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Woman & Home
Woman & Home
Millie Hurst

5 small bedroom storage mistakes to avoid if you want a better sleep space

Compilation image of four bedrooms with storage to support expert advice on small bedroom storage mistakes to avoid.

Our bedrooms should feel restful and relaxing, so creating a space that is relatively easy to keep tidy is key if we want to wake up feeling refreshed. Small bedrooms pose a few challenges in terms of storage – meaning it can be hard to keep things in order without resorting to the 'clothes chair' or letting clutter pile up on our bedside tables.

When it comes to organising a small bedroom, we always need more storage than we think we do. But before we go out and purchase storage ottomans and under-bed storage boxes to stash away our belongings, it's worth taking a look at your space to work out what's working and what's not, and thinking about what items you need help storing.

Otherwise, we may fall foul of some small bedroom storage mistakes. So, what should we avoid doing if we want to quieten the visual noise for a restful night's sleep?

Small bedroom storage mistakes to avoid 

We asked interior designers and professional home organisers who have seen it all. Here's how to arrange your bedroom so that everything has a home, and potentially make a small bedroom look bigger in the process.

1. Not maximising dead space

(Image credit: Little Folks Furniture)

Even if you are dealing with a tiny space and think you have exhausted all the potential storage options, we're willing to bet there is still some dead space that could be put to better use. As home organiser Laura Price explains, "Dead space hotspots in the bedroom typically include under the bed, on top of the wardrobe and bare walls." 

These three key spaces are so often overlooked and brimming with potential. Laura says that we often make the mistake of filling our space with large furniture because we believe this will give us more storage, rather than using the empty space we already have. 

"A good example is buying a chest of drawers instead of buying pull-out drawers for under the bed. Both create the same amount of storage, but having under-the-bed storage won’t encroach on the space," Laura adds.

Roll-out under-bed storage solutions filled with vacuum-packed, out-of-season clothing or shoes, pretty baskets that fit neatly above wardrobes, and extra shelving going all the way up to the ceiling will create more space for your belongings. 

2. Underestimating the power of vertical space

(Image credit: Sharps)

When looking for ways to increase storage space, we usually think about squeezing in more furniture. But as any interior designer will tell you, the more floor space visible, the larger a room will appear. So it's essential to use the walls, especially when organising a small space.

Interior designers Jen and Mar from Interior Fox say that underestimating the power of vertical space is the number-one most common mistake they see: "People tend to focus on floor-level storage like a bulky chest of drawers and units, without utilising the full height of the room." The same can be said for most common kitchen organisation mistakes.

Jen and Mar go on to share an example of how using floor-to-ceiling storage in a recent project transformed their client's space. "Our client had a small bedroom with minimal closet space. To address this, we designed a combination of wall-mounted shelves and modular storage units that stretched from floor to ceiling.

"By creating bespoke furniture to fit the room's dimensions, we made use of all the available space. The result was a seamless and stylish solution that provided ample room for clothes, accessories, and personal items."

3. Storing clutter

(Image credit: Heal's)

A well-organised space is impossible to achieve without doing some thorough bedroom decluttering first. Even if you store them neatly, items you never use or no longer love are just organised clutter taking up valuable space in your home.  

Professional home organiser Katherine Blackler from Sort My Space acknowledges that keeping a smaller bedroom organised takes more discipline, and suggests committing to a decluttering rule to keep on top of things.

"Once you decide which items truly belong in the bedroom, as opposed to anywhere else in the home, then consider using the '1-in-1-out' approach to maintain clutter levels," Katherine suggests. 

Other professional decluttering methods include asking yourself, "If I were moving to my dream home, would I take it with me?" to help us distinguish between the items we love, and what might be just glorified clutter.

4. Not rotating seasonal clothes

(Image credit: Go Modern Furniture)

If you aren't rotating seasonal clothes, you're missing a trick. Whether you are organising a small closet with lots of clothes or just trying to make it easier to pick out outfits in the morning, out-of-season clothes are best stored out of the way. 

Professional home organiser Lisa Coe recommends storing jumpers, bulkier coats and other winter items elsewhere once spring arrives, be it in vacuum-pack bags under the bed or in the attic, or simply stored away in a suitcase. 

"If space in your bedroom is at a premium and you’re still struggling after a good declutter, implementing the rotation of seasonal clothing is one easy way to reduce the volume of belongings that needs to be stored in your wardrobe and drawers," says Lisa. 

Just be sure to declutter the loft before you use it to store extra items, otherwise you run the risk of having to tackle storage mistakes there instead.

5. Buying bulky furniture

(Image credit: Ercol)

"The biggest storage mistake that people make in small bedrooms is trying to squeeze in too much furniture or furniture that is too bulky for the room," continues Lisa Coe. 

"If you’re looking to amplify the feeling of space in a small room, then less is more when it comes to furniture. Opt for a tall chest of drawers that make use of the vertical space in the room rather than a wider, low chest of drawers can help to create an illusion of space."

Vicky Silverthorn, a professional home organiser and decluttering expert, recommends carefully planning out your space before purchasing any new furniture. Vicky also cautions against large deep (in height) drawers as these can cause garments to get lost at the bottom. "I’m not a fan of these at all and prefer a much slimmer drawer," she says.

Small bedroom storage ideas

Don't forget the basics of bedroom storage, such as folding clothes neatly using Marie Kondo's "file folding" technique to make the most of your drawer space, and using space-saving hangers.

Opt for slimline, velvet hangers, at Amazon, over bulky wooden ones to free up space and create a uniform and orderly aesthetic. Pro tip: use hanger connectors, also at Amazon, to fit more items in your wardrobe by using more vertical hanging space and less horizontal space. These are ideal for hanging similar items, such as your favourite white T-shirts, as they keep them together and make them easy to find.

Be sure to maximise the space under the bed and on top of wardrobes, and aim to keep your surfaces and bedroom floor as clear as possible to create an illusion of space.

"Don’t forget your shoes – they are often forgotten when planning wardrobes and bedrooms," says Vicky Silverthorn. Consider emulating one of the more stylish IKEA shoe storage hacks.

How do I maximise storage space in a small bedroom?

"Invest in furniture that serves a dual purpose," say interior designers Jen and Mar. "For example, a bed with built-in drawers or a stylish ottoman that opens up for extra storage. Instead of simply an aesthetic bench at the end of the bed, opt for a storage bench. These simple choices of form and function can make a huge difference." 

To keep costs on a budget you could explore the latest IKEA closet hacks to create the wardrobe of your dreams but for less.

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