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How to Share a Small Bedroom – Without Falling Out

Don’t let a tiny sleep space kill the love between you and your partner! Follow these design tricks and tips for happy co-habiting

Houzz UK Contributor. I have been an interiors journalist since 1995, writing several… More

Sharing a small home with your partner can put pressure on both of you. It is harder to be forgiving of mess, but not so easy to be tidy when there is little room for acres of smart storage. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in a small bedroom. Here, a bed is both essential and big, gobbling up lots of floor space from the start. So how can you make the most of a tiny bedroom and enjoy sharing it, too? Follow the advice below, which includes a mix of design ideas and strategies to help you and your partner rethink your bijou bedroom and get the best from it.

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Rethink the traditional bedroom
We make assumptions about what furniture belongs in which room, but when space is in short supply, these assumptions may have to be put aside. So forget the wardrobe or chest of drawers you tend to picture in a bedroom; a tiny boudoir needs to be more minimal. A bed is essential, but think about how all the other pieces could be relocated to different rooms, or reworked in a more compact format.

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Discuss your needs
Once you and your partner have parked any notions of what an ideal bedroom contains, you can start to work with what you’ve got. Begin by deciding what you both want from your space, taking into account its size. Perhaps you are happy to relocate the hanging space to another room, but really want a full-length mirror. Maybe they’d love some bookshelves, but can skip the bedside table. Identify both your needs, where you can compromise and what you feel is essential. This will provide a guide to how you then kit out your compact space.

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Relocate hanging space
Hanging space for clothes is a huge storage must-have, but, as already noted, that doesn’t mean it has to be incorporated into the bedroom. If your sleep space is small, squeezing in a wardrobe may not be possible, or will make using the room uncomfortable. So consider relocating hanging space to another room, such as the bathroom, hallway or a guest room, so that two people can happily enjoy the compact bedroom. Getting something bespoke built may be expensive, but could be a worthwhile investment for maxing the little space you do have (and improving domestic harmony!).

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Choose colours carefuly
Strong, deep colours will give a small bedroom a cosy vibe, but they can also suck up light and will make the space feel smaller. To take the pressure off a small bedroom, pick a simple scheme of pale, space-enhancing colours. Neutrals will help a compact room to feel brighter and bigger and will create the calm atmosphere required when two people are sharing a small space. (Be wary of brilliant white if your room is north-facing, with little natural light, since this can create a gloomy, cold effect – opt for something softer instead.)

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Try to keep it tidy
If one or both of you is naturally untidy, working hard to keep your bedroom uncluttered may be tough, but the tidier this space is, the bigger it will feel. So try to avoid a ‘floordrobe’ scenario, where towels and clothes are strewn across the floor. This will only encroach on space and cause tension, too. Make the bed each morning, to create a serene, ordered feel and regularly sort through towering piles of books by the bed.

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Prioritise good lighting
Any small space will benefit from good lighting, which will help it to feel bigger, brighter and more inviting. Bedside lighting that can be operated independently of any ceiling lights and is available to anyone lying in bed is crucial. It will illuminate a bedtime book and also allow one person to keep their light on and read while the other dozes off. If space is tight by the bed, fit wall lights instead of using table lamps. Directable spots work particularly well, shining a beam onto a book, without greatly boosting the overall light levels in the space.

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Don’t scale down the bed…
It’s a mistake to opt for the smallest double you can find, just because your bedroom is small. Choose a bed that will be comfortable for you and your partner. If it almost fills the space, so be it. Getting a good night’s sleep is more important than gaining a few centimetres of floor space.

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…and invest in great bedding
And on that point, since there may not be room for much besides a bed in a compact sleep space, go big on the bed itself. Treat you and your partner to gorgeous bed linen, comfy cushions and luxe fabrics. Make this key piece of furniture beautiful and inviting and the dimensions of the room will become less relevant!

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Seek out space-savvy pieces
So you don’t have room for a freestanding wardrobe in your bedroom? You might be surprised at what other pieces of storage you can squeeze in. Boxes for storing clothes and kit under your bed make essential use of a huge portion of floor space. You may also need to source pieces that were not specifically designed for bedroom life. Low-level cabinets or sideboards, skinny chests of drawers or shelves mounted high on the wall will all serve well in a small bedroom.

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Create individual storage
Make sure each partner has designated storage in the bedroom. This avoids one person’s clothes encroaching on another’s, creates order and encourages each bedroom user to take responsibility for their own gear. If hanging room is tight, try positioning one rail above another to max the space and create storage for both people.

Do you have any tips for sharing a small bedroom? Please add them to the Comments below.
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