7 easy bedroom design tips to make any space feel larger

Turning the best bedroom design tips into reality starts with a dream — specifically a daydream. I fantasize about life in Paris. Do it: I daydream about apartment in Paris. It’s on the 6th arondissement. Natural light floods into the rusty wooden floor. The kitchen has marble, Greek tile and copper pots. To the left is the living room with enough space for the bedrooms. And my master bedroom? Huge. Extend. In space so infinite that there was a bathtub with legs in the middle. I recall my French bedroom every day for bedroom design tips and decorating inspiration. In my mind, that is that perfect. Shelter where sleeping, space and aesthetics collide.

When I think more deeply about the Parisian bedroom of my dreams, I lean more toward the feeling it evokes than its size. My ideal bedroom is ethereal and exudes a sense of peace. In fact, my bedroom is quite small like many apartment rooms in urban areas. But there’s still a chance for me to create feel my dream space. Because when designing a master bedroom can be limited in terms of real estate, it is crucial to focus on the essentials.

As designer Katie Raffetto told me, “less is more” is the norm for making a smaller bedroom feel larger. So read on for bedroom design tips by Raffetto and by Cameron Johnson, to make a small master bedroom seem spacious and inviting — like my imaginary Paris apartment. (Clawfoot tub not included.)

Featured image of Teal Thomsen.

Dive into these bedroom design tips for the spacious space you’ve always dreamed of.

Image by Bess Friday, courtesy of Katie Raffetto Interior Design

#1: Go with the essentials

Look around your bedroom: Does every item have a role? If not, it’s time to purge. This rule of thumb applies to all bedrooms, but basically most to those with limited space. “I often see people trying to get out of a small space too much,” says Raffetto. “If it’s a bedroom, let it be a bedroom with a bed, nightstand, and lamp.” Using less furniture will help avoid feeling cramped and cluttered.

#2: Rethink furniture size

Designer Cameron Johnson, founder and CEO of furniture design and rental firm Nickson Living, believes that a queen-sized bed may seem ideal, but it can make the walls pop in your bedroom is like pressing against you. Instead, choose a smaller size for breathing room and another important piece of furniture. Johnson calls this “spatial engineering,” creating “room for a chest of drawers instead of a dresser, which can then make room for a small desk, etc.”

Pictures of Molly Culver

#3: Choose an Impressive Color

“In a small space, I like to use saturated colors and dark colors,” says Raffetto. These colors help you “drop into the cozy feeling,” she says, and enjoy the room’s purpose: rest and recharge.

#4: Use “Aerial Space”

One of the top ways designers make any room appear larger? Take advantage of vertical space. Johnson suggests adding artwork above the bed to “extend the headboard,” or consider a bed with a loft, allowing for a desk or storage underneath. When the eyes are directed upwards, the mind will feel more open.

Pictures of Nikole Ramsay

#5: Choose pieces that serve dual functions

Sometimes, the limited square footage doesn’t allow for a lot of furniture — and that’s okay. In fact, it’s a way to get creative and let a beloved work do more. Raffetto says to put the dresser next to your bed, that way it can act as a nightstand. Johnson, who is also a fan of creating versatile pieces, loves the bed frame with built-in storage.

#6: Smart with light

Begging Raffetto, don’t let the lights overwhelm your furniture. Prioritizing the combination of lights or lighting devices that are too large will take up too much space and create a feeling of clutter. Streamlined lamps and sconces work well in small bedrooms, she adds, and “give your desk some breathing space.”

#7: Think of completeness

Anything great — a room, a recipe, a book — lends a sense of richness to it. That doesn’t necessarily just come from quantity, but more than that when considering all its parts. This is the overarching theme of making a small master bedroom feel larger. Johnson advises choosing dramatic accents that give the room a “sense of completion.” These include floor length mirrors, curtains, area rugs, and benches. “All of these pieces add decorative flair to the space and make it feel complete and larger than what the eye would see in completion,” adds Johnson.

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