15 tricks and tips to make your small bedroom look bigger

Give a small bedroom a big visual boost with some of these ingenious ideas.

Brain boggled by a box room? It’s time for a sprinkling of that special decor pixie dust that makes a small bedroom look bigger.

Yes. Even yours.

After all, whose eyes aren’t tricked by the magic of mirrors?  And who, on entering even the tiniest bedroom, can fail to be stopped in their tracks by a ‘go big or go home’ sucker punch of a colour? Pow!

Once your guests pick their chins up off the floor, you’ll realise that your worries about making that small bedroom work were misplaced. But nothing in that perfectly decorated room will be.

Studio DeanCredit: Studio Dean

1. Add mirrors for practical use to ramp up your bedroom’s luxury

The more reflective surfaces, the better

Studio Dean bedroomCredit: Studio Dean

While you do have to be wary of what your mirrors will reflect, a good rule of thumb is the more mirrors you can tactfully slip into your small bedroom design, the better.

Mirror, more than any other surface, is the master of misdirection. If a mirror is placed across the width of your entire back wall, you can expect the size of your room to appear doubled.

A more subtle approach is to dot mirrors around strategically. Studio Dean places a cheval mirror used for dressing on the floor of this bedroom at an intersection of the walls. The result? A more luxurious bedroom. The sharp line of the intersection is also interrupted – a great trick to keep the eyes from noticing dimension limitations.

The make-up mirror above the dressing table does double duty. It is not only indispensable for guests’ ease of dressing in the morning – once the wall light placed deliberately above it is switched on, light will be bounced around. This is another great mirror trick to help make a smaller bedroom appear bigger.

Curious about how lighting can transform a small bedroom? Shed light on your small bedroom with these bright ideas.

2. Choose furniture with mirrored detailing

Add luxe reflective charm to lighten the visual load

Picture Perfect Home mirrored bedCredit: Picture Perfect Home

There’s no way around it – even small bedrooms require ‘stuff’. We can’t physically shrink bedside tables, beds and shelves down, but we can choose to use the magic of mirrors to make bulky furniture pieces appear as light as feathers.

This furniture touch has been trendy since the Art Deco crowd realised that interesting fusion between bold and ‘barely there’. So, your mirrored bed is a playful grand statement, but also looks as light as champagne bubbles.

In fact, a mirrored bed makes its all-timber counterparts look about as graceful as an elephant smack dab in the middle of your tiny bedroom.

We like how Picture Perfect Home finished off its mirrored bed with a blink-and-you’d-miss-it blush-pink upholstered headboard. It would add a touch of decadence to a small bedroom that has room for little more than a lovely double bed.

Featured product

Mallory Champagne Gold Mirrored Bed, Picture Perfect Home

RRP: £871.95

Mallory Champagne Gold Mirrored Bed, Picture Perfect Home

3. Add fake windows

A detailed mirror makes a good substitute

Credit: French Bedroom Company

A tiny room without a nice big window may feel claustrophobic.

Cheat your way to a solution with arched mirrors that effectively mimic grand windows. Not only will the mirror make the bedroom appear visually bigger, but who doesn’t get a psychological boost from the promise of a view?

And, you can have one. As with this bedroom styled by French Bedroom, a bit of foliage placed with care to be reflected in your ‘window’ can work wonders.

Space permitting, place a plant or two on the wall opposite the mirror to add extra interest and depth to the faux view.

Featured product

Arched Wooden Frame Window Mirror, French Bedroom Company

RRP: £245

Arched Wooden Frame Window Mirror, French Bedroom Company

4. Use vertical lined wallpaper to draw eyes upward

Take a trick out of the fashion world’s playbook

Credit: Graham and Brown

In interior design, as in fashion, vertical lines are basic yet incredibly effective tools for creating optical illusions. In the case of your small bedroom, vertical lines will confuse onlookers into thinking the space is taller and more spacious than it really is.

Striped wallpaper makes getting this effect incredibly simple as you don’t have to faff around with paint and spirit levels as you would if you tried to create this look with paint. It also comes in a range of designs, from subtle to this bold look called Figaro Navy Wallpaper by Graham and Brown.

Paula Taylor, head stylist at Graham and Brown, says: “We love the impact striped wallpaper has in any room, especially a smaller one. The straight lines draw the eye up to the ceiling, creating the illusion that the walls are higher than they are.”

Taylor suggests not stopping at the dado rail:” If you want to highlight this even further, draw the wallpaper up into the ceiling to create a continuous line”.

If you want to make the job super easy, go for stick-and-peel papers. Our easy DIY project guide will show you how to transform your bedroom with wallpaper in just an afternoon.

Featured product

Figaro Navy Wallpaper, Graham and Brown

RRP: £60.00 per roll

Figaro Navy Wallpaper, Graham and Brown

5. Play with height with a vertical panel

Adding this simple detail can stretch a small bedroom’s ceiling

Studio DeanCredit: Studio Dean

Wallpaper is not the only – or even the most dramatic – way to add vertical height to a small bedroom. A floor-to-ceiling narrow wall panel does the job rather well too.

The idea with this decor touch is to fool the eye into thinking that your modest ceiling is higher than it really is. And if you do happen to have a tall ceiling, this idea will definitely get eyes shooting skywards. Good news if looking left to right in your small bedroom would leave guests underwhelmed.

In this room designed by Studio Dean a wooden panel adds an elevated edge to this bedroom that would otherwise be lacking a focal point. We like how the panel is placed off centre to the bed.

Asymmetry is like sleight of hand in a small bedroom – the brain is engaged in trying to solve an aesthetic puzzle instead of being miffed by a lack of square footage.

6. Let your headboard soar to new heights

The bolder the headboard, the better

Credit: Etsy / HarrisMarksHome headboard

A tall headboard in a tiny bedroom makes a fearless statement.

Not only does the room benefit from the deceptive vertical visual uplift, it also declares in no uncertain terms that this bed is every inch as worthy of admiration as one in a bigger bedroom.

Maybe you’ve had to downsize from a king size to a double for a bed to be accommodated. An extra tall headboard can reinstate the grandeur, making your narrower bed feel considered rather than simply like a necessity.

We like the dark, velvety drama of this custom headboard made by Etsy shop HarrisMarksHome. Set against a light backdrop, even a single bed will feel like a grand gesture. Its scale detracts from the diminutive proportions of your small bedroom.

Grey headboard with yellow painted semi circleCredit: Dulux

“If your budget doesn’t stretch to a new supersized headboard, you can always fake one,” says Saga Exceptional’s homes editor in chief, Amy Cutmore. “You could do so by wallpapering the area behind the width of your bed, then up to the ceiling. Or you could draw a semi-circle behind your bed, and paint that. Another great benefit of ‘flat’ treatments like these is they won’t take up any space whatsoever.”

Like this painted sunny yellow ‘headboard’? It’s Golden Sand in Dulux’s Simply Refresh paint range.

Featured product

Wingback Headboard, HarrisMarksHome / Etsy

RRP: £2,650.19

Wingback Headboard, HarrisMarksHome / Etsy

7. Fake a bookcase

Adding this ‘architectural’ detail adds visual depth

Credit: Wallsauce

Fair enough, it’s a bibliophile’s worst nightmare – but at first sight, they’ll think they’ve stumbled into a perfect dream.

Either way, a faux bookcase wallpaper behind the bed in your small bedroom is the perfect decor trick for making your bedroom feel more spacious than it actually is. Why? Bookcases by their very nature have depth.

That means that when onlookers see your ‘ceiling height bookcase’, they naturally assume the backwall is further away.

We think this bookcase mural by Wallsauce looks pleasantly realistic.

Dot a few actual books around to keep the bookworms from boycotting your bedroom.

Featured product

Natural Bookcase Mural, Wallsauce

RRP: £37 per metre

Natural Bookcase Mural, Wallsauce

8. Paint your bedroom an unapologetic and punchy colour

Contrast the wall with the bed for extra wow factor

Credit: Original Bed Company

There are two schools of thought when it comes to painting a small bedroom. One says keep it light and bright, and very nearly white. The other says grab a paint brush and let rip with the cheeriest colour you can get your hands on.

Both work a treat but we subscribe to the latter paint philosophy. Yes, your room’s dimensions will still be small, but who will notice when the colour is a real knock-out?

The best way to go about this is to lavish the colour across all surfaces. Paint it on all four walls and even on the ceiling. This approach is called ‘colourblocking’ and it can really make a space feel bigger by virtue of being hyper coordinated.

Make like the Original Bed Company and put a rug down that perfectly complements your walls.

For extra visual kick that will distract from dimensions, add a bed with a frame in a contrasting hue. Your bedroom will feel less like a tiny sleeping space and more like a quirky work of dopamine decor bliss.

Featured product

Athalone Iron bed, The Original Bed Company

RRP: from £949

Athalone Iron bed, The Original Bed Company

9. Or keep your small bedroom light, bright and very nearly white

A ‘barely there’ hue will open up your small bedroom

The White CompanyCredit: The White Company

Light paints on walls are legendary for making rooms feel lighter and airier. This certainly holds true for the tiniest bedrooms. This decor optical illusion is all but foolproof.

Reach for either an eggshell or a satin paint finish. This will help reflect any light in the room, giving an airy feel.

Once your small bedroom is painted in a whisper of a hue, it’s time to add character with furniture and accessories. In light spaces, the decor must work harder than ever to feel important and relevant. Think of the light background as a canvas and the accents to go into the room as your deliberate brushstrokes. It is a good idea to choose a few high-quality accents for your small room to make up for any lack of square footage with quality.

10. Add a decadent light cream rug

Luxury is off-white walls paired with light flooring

BenutaCredit: Benuta

If pale walls will lighten up a poky bedroom, then off-white walls paired with a luxurious white rug will turn up the dial on the effect.

A light neutral works better on walls than sharp white because it can look stark and cold. Best to resist the temptation to coat the walls in an unadulterated white in the hopes that it will make the room look as spacious as possible.

Breezy off-white walls paired with a decadent cream rug will visually extend your small bedroom in the most understated yet indulgent style.

Dot some quality natural accents around to emphasise the quiet luxury  quality of your inviting sleeping space.

Featured product

Rug Tacoma Cream, Benuta

RRP: £184.95

Rug Tacoma Cream, Benuta

11. Extend your wall decor to your door

The fewer visual breaks, the better

Credit: Studio Dean

Who made the rule that doors should be kept white? Someone without a need to make a bedroom look bigger, that’s who.

If you don’t want someone to be stuck on limited wall length in the bedroom, then trick their eyes into thinking the walls are longer than they are. By taking the door out, visually, you would be lengthening one wall by at least 800cm.

The best way to do this is to paint or wallpaper the door exactly like the wall. Taken to its extreme, you can even make your small bedroom entrance a concealed door. No architrave means the door is seamless – it’s the stuff of secret rooms.

We like how designers at Studio Dean got creative and played with the idea with not one, but two paint colours. Who has time to notice how small a bedroom is when they are being impressed by a fun paint detail and palette?

12. Try small-scale wallpaper pattern prints

Enjoy a traditional look with airy appeal

French Bedroom CompanyCredit: French Bedroom Company

Chosen with care, a pattern on your small bedroom walls will act as a cosy visual distraction. Steer clear of large-scale bold prints that will swamp your walls and, instead, choose a small-scale print.

With finer prints you’ll get all of the homeliness of a patterned wallpaper but also a calmer effect that is best for a smaller bedroom that you want to feel more spacious.

As in this compact French Bedroom styled sleeping space, a two-tone paper feels fresh and approachable. A light background means the wallpaper enjoys some of the airy and bright qualities of light paint, but with a warmer character.

In love with this biophilic wallpaper? It’s Clutterbuck – Lodge by Little Greene.

13. Keep furniture nice and leggy

Thin, tall legs make for an airier feel in tight spaces

Natural Bed CompanyCredit: Natural Bed Company

Trying to make a bedroom look bigger means choosing furniture with care. The last thing you want in a small space is pieces that have a lot of visual bulk to them.

Even the smallest bedside table  with no legs will break up the space and be an abrupt place for eyes to stop. That ‘rooted to the ground’ effect will do your small bedroom no favours.

What you really want is nice, leggy furniture. Beds, bedsides and chests of drawers with elegant, elongated, thin legs feel way more easy-breezy.

Eyes can rove freely around, creating more of a feeling of depth – precisely what you want in a tight bedroom.

Matching your streamlined furniture pieces will also do wonders for creating less visual clutter. Selecting pieces from the same furniture collection guarantees a cohesive effect.

Featured product

Bloomsbury Bed with Faux Leather Headboard

RRP: from £1,360

Bloomsbury Bed with Faux Leather Headboard

14. Get matchy-matchy with your textiles

A coordinated fabric approach will turn down the clutter volume

Credit: French Bedroom Company

There is a lot to be said for glorious maximalism – though maybe not in a bedroom that’s a tight squeeze. While all decor rules are made to be broken, we suggest showing restraint when choosing textiles for your small bedroom and steer away from bold patterns.

Why? In a small space, plain fabrics will translate into a sense of calm that makes the room feel coordinated, not claustrophobic. They naturally feel more expansive with no shifts in colour contrast to visually navigate.

Make like this small bedroom styled by French Bedroom and unite your headboard, bed linen and lamp shades.

Featured product

Mulberry Silk Bed Linen, French Bedroom Company

RRP: from £460

Mulberry Silk Bed Linen, French Bedroom Company

15. Lighten up your small bedroom with wall lights

You might be able to do away with at least one bedside table

Credit: John Lewis

When every centimetre of square footage is spoken for in your small bedroom, a pair of bedside tables can feel like a luxury too far.

A wall light (or two) can get you out of the pickle of needing to provide table-top bedside lighting, freeing up valuable floor space in the bargain. If that means you can get your bed nestled more neatly in a corner, you’ll increase circulation room. Your bedroom will naturally look bigger.

But even if you don’t lose any furniture from your bedroom after adding wall lights, your bedroom will still benefit from the light and bright effect of washing walls with light.

Opt for directional wall lighting that allows you to pinpoint the area to bathe in light. The good news is that you’re now spoilt for choice when it comes to plug-in wall lights. Place lights close to mirrors if you can to amplify the space-enhancing power of lighting.

We shed some light on the brightest small bedroom lighting ideas in this recent feature.

Written by Joy Archer she/her

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