There isn’t a magic trick to the layout of the small bedroom. “There’s usually an obvious main wall to put the bed, and I don’t like to get too clever as far as placement—like floating the bed frame in the middle of the room or at an angle in the corner,” says Max. The designer also suggests placing the bed in the center of the main wall, rather than pushing one side up against the adjacent wall. “Having room to walk on either side is key not only for room flow but also to give you space to make your bed, if you’re into that sorta thing,” he says.
You’re not limited to whites or neutral color palettes when it comes to the walls of a small bedroom. “I don’t buy into that whole ‘Never paint a small room a dark color’ design dogma,” says Max. “I say embrace the size and moodiness of a small room and even play into it. Painting a room a charcoal gray or navy blue or olive green can be chic and sexy.”
Whether you go for a moody hue or stick to a crisp pale shade, adding plenty of light sources is key to keeping the room from feeling dark and claustrophobic. “Decorative overhead lighting like a pendant or chandelier (instead of ceiling cans), bedside table lamps, a floor lamp, and even reading sconces will add to the ambience,” he says. “Like Andy Warhol said, 'I believe in low lights and trick mirrors.'"
"I know people think it’s calming and minimalism is all the rage now, but I don’t think I could sleep in an all-white room," says Max. "I generally like cooler colors in a bedroom—blues and grays as opposed to warm tones. Black-and-white always worksm and can be a good foundation—like in a patterned area rug—to layer in some color. I think everyone would be a little happier if they had some pops of color in their bedrooms."
A smaller space doesn’t mean smaller furniture. “One of my pet peeves is miniature bedside tables. Especially next to a larger bed frame and mattress—tiny nightstands can look so dorky,” says Max, who advises his clients to buy normal-size furnishings for small spaces. “It can actually make a small room look bigger and will be more useful and functional,” he adds.
Another one of our favorite small bedroom ideas is to create the illusion of space. "Hanging drapery as close to the ceiling as possible is a design trick that actually works,” Max says. “It’ll bring the eye up. While we’re at it, a good trick for picking curtains is to match the fabric to the wall color. It’s modern and can be nice in a smaller space, because your eye won’t be distracted by contrasting colors.”