5 items interior designers never have in small bedrooms — we asked the experts

Get rid of these small bedroom items, ASAP

Small bedroom with double wooden bed frame, side table, and decorative egg chair in the corner
(Image credit: Life Created, for Living with Lolo)

There is a good reason why interior designers never have these items in small bedrooms. The place where you sleep should be welcoming, relaxing, and inspiring rather than energy-sapping and overwhelming. 

Anyone who has had a tiny space to work with will know that this is not the easiest set-up to get right. There may be plenty of items in your small bedroom that look cluttered and are causing it to be messy and dysfunctional.

So if you need a hand at clearing the way and simply creating a more inviting sleeping space, no matter how tiny yours is, we can help with these small bedroom ideas.

Items interior designers never have in small bedrooms

When it comes to keeping a small space cozy and not claustrophobic, you need to be strategic with what you keep on display. "Certain items might not be suitable for a small bedroom due to space constraints and potential clutter," says Jennifer Davis, Founder and principal designer of Davis Interiors. 

Decluttering a small bedroom is the place to start, but then there are some items that designers think should be avoided at all costs. Though some outdated decor rules can be bent, there are some easy steps you can to ensure you're making the most of your small bedroom.

White woman with long golden blonde hair wearing animal print rust colored dress in white room near window is designer Jennifer Davis
Jennifer Davis

Jennifer fell in love with design at a young age and has been working in the industry for over 25 years. She has developed an eye for detail and a talent for creating timeless designs. Jennifer offers a balance of creativity and forward-thinking with a structured, organized, and detailed mentality. Jennifer is driven by her deep passion for design while curating an exceptional client journey, ensuring pure delight from the very beginning to the end.

1. Oversized beds and bulky furniture

Bright throw over monochromatic bedspread in cozy small space with soft lighting

(Image credit: @highboyla)

Although going big decoratively can often add the drama that a small space needs, every designer we spoke to warned that bulky bedroom furniture was an absolute no-no in small bedrooms. 

Davis explains why: "Large furniture pieces, like four poster beds, sleigh beds, oversized dressers, or bulky closets, could overwhelm the limited area, making it feel cramped." 

Instead, choose slimline frames that are more ergonomic in design and visually more restful. Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight agrees: "Bulky furniture should be eliminated in the case of smaller bedrooms.

"Go for multi-functional products that have minimal elements of decoration."

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York.

2. A dresser or second closet

Open wardrobe with folder knitwear on display

A calming open wardrobe space created by @apkipps

(Image credit: @apkipps)

And for those of us who love all the clothes, rethink your closet strategy if you are dealing with a small bedroom space."If at all possible, you should never keep a dresser or other wardrobe in a small bedroom," advises Bethany Adams

"Consolidate your clothing so that fits into the closet or commandeer an even smaller room to use as a walk-in dressing room.  Keeping the functions of a space to a minimum means less furniture, less clutter, and less chaos in your small sanctuary." 

Think outside the box, especially if you want a minimalist small bedroom space. Consider lighter clothes storage solutions and see how you can max out the space with additional stackers and closet organizers

Bethany Adams
Bethany Adams

Bethany Adams has over 15 years of experience designing and project-managing high-end residential projects all over the US. She started her design firm in Louisville in 2015 and before worked for several designers and architects over the course of a ten-year career in Chicago.

3. Single function furniture

Small bedroom with double wooden bed frame, side table, and decorative egg chair in the corner

(Image credit: Life Created, for Living with Lolo)

Similarly, interior designers do not have time for furniture that isn't working hard at multi-functioning. In a small bedroom space, everything needs more than one purpose. 

"Consider opting for smaller-sized pieces or reducing the quantity to create a well-organized and visually appealing space," recommends Lauren Lerner, CEO and founder of Living with Lolo.

"To optimize space in a small bedroom, consider adding furniture with multiple uses, along with vertical furniture. This clever approach not only maximizes functionality but also adds aesthetic appeal to the room."

If it's a small bedroom storage solution, make sure that it is saving on floor space in a big way, and get creative where you can. Style a small bedroom chair to perfection so that it anchors the room decoratively, and serves as essential seating, without negatively imposing on square footage.

"The key is to make every piece of furniture work harder, optimizing the space while maintaining functionality and a sense of openness," says Marta Balazs Interior designer and founder of Embee Interiors.

Lauren Lerner, Living with Lolo
Lauren Lerner

Lauren Lerner is the principal designer and founder of Living with Lolo, the interior design firm based in Scottsdale, AZ, since 2017. Fueled by her love for clean lines, mixed metals, colors, and timeless pieces, Lerner thrives on bringing a client’s home to life from the very beginning.

Marta of Embee Interiors
Marta Balazs

Marta Balazs is the founder of Embee Interiors and passionate about helping people feel good in their homes. Balazs leans on Scandinavian style influences and aims to create thoughtful spaces that are calming and balanced.

4. Too many trinkets

Cozy boho bedroom with apricot walls, soft bed linen and cushion covers

(Image credit: @goldenhourabode)

The occasional trinket here and there will add a little personality, but in a small room, there is a very fine line that should you cross it, will put you into cluttered territory. As I wrote for our sister site, Homes & Gardens, a rule of three trinkets is pretty sensible for most spaces. Consider less if styling a small bedroom nightstand in particular, or somewhere with less available surface area.

"Additionally, too many knick-knacks can create visual chaos, making the room appear smaller and more cluttered," suggests Davis. Keep surfaces clear, and dust-free, and even the tiniest bedroom will appear more spacious as opposed to looking a little messy and claustrophobic.

5. Workout equipment

Corner of a cozy bedroom with sheer drapes, casually styled chair and wool yarn

(Image credit: @apkipps)

Sure we work from bed occasionally, however, we could all do without our dumbells that close in the night. Thankfully, Davis says we can write these off too: "And of course the obvious one, workout equipment," says Davis. 

A yoga mat might pass, but anything beyond, give it another home. If you just like having aesthetic workout equipment close by, try to make sure they aren't visible when you're not using them.


What is the biggest mistake people make when styling small bedrooms?

Not being thoughtful is a major culprit when it comes to fitting out small bedroom spaces. Be conscious of how furniture pieces will interact, and avoid anything excessively busy.

"Bulky furniture and unused items! Clutter kills small rooms. Extra seating (just because an armchair looks nice in the corner), excessive decor, or unnecessary furniture pieces should be removed to prevent a cramped feel," adds Balazs. You want to give your room a sense of openess where possible.

"In a small bedroom, I steer clear of pieces that overwhelm the space. Take, for instance, bulky furniture like oversized dressers or massive bed frames — they tend to engulf the room, leaving little breathing space. For instance, beds with hefty frames or chunky dressing tables might end up dominating the room, making it challenging to move around comfortably," adds Balazs.

What is making my bedroom look smaller?

In a small bedroom, you need to be very conscious of not overwhelming the space. Sweet, restful sleep is made much easier in streamlined surroundings that feel lofty. As well as bulky furniture, overly excessive detail, or even large lighting and other fixtures you might not think impact, you might want to reconsider: "Oversized ceiling fans can overwhelm a small space also," adds Davis.

It is all about putting that vertical space to good use and working with natural light to enhance the space. In case you forgot, "Mirrors are your best friend!" says Balazs. 

Wall-hanging, or leaning, mirrors can quickly make a small room look bigger by bouncing light around. We would recommend choosing a frame that will add a modern touch to your space too. "They reflect light and make the room appear larger."

How big should artwork be in a small bedroom?

Though it not might be the first thing that springs to mind, going big with decorative accents can add just the right amount of drama to a small space. "I also like to apply the less is more approach here, get less but oversized artwork for your walls," continues Balazs.

It's all about balance, and choosing a bold focal point that doesn't feel too busy. Lerner tells Real Homes how even complicated patterns might be detrimental to a small bedroom that you are trying to visually open up: "I would never have dark or large furnishings, extra large bed frames, too many patterns or wall decor in a small room as it will make it appear even smaller and cluttered."

If there's one thing to avoid in a small bedroom it's oversized furniture that just doesn't fit. "Look for smarter, space-saving solutions like wall-hung bedside tables or shelves. These not only save floor space but also add functionality without encroaching on the room's limited footprint," says Balazs. 

Steer clear of displaying anything in excess — be it belongings or patterns — of overly large furniture, and stay in the know about the warning signs that it's time for a declutter to keep your small bedroom space beautiful. Your hoarding days are over.

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Former Deputy Editor

I'm Cam, the former deputy editor of Real Homes who worked on the site from 2020 to 2023. As a renter myself, sharing a home with two friends (and my cat) in London, I know all too well the challenges that this can pose when it comes to creating your perfect setup. As someone who has always loved everything interior design-related, I cannot rest until a home feels right and I am really passionate about helping others get there too, no matter what their living situation, style, or budget may be. It’s not always the easiest to figure out, but the journey is fun and the results are so worth it.

After interior design, travel, art, and photography are my next big passions. When I’m not writing or editing homes content, I’m usually tapping into other creative outlets, exploring galleries in London or further afield, taking photos, scribbling, or drawing!