You’ve seen these articles, posts and pins right? I love to click on these features, in fact anything that says “small [insert room]” I’m on it. I’m sure there’s a twinkle in my eye when I pull the monthly House Beautiful from the mailbox and the feature is “Small Spaces”.
I want to see how everyone “lives large in a tiny space” because that usually means either maximalism (heavily collected & decorated) or there’s going to be some sort of innovative organizational tips. I keep thinking I’m going to stumble on some sort of genius way to convince someone & myself that we have a luxe space fit for a sitting area instead of the 10×12 bedroom that they (I) actually have.
When I think about the best plans for tiny bedrooms, it seems the best course of action is to ensure that the bed takes center stage because that’s all you are really going to be able to do in there–bed down.
Some of my favorite small bedrooms focus on maximizing the wall space, whether it be for art or shelving.
Canopies are a good idea in small bedrooms because they make the bed feel like a private retreat and they add dimension to a box that doesn’t have architectural character.
Wallpapered feature walls or the entire room can make a small space feel special.
Hi. It’s Sarah. We’re going to take a quick dip into a residential Design & Development project I’ve been working on.
The Dogwood Project is a modest 1960’s ranch located in Durham, NC. A college professor and her family live part-time in this home while school is in session, and the rest of the time, they spend in their New York abode. We would describe the homeowner’s style as a collision of modern, eclectic and global.
Since the beginning of the Dogwood Project, I have been operating in an official capacity to consult on new paint colors throughout the home. The client loved the color selection at the Durham project and so they emailed for our input. She wanted to freshen up the paint job in her 1960s home which we did happily.
After the success of the paint color consultation, the project has evolved. Now, we are re-thinking the master bedroom space plan and decor. Here is a look at where she started.
The client was seeking expert advice on the room layout, and we could see why, as the room certainly had challenges.
Each wall in this small room is occupied with a challenging door or window, leaving limited options for bed placement. Additionally, equally distributed bold patterns are competing for attention in the room.
Our goal is to make the bed more commanding in the room. Despite the window position, we can achieve the desired result by shifting the bed to the left, closer to the window and then re-distribute the horizontal space with neutral drapes and a large scale piece of art.
While intuitively the thought is to center the bed between the window and the wall, what we hope to do is create a feature out of the bed, and tricking the eye as to where visual weight belongs, for a new balance.
We mocked up the change as a rendering before we suggested it. This is a good practice when you can’t be in the space yourself or if you need your client to envision your ideas before making the change.
The client and I wanted to maintain a modern aesthetic with some added layers and texture. I utilized some existing elements that they already had like this wonderful Anthropologie throw, and I suggested some new additions as seen in the design board below.
We sought to redistribute pattern throughout the room for greater balance in the scale from neutral to busy. The client operates on a no shade philosophy in their household so the recommended natural shades were cut and instead we found a quiet cream linen curtain option. We kept the bedding and drapes neutral as well, which allows the rug, art and accessories to pop, maintaining focus in the room.
Here’s the plan,
We love working with the Dogwood clients because they give proper but quick consideration to our suggestions but most importantly they are willing to try out our ideas.
You can see below that the lighter curtain, the artwork and bed positioning have already made an impact on the layout.
Once we get the right rug placed on the floor, it will really ground the new composition of this room.
Also, I think we will adjust the artwork slightly more toward the window and we’d love to see more prominent lamps and matching end tables that bring more warmth, texture and a modern appeal to the room. All in all these minimal changes have made a vast improvement to the room.
It took us a while to get our new bed selected, and you guys may have recalled when I was polling for opinions. I thought we had settled on a particular bed… the one on the left.
but then Heffe realized it was upholstered and decided that this was not appealing to him. Turns out, he says he’s thinking more along the lines of a rustic wood.
It is always a bit fun and funny when the dude presents his distaste for what I think are solid choices for our shared life. I do my best to respect his desires, but I’m sure you can imagine that it’s often met with rolly eyes and or giggles if not heavy sighs while I shake my head. But, back to the drawing board I went, this time digging into some full bedroom imagery to illustrate to him my case for the upholstered headboard, and then a few looks into the style that I assumed he was after, for comparison.
First I gathered the rooms, and here is what we looked through. My case included examples from Amber Interiors, that Archiectural Digest feature of Patrick Dempsey’s house (not only b/c I love “Can’t Buy Me Love” but also b/c that entire Malibu house is dreamy,) plus the home of Ione Sky since I was in an iconic 80s actors mood.
I was leaning toward upholstery due to my desire for draping various textiles over the headboard. I felt like a nice neutral backdrop could play well to my evolving obsessions with the pieces of fabric I bring home from time to time.
Global Textiles via Amber Interiors
Grey Accent Wall Emily Henderson
Drama in an Charming Italian Villa
Leather by Pottery Barn
Traditional from Architectural Digest
Rustic Wood in Patrick Dempsey’s Malibu Home
Tapestry & Textiles
Suzani over Headboard via Amber Interiors
French & Velvet from Architectural Digest
Ione Sky’s Bedroom
As I dug, similar themes emerged… white backdrops, neutral upholstery, global textiles, rustic woods and maybe even an accent feature! At least we know what we’re after.
Next up, we thumbed through the beds that I found to suit the style.
Crate and Barrel Atwood
Crate & Barrel Chevron
CB2 Soho Moon
Crate and Barrel Atwood – No Headboard
West Elm Emmerson Reclaimed
West Elm Alexa
West Elm Industrial
So, after all of that storytelling with the dude, we settled on this sweet midcentury design that combined a bit of the upholstered look along with the wood.
When we began this project, the hallway in this apartment was a dark corridor with some wood paneled closets and some dirty and old beadboard wainscoting. The hallway is worth mentioning and taking a gander at because it’s no longer a hallway straight out of a horror movie.
Peeling back some of the layers in the old hallway,
Again we salvaged the little stained glass window that was existing to add some character in our revamped hall. But we enlarged the window and had it made to match with the dimensions of the stained glass window to make it appear as though it was all one window but in fact it’s two separate pieces trimmed together to look like one. We also salvaged all of the old doors but in order to make a custom door for our linen closet, the carpenter cut down one of the old paneled doors to create a slim door for the closet. We added some great schoolhouse flushmounts and bronze hardware and refinished those heart pine floors and things are looking up.
The trim is painted a non-traditional satin finish, most would use semi-gloss. The satin still has a pretty sheen. All the trim throughout the apartment is Benjamin Moore Simply White.
We leave the hall and move in to Bedroom Two in the apartment. Bedroom Two is the smaller of the two bedrooms but to compensate for less space we went bigger with the closet. We left the single window in it’s original spot and doubled the size of the tiny closet to make it a walk-in. Refinished the floors, new everything and you have Bedroom Two.
Before, always scary-
More door salvage happening in here, we matched up two equally sized doors existing in the house and made a set of double doors for our new expanded closet.
Tomorrow we are headed in to the bath complete with blue vanity and retro snowflake tile.
Apartment A is the downstairs apartment of the historic Grout Cottage. It is a two bedroom apartment with an eat-in kitchen, one bathroom and a laundry/mudroom combination. In addition to the interior transformation, we also added a deck on the back of the house for the residents of Apartment A to hang out on and enjoy.
In the beginning, Apartment A had a pretty odd layout. The apartment had two entrances from the front porch, one that entered the bedroom and the other that entered into a living room. Originally, if you wanted to go to the kitchen and you were hanging out in the living room you had to walk through a bedroom to get there. Obviously one of the first orders of business was to re-work the layout of the apartment.
This is the future living room originally functioning as a bedroom with a small existing closet, a free-standing closet that was added, an odd little storage space behind those two little doors up high and a lovely drop ceiling. Most of the house was filled with dirty, worn wainscoting.
Turning to the right we see this,
Continuing to turn around the room 180 degrees we see the front door,
Here we are after all of the demolition is done. The closets are gone and we’re down to the studs now but haven’t taken the original beadboard ceilings down yet.
That old vent pipe needs to go,
We eliminated those closets, walled over doors and tore everything apart except for the floor and then after several months our finished living room emerges,
Our new front door is a custom door made of solid alder with obscured glass and I love the additional light it allowed in to the room,
We kept things relatively simple with window treatments, hardware and light fixtures because this is a rental property. Although they can be pretty much void of any style, it’s good to have a ceiling fan in the humid and hot summer in NC. If this were a renovation to sell or my own house I would definitely choose different fixtures and finishes.
The original 119-year old heart pine floors were salvaged. We made the necessary repairs with some reclaimed heart pine and then had them refinished and topped with a clear polyurethane.I decided to use the usual wider trim and baseboard with the crown molding on top but this time opted not to install the blocks at the bottom of each door frame. I see the simpler approach to trim in new or renovated farmhouses.
And that’s our living room in Apartment A.
Let’s move on in to Bedroom One in Apartment A. Bedroom One is the largest of the two bedrooms with a ton of windows letting in a bunch of great light.
When we began Bedroom One was functioning as the living room. It had a drop ceiling like the rest of the house, ugly light fixtures (always come with the deal), no closet and three doors.
Tons of great windows which we intended to keep,
We removed three chimneys from this house and one of those chimneys was in this bedroom. The carpentry crew removed the chimneys all while someone was still renting the apartment above. Although it is absolutely possible to renovate half of a duplex and remove three chimneys while someone lives in the other half, if I were doing it all again I would’ve asked the upstairs tenant to vacate at the start.
We got that chimney out, closed in the extra front entrance and started over with everything else and this is how Bedroom One turned out,
We borrowed our closet space for this room in part from the closet cavity in what used to be the living room and from the the 2nd bedroom.
It’s time to start thinking about where everyone is going to sleep and turning the room where you’ve been opening the door and just throwing stuff in, in to a real place where people could sleep. Once at the accessory level, I’d suggest this little guy,
A twin bed was most certainly the best option for Laney’s little converted attic bedroom. With way too many “shin walls” (that’s an official term now), meaning walls that are only as high as an adult’s shin–we’re pretty short on space in here.
Not only did we need a twin bed but we needed a bed with added value…storage. So I looked at all the storage bed options out there like,
These beds range from $799 to $1700, the Belden being the cheapest of the three. I just couldn’t swing that so I cruised around on the internet some more in every place I could think of, Overstock, Target, unfinished furniture retailers –you name it. I came up with no real bargain.
So then I started looking at DIY plans and I found Ana White’s site that had detailed plans complete with material lists for Pottery Barn knockoffs and a lot of other great DIY furniture projects. Now don’t get all excited thinking that I was going to build this bed– that was never the intention. I printed the queen bed plan and the twin plan and had a little chat with my favorite carpenter Joseph. Joseph’s price was right and so he got to work.
Laney’s big girl bed is a fusion between Ana’s queen and twin bed plan because I wanted drawers only on the sides, none on the ends. Because of the dimensions of the room and a small and winding staircase, Joseph had to build the bed in sections that could be bolted together once the pieces were carried upstairs in to Laney’s room. We also added casters on the bottom because if the bed is placed against the short wall an adult cannot make the bed.
To help you can get a better idea of how space challenged we are in this room, here’s me at a whopping 5’2″ standing in the room.
Joseph delivered the bed recently and it looks great so far. Laney gets a bed that’s made from solid pine not MDF and we know the bottoms of the drawers won’t fall out when we load it up with clothes and linens. Now I just need to paint it. It needs a little paint prep like puttying those nail holes and other joints and then the plan is to paint it Benjamin Moore’s Simply White which is the same as the trim color in the room.
I also still need to add a headboard and some drawer pulls and this image stays in my mind.
You can follow the other design inspirations for Laney’s big girl room on my Pinterest board.
In my search for a small sconce for a tight space to put over Laney’s bed in her big girl room, I kept seeing these modern sconces sometimes paired with a slightly traditional look in the rest of the room. The introduction of the modern sconce in these rooms is one little piece of the puzzle that makes the room a little more eclectic, it gets at that magical mix that everyone is after…including me.
Looks like the same mid-century inspired fixture in these rooms,
Here’s what I call the eyeball fixture,
The lucite/acrylic bedside cart is a repeat performer as a bedside table.
“After I get finished with my big girl bed, then I’m gon’ get a boy bed”
These are the types of conversations I have with my 2-year old daughter Laney about her future transition to a big girl bed. She thinks it’s fun to kid with me about wanting a “boy bed”. We are preparing to move Laney to a different room in the house but the room needs a little work before we can do that. I’ll be sharing that room tune up after we begin the work but today I wanted to share my inspiration for the room and a rough plan.
You guys might remember roommate Kate as my beloved apartment mate back at the treehouse. When we agreed to move in together, I had but one stipulation and that was that she allow me to make ALL of the home decor decisions. She agreed. She started out with a shortage of opinions in the design of our apartment, but soon evolved into an active participant in the process. She has since blossomed into a full fledged design lover and an avid home decor blog and shelter magazine consumer just like the best of us.
When she reached out for some help on her design for her new and super cute little cottage of an dwelling in Brentwood, I was happy to oblige. She wants her bedroom to feel feminine and soft… sweet with a bit of bling and she’s totally tired of her previous turquoise color scheme. She’s feeling coral these days. So, I took a crack at an inspiration board. What do you think?
Here are your shopping sources Kate! Holler back and let me know what you like and dislike!
Wallpaper I Light Fixture I Tufted Headboard I Lamps I Curtain Rods I Peacock Chair I Tray Table I Etsy Art I Peony Art I Urchin Sculpture I Toss Pillows I Flokati Rug
You might remember the master bedroom project I was helping my friends with a few months back. We took a fairly large bedroom, awkward sitting area and a messy walk-in closet and turned it all in to a true retreat complete with an open dressing area. I finally got a few moments to take some photos now that the construction crew is gone.
We are still working on decor and finish details but you get the idea of how this all shook out.
My friends and I worked on the mantel and fireplace surround together. I knew we needed a “book nook” to occupy that space to the right of the fireplace surround and they knew that they wanted glass front cabinets on the bottom of the built-ins. The sconces are Visual Comfort and the picture lights mounted above the shelves are the Merrick from Hudson Valley. We wanted to create many different levels of lighting, between the directional recessed lighting, lamps, sconces and picture lights I think we’ve got it covered. The wall color is Benjamin Moore’s Pale Smoke. It is more subtle and a bit smokier in real life.
The bed is the Turner and the duvet, sheets and bolster are from Matteo. The blue quilt is just temporary until we find the right textile, my friend saw a great antique suzani textile at ABC Carpet but decided at the last minute it wasn’t the right thing.
A closer look at those beautiful custom closet doors that my carpenter Joseph made. The closet holds the bulk of the lady’s stuff. There are custom shoe racks, cubes and hanging racks galore in there.
The corbels under the mantel were purchased from Pro Wood Market. My friends knew they wanted the TV to be recessed and there was a bit of a snafu in the building process but everything turned out great in the end.
A lot of this project was centered around creating a dressing room that would be open to the bedroom and would accommodate some of his and mostly hers. This space was created out of what was a porch in the 1970s, a nursery in the 80s and then most recently a cramped TV room/junk room.
I called in Quality Cabinet Company to work up the plan and make it a reality. The cabinets are shaker style, painted Benjamin Moore’s Simply White–which by the way is my new favorite trim color. The hardware was my friend’s choice and it is from Restoration Hardware.
We purchased that beautiful vanity mirror from a local antiques consignor in Southern Pines called Page Furniture. We wanted to warm the space and I think the mirror helped us achieve part of that goal.
You can sit in this area, fold clothes on the carrera marble counter and take in all of the light that comes in through those windows.
We’re continuing to search for just the right art and some more accessories to complete the space. Overall the room turned out to be pretty fantastic. It truly is a retreat for them. When I visit I kind of wish we could hang out in there.
Hi there. Thanks for being here. We've been writing TEOT since 2008. Our home decor blog is a place to share our most recent decor related endeavors, from renovation projects, to inspirations for our own homes and the latest happenings in our home decor shop!
Together, we share a passion for real estate, thrift stores and the thrill of the hunt, and we're into highlighting home decor trends that we think you can get into. We have an extensive portfolio of projects underfoot at all times!