Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Bed-And-Nightstand-Room: 14 tiny bedrooms

Some things are so simple and so obvious that when you stop to look at them, you realize they're actually kind of ridiculous. Case in point, this quote from one of my favorite comedians, Mitch Hedberg:

I want to get a job as someone who names kitchen appliances. Toaster, refrigerator, blender… All you do is say what the shit does, and add "er." I wanna work for the Kitchen Appliance Naming Institute. "Hey, what does that do?" "It keeps shit fresh." "Well, that's a fresher… I'm going on break.”

This same facepalmingly simple naming convention works for rooms, too. Just take what's in that room, then add the word "room." Living room, bathroom, bedroom. (You should have seen the look of realization on my face long ago in French class as I realized that "salle de bans" literally means "room of the bath." English isn't the only linguistic master of the obvious sometimes!)

Now, given everyday usage, these simple names can still get jumbled up. (What is the difference between a living room and a family room, by the way?) But in tiny apartments, often what you get is exactly what you're told. In this case, we're taking a look at bedrooms: rooms that contain a bed… and not much more! These rooms are more than a nook or alcove, and give your landlord the ability to call it a 1BR (and accordingly jack up the rent), but still can't fit much more than a queen-sized frame and maybe a nightstand. Huh, maybe they should call it the bed-and-nightstand-room…

We begin with Lauren's 400 square foot apartment in New York City, as featured on Apartment Therapy. With the apartment being only 12 feet wide at its widest, it was difficult to configure her furniture, especially her bed, especially especially in that teeny-tiny bedroom! Thankfully, Lauren has a background in architecture, and she was able to make it work. Her custom bed has storage for shoes and even a freakin' kayak. I also love the sliding barn door, which saves precious space as it tucks away instead of swinging inward.

The bed in this heavenly white-and-wood bedroom from Small Place Style takes up the entire far end of the room, fitting perfectly between the three walls. While it may be a little inconvenient to get in and out if there's more than one person sleeping in that bed, it frees up a lot of real estate. It looks to have a storage headboard with a task lamp for those late-night page-turners. There also appears to be a large wardrobe unit on the left for tons of hidden storage; the monochromatic white-on-white keeps the piece from overwhelming the room. On the opposite side, a homey wooden dresser breaks up the white and gives the room more character.

This warm bedroom in Brooklyn just goes to show that vibrantly-painted walls can work in even the smallest of rooms. The red far wall adds some punch, and coordinates nicely with the bed linens and lantern. Here, the bed is placed with the long side against the wall, and a woven screen is used as a kind of headboard. A teeny nightstand at the end of the bed holds a few necessities, and at the link you can see that the apartment's resident, Margaret, has created a closet by curtaining off the opposite side of the room. From Apartment Therapy.

Now this room looks like the perfect spot to curl up and read a book on a rainy day. That fireplace! Again, the bed takes up the entire end of the room, but unlike the white room above, this bed is styled as a daybed, facing inward into the rest of the room. I love the dark wood and traditional paintings here -- it's a very Old-World look. (Except of course the flatscreen TV on the wall…) From 1st Option via Pretty Stuff.

Read on for ten more bed-and-nightstand-rooms…

Here we have another daybed-styled bed that nestles neatly into the end of a room. This one has a distinctly seaside cottage feel. Kevin and Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage took this 6' x 6' space and turned it into the "reading room" you see here. However, they've recently redone the room to be even more functional as a guest bedroom. Their website documents their DIY undertaking and its remarkable results. You'll have to check the link to see it (and their really cool reclaimed wood panel wall!).

This simple, neutral bedroom calls to mind some of the Scandinavian jails cells I covered a few weeks ago -- and not in a bad way, of course! The room is simple and efficient: a place to sleep, a place to work, a place to store a few things. The blond wood with white and gray accents keeps things modern and clean. While it could stand a lil' pop of color, this narrow bedroom easily provides your necessities in a streamlined way. From Pinterest.

Now this room's got some mood lighting going on! For some reason, the combo of the lights and the cabinets makes me think of a movie theatre as the lights go down and the previews begin. In this bedroom, any furniture other than the bed itself seems to be replaced by built-ins. It makes good use of the vertical space for storage, while still allowing a surface for knick-knacks or some quick paperwork. From Houzz.

In contrast to the last two rooms, this bedroom (also from Houzz) has a more homey, eclectic feel. This is a look that's easily replicable if you have a free afternoon, Craigslist, and a friend with a pickup (and some beer or pizza to pay them with!). The dark walls are very moody and chic, which go well with the rich wooden dresser and red textile hanging.

Finally, some color! Okay, this is supposed to be a little girl's room, but I'm a grownup and I still dig this palette, dangit. I'm a sucker for teal and coral-pink. It's also quite glam for a kid's room; check out that chandelier and plush headboard! What I also like about this room is how it's nicely balanced, with the bed in the center of the window, flanked by the curtains and two matching nightstands with lamps. Moreover, at the foot of the bed is a desk and chair, which is a great solution for creating a workspace. (I just wouldn't recommend putting a desktop computer on there -- one just-falling-asleep leg spasm and that monitor's on the floor.) From Houzz.

This bedroom from Lonny (via Sequin Stripes) is a kind of more crisp, adult take on the previous room. Once again we see the bed neatly framed by the window, curtains, and identical nightstands and lamps. In a bedroom so small, the focal point has no other option than to be the bed, and this room does it perfectly.

This bed takes the prize for being the most tucked away in a corner. In converted attics and divided-up old houses, you sometimes get small apartments with crazy ceilings and strange wall angles. This bed takes what might have been an unusable, low-ceilinged area and makes the most of it. After all, most of us stopped jumping on the bed years ago, right? … Right? From Houzz via Pinterest.

While the bright blue wall at the head of the bed is the first to catch your eye in this room from Small Place Style, what I'm most fascinated by is its unusual use of furniture placement (although it's hard to tell if it's built-in or individual pieces). The headboard creates a shelf for the lamps and a few books. To the right is what appears to be a kind of console table for some more reading material, and angled at the foot of the bed is a comfy-looking armchair. The headboard, table, and chair all kind of cram the bed in snugly against the shuttered window on the left, which is another unusual but interesting placement. The window is pressed up against the side of the bed; I'd be worried about accidentally rolling out of the window in the middle of the night! Still, imagine the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets you'd get to see while lounging in bed…

This bedroom leaves room for little else than the bed, but a wonderful cluster of framed art above the headboard makes it full of life. The fun patterned curtains also add to the the visual interest. From Sweet Home Style via Apartment Therapy.

Our final tiny bedroom is another that can only contain the bed and a single nightstand, but its French doors create a sense of openness. The blue printed fabric canopy is a bold, graphic statement in an otherwise subtle room. From Domino via Flickr.


  1. Your post came right on time! My brother is thinking about moving into a house with super tiny bedrooms--not much room for anything besides a bed... Thanks for the inspiration on how to decorate!

    1. You are most welcome! He should take some pictures and send 'em along... Hint, hint...

  2. I always understood that the difference between a living room and a family room is the presence of a tv (i.e. a family room has a tv in it, a living room doesn't). But that could just be made up.

    Whenever I see rooms with beds tucked into corners, or with walls up close on three sides, I always wonder how these people manage to make their beds without going crazy.

    1. That's a good rule of thumb re: living rooms vs. family rooms. I know my parents follow that rule with their house, but I don't know if that was conscious or not.

      And yeah, as cute as nooks are, making those beds must be a pain in the ass. I have my bed in two corners (the head and one long side are against walls), and I always pull it out away from the wall to make it, so I can walk around the other side.

  3. This reminds me of Thomas Jefferson's (I think--?) bed, which he had built to straddle two rooms, in a bed-sized doorway. If he got out of one side he went into his study. If he got up on the other side he went into a sitting room, I believe.

    1. That is REALLY cool. I'll have to look up some pics. That's certainly one way to make yourself start work in the morning, if you roll out of bed and into your home office (as it was in the 18th century, anyway). Thanks!

  4. Hi Simone,

    This is a great post. Apartment rooms in my area are always pretty small. I especially liked the room with "mood lighting". Thanks!


  5. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!


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