom, according to professionals

“If it’s a small space, you have to be super intentional about what you put in it. You can’t keep everything.”
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When facing a small bedroom, it can be tough trying to figure out how to design and organize it. Whether you already have ideas that feel too big for the space or you’re starting from scratch, Shop TODAY spoke to an interior designer and two professional organizers about how to bring a small bedroom to life without it feeling cramped.

Small bedroom design ideas, according to an interior designer

Megan Gorelick, owner of Delaware-based interior design firm Megan Gorelick Interiors, has designed and decorated her fair share of small bedrooms. She often works with these spaces in beach houses that have upwards of 10 rooms to accommodate large families and does her best to make sure each room still has personality, no matter how small.

Despite the smaller space to work with, Gorelick is a fan of choosing a bigger bed flanked by smaller nightstands — which she emphasized the importance of, especially if there are two people sharing the bed. “I’m not afraid of a little space between beds,” she told us. “I don’t think you need a lot of walkway space in a bedroom. I think it really should be a sleeping room so…if I can fit two queen beds in a room, I’ll do it.”

If you’re working on a small bedroom for younger kids, Gorelick likes to use bunk beds with a twin XL bed on top and a full or queen bed on the bottom so it can be used for years to come, no matter how big the kids get. “It's even great for high school kids when they have their friends over. Moving into college [is the] same thing; all the roommates come down [to visit]. Next thing you know, they’re getting married and then they have little kids and the cycle renews itself,” she said.

Gorelick recommends taking advantage of vertical space with tall dressers instead of short, wider ones. She likes to set two right next to each other and pair them with under bed storage organizers so that you have adequate space to hold all of your things.

Even if you have a small bedroom, that doesn’t mean there’s only space for furniture. Once you’ve picked out your core furniture pieces, Gorelick emphasizes the importance of having decor like a full-length decorative mirror or large wall art. If you don’t already have cushy flooring in the room, she recommends putting down a big rug or carpet that stretches almost the entire width of the space. “As long as you make it aesthetically [not] feel small, if you...layer the fabrics — I love an upholstered headboard — and if you make it cozy like that and you kinda cocoon it, it really becomes one of the favorite rooms in the house,” she said.

Design products for making the most of a small bedroom

Project 62 Over-the-Door Mirror

Gorelick isn't one to shy away from adding a full-length mirror into a small bedroom, she told us. This simple and stunning mirror from Project 62 can be easily hung over the door so you don't have to worry about ground space or making any damaging holes in the wall. It comes chic colors like brass and black.

Roomfitters Full-Length Mirror with Clothes Hooks and Racks

Another option for a full-length mirror is this option that also features hooks and racks for your clothes. It doubles as a decorative item and a convenient storage solution.

Millwood Pines Totnes Drawer Iron Nightstand

Since Gorelick emphasized how important it is to have not just one nightstand, but a matching pair, we searched for some smaller options that would work when duplicated in a small space. At its widest, this stand measures a little less than 16 inches wide and about 24 inches tall.

Zipcode Design Halie Tall Nightstand

If you're really pressed for space, this small but tall nightstand is less than 10 inches wide. It has just enough space to hold the essentials like your phone, an alarm clock and your favorite nightly read. The shelf on the bottom can also be used for additional storage.

Gracie Oaks Shalton Tall Solid Wood Floor Shelf End Table

Remember what we said about being pressed for space? This takes it to a whole new level. This narrow end table is just about six inches wide. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in storage compartments. It has an open storage container at the base, a smaller cubby on the side and two shelves. It's the perfect space for everything you need for the night.

Latitude Run Drawer Nightstand

Aside from just a place to hold all of your things for the night, nightstands can make great storage opportunities if you find the right one. This one has two drawers and a lifting table that reveals even more storage space! You can rest your laptop on top to comfortably watch movies in bed while storing things out of sight to keep your room looking tidy.

Prepac Astrid 6-Drawer Chest

After Gorelick stressed the importance of making the most of your vertical space, you're probably on the hunt for a proper tall dresser. Standing at 52 inches tall and 20 inches wide, this chest is ideal for smaller spaces. With six drawers, there's a spot for all of your things to lay comfortably.

Andover Mills Hayman 6-Drawer Lingerie Chest

If you've got a little more room, this chest is a bit taller and wider than the last. Available in four neutral colors, this white design with silver accents is perfect for a clean, classic look.

Small bedroom organization ideas, according to professional organizers

Once you’ve designed your small bedroom to your liking, it’s time to come up with proper storage solutions to keep it from looking cluttered. To do this, we sought out the advice of Amy Tokos, founder of Freshly Organized and president of the National Association of Professional Organizers, and Sharon Lowenheim, owner of New York City-based Organizing Goddess.

“One thing about a bedroom is knowing what you want the space to feel like,” Tokos told us. “If you are wanting it to feel calm, then you want less visible stuff so you can [add] shelving. But…you want to make sure that you have solid baskets so you can’t see all the stuff that you’re storing.”

Be smart when it comes to furniture and fixtures

Lowenheim takes a different approach to a small bedroom than Gorelick and suggests opting for the smallest bed possible. If just one person will be sleeping in the bed, she suggests a twin or a full bed, or a queen-sized bed for two people. However, similar to Gorelick, she recommends making the most of vertical space with tall furniture like dressers and bookcases.

While it might seem like a good idea in the moment, Lowenheim advises against putting exercise equipment in your room. “I’ve never seen a piece of exercise equipment that doesn’t have clothes hanging on it. No matter how enthusiastic about it you might be when you buy it, it will turn into a place to drape your clothes within a short amount of time,” she said. Instead, she recommends skipping the bulky equipment and using Command hooks around the space to hang clothes until you’re ready to put them away.

Tokos and Lowenheim recommend using a nightstand to provide additional storage — but the latter added that you only really need one if you’re a solo sleeper to save space. If you don’t have the room for a nightstand, she suggested investing in a bed headboard that has built-in cubbies. You could also put up shelves above or around the bed so you have a place to keep your alarm clock and phone throughout the night.

If you want a TV in your bedroom, Lowenheim proposes mounting it to the wall. This will prevent it from taking up space on a horizontal surface that can be used for storage. She has similar advice for lighting, which can also be mounted on the wall so you don’t have to worry about finding a flat surface for a table lamp.

Make the most of your space

In a small bedroom, using every space available is key. From inside the closet door to under bed storage, if you want to keep everything from looking and feeling cluttered, it’s important to use the space you have to the best of its ability. “If it’s a small space, you have to be super intentional about what you put in it. You can’t keep everything,” Tokos told us before adding that small bedrooms require you to be somewhat of a minimalist.

Aside from using hooks for hanging clothes like Lowenheim previously suggested, Tokos also recommends hooks for things like your bathrobe or bath towel if there’s not enough space in your bathroom to keep it in there.

Both organizers recommend using over the door shoe organizers for more than just shoes. “Any small things that you can corral together that you don’t have a good place to put can go into a shoe bin,” Lowenheim said.

Don’t let papers pile up

Whether you work from home in your bedroom or just find yourself bringing miscellaneous mail or receipts into your room, Lowenheim and Tokos advise against letting papers pile up in there. “Paper just has a tendency — it likes to congregate together. So it’ll make piles no matter what you do with it. In the middle of the night, it’ll creep together into a pile and then you’re stuck with an unkempt look in your bedroom,” Lowenheim joked.

To help combat these mysterious self-gathering piles, Lowenheim suggests choosing another area of the house as the place for sorting through mail and any other papers that make their way into your home. If that’s not possible, or if your work requires you to keep papers on hand, Tokos recommends using file boxes to keep them organized and the space looking neat.

Organization products for making the most of a small bedroom

Bigso Stockholm Paper Drawers

Keep your desk area free of papers strewn everywhere with drawers like these. Tokos likes them because they come in many colors so you can choose one that best fits the look you're going for, plus they keep things out of sight and out of mind.

Bigso Marten Desktop Organizer

Tokos also likes this desktop organizer for keeping everything in place. Unlike the Stockholm organizers, these have more of a fabric look and feel to them, which she calls "a little bit more upscale."

SimpleHouseware Crystal Clear Over The Door Hanging Shoe Organizer

In a small bedroom, taking advantage of any and all available spaces is key. Lowenheim and Tokos both recommended using an over the door shoe organizer for a variety of needs, from housing actual shoes to organizing jewelry and winter accessories.

Waitiee Wireless Charger 3-in-1 Fast Charging Station

Most people like to charge their electronics overnight so that they're ready to go in the morning. Lowenheim recommends developing a system to keep them organized on your nightstand, and a charging station such as this one is an easy way to do that. It has space for your Apple Watch, AirPods and phone so not only only will everything be charged in the morning, but you won't have to race to unplug several different outlets before you rush out the door.

Brightech Madison Narrow Nightstand

Here's another nightstand, except this one has wireless charging capabilities that reduce the need for wires that would probably end up tangled. Need to plug something in? No problem. It also has two built-in USB ports and it even has a built-in LED lamp, perfect for the person who likes to read a few pages before bed.

Command Large Utility Hooks

Both Lowenheim and Tokos spoke to the effectiveness of using hooks. Lowenheim specifically called out 3M's Command line. "You can put them up without drilling any holes. They’re not so sticky that they pull the paint off if you want to pull them down, which is especially good if you’re renting," she said.

Honey-Can-Do 8-Piece Wire Wall Grid

For a fun and creative way to organize jewelry and other accessories, Tokos mentioned seeing people use frame-like pieces to hang up their items. "It gives you an opportunity to hang everything so you can see what you’ve got and it’s organized and it looks good," she told us.

This wall grid comes with movable attachments, so you can create a home for anything you need in an aesthetically pleasing way.

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