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How to Fit a Bedside Shelf into Even the Tiniest Bedroom

Think you don’t have room for a bedside shelf? Oh yes you have! Take a look at these genius solutions

Houzz UK and Ireland Editor.

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There’s something about a cleverly designed small space that’s incredibly satisfying to look at. When a designer or homeowner turns a tricky space into a beautiful room, it’s very inspiring.

These small bedrooms all have one thing in common – ingenious bedside storage. So if you’re faced with a teeny-tiny bedroom with no obvious bedside storage options, take a look at these ideas.

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Squeeze in a micro shelf
Think there isn’t even room for a shelf? Think again. When a bed has to be squeezed next to a wardrobe, it can seem as if there isn’t any room for bedside storage, but this teeny-weeny shelf attached to the side of the wardrobe is a clever solution. The curved edge is a safer option if space is tight and the shelf is close to the bed out of necessity.

Admittedly, displaying a vase of flowers here might not be terribly practical if this is a room that’s used every day, but this dinky shelf would be the perfect size for a phone or alarm clock.

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Suspend bedside lights
The designer of this bedroom, Max McMurdo, came up with a great solution for maximising space on the micro shelves either side of the bed in his converted shipping container home. Rather than take up valuable space on the little shelves, he suspended custom-made ‘cookie jar’ reading lights underneath to leave the surfaces clear for a phone, book or glass of water. Again, curved edges prevent hard knocks.

If suspended lamps aren’t an option for you, this effect could easily be recreated with clip-on reading lamps instead.

Take a tour of this converted shipping container

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Carve a space from a wardrobe
What do you do when you only have space for a wardrobe on either side of your bed? You could carve out an ingenious bedside table by effectively ‘slicing’ into the wardrobes, as the owners of this Wee House have done.

By stacking an upper cupboard on top of a lower one and leaving a slim space in-between, the owners have claimed a generous shelf either side of the bed.

Take a look around the rest of this ‘Wee House’

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Think outside the wall
I’m guessing this door doesn’t get opened very often. Or if it does, then it gets opened very slowly! But what a great way to squeeze a shelf onto what would otherwise be a wasted space. If you have a cupboard door that doesn’t get used very often, then this could be a good solution to provide just enough room for bedtime essentials.

Equally, if you just want a perch for a glass of water and book overnight and will clear the items off in the morning, this could work on a regular wardrobe or bedroom door.

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Use negative space
The owner of this compact bedroom on board a London houseboat has carved into the space behind the headboard to create a discreet alcove shelf – perfect for storing essentials without encroaching on the limited space at the side of the bed.

While we don’t all live on a boat like this, if there is space behind the bed you can tap into, this is a neat solution. It would work well in a loft room, as demonstrated in the next photo.

Tour the rest of this stylish houseboat

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Extend back into the eaves
Loft bedrooms can be snug and cosy, but storage is pretty much always at a premium in a conversion like this. As in the previous image of a houseboat, the owners of this room have tapped into the unused space behind the bed by carving out good-sized shelves to take the place of tables. They’ve even slotted cupboards underneath.

This also allows built-in wardrobes to extend right along the bedroom wall, as there are no shelves to get in the way of the opening doors.

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Create ‘up and over’ storage
Where would you put a bedside shelf in this room? It’s a challenging space, but the owner’s solution is very clever. By building a mini wardrobe to the side of the bed, the partition wall creates a vertical surface on which to attach a wall lamp and hold a small shelf running above the bed. A larger shelf above the wardrobe offers space for storing bigger items.

Keeping the colour palette bright white also helps to make this small space feel light and airy.

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Make a stepladder work hard
This pretty coastal bedroom is a masterclass in flexible design. By placing a white-painted stepladder in the narrow space between these twin beds, the designer has created an instant table, offering access from either side, with two clip-on reading lamps to provide targeted lighting.

If the room ever needs to be switched around and the two beds pushed together, the shelf can simply be lifted up and moved to the side of the bed.

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Utilise a picture ledge
This is a really clever use of space. The owners of this home have squeezed a double bed between two existing wardrobes and popped a slim picture shelf above the bedhead, offering a perch for photos and small items. Two wall-mounted reading lamps on either side offer targeted lighting, and wall units above provide extra storage for larger items.

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Don’t forget the headboard
If there really isn’t an inch of room for a bedside shelf, then make your headboard work a bit harder. Build it out a few inches and – voila – you have a tiny shelf, perfect for balancing small bedtime essentials. Even without the luxury of space for the shelves at the side, as seen here, you’ll still have a good amount of shelf space for bedtime essentials.

Just make sure the headboard is securely fixed to the wall, so small items can’t get lost down the back.

What do you think of these bedside storage solutions? Let us know in the Comments below.
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