You must make the most of every possible inch of storage space in a small bedroom and that void under the bed can become a vital area for stashing stuff. Check out these practical and stylish under bed storage ideas
There are several ways you can use the space under your bed for storage. You can invest in a divan bed that comes with storage in the form of drawers, shelves, a vast cavity that's accessed when you lift up the mattress or a mix of all these. Or, you can choose a raised bed frame that you can stow under bed storage containers or stand alone drawers beneath.
Beds with pull out drawers
When you think of beds with drawers, the traditional divan bed is the first shape that springs to mind. If you want a classic boutique hotel style feel, an upholstered divan with drawers is perfect. If you want something a little more contemporary, consider a wooden bed base with storage. The Bali Storage bed, shown above, comes with drawers, shelving, cubby holes, pull-down sections and even pull-out bedside tables.
If you do opt for a bed with drawers and want to go for bedside tables too, check that you will be able to open the drawers if a bedside table is alongside the bed.
Make sure that the drawers you go for are sturdy too. You don't want the bottom falling out of the drawer once it's filled with heavy shoes or handbags.
Lift-up storage beds
Lift-up storage beds, where the entire mattress lifts up to reveal the huge cavity in the bed base, are a relatively new innovation. These ottoman style bed storage areas are particularly useful for storing bulky items such as suitcases and duvets. Look for one that is powered by a gas-lift mechanism so that it is not heavy to lift. The Harrison lift-up storage bed, shown above, is also raised slightly above the ground on feet so that you can see a little beneath the bed, which will help a room to feel slightly larger too.
This new Silentnight Pocket Geltex 2000 divan bed features a lift up ottoman storage area at the foot half of the bed and the option for drawers in the top section.
Child and teen storage beds
You can get beds designed for children and teenagers that come with built-in storage too. Deep drawers are particularly useful for storing toys, games and clothes. The Woood Stage bed, featured above, is a little wider than standard beds, but it comes with a built-in bedside table area.
Check out our buyer's guide to cabin beds
Under bed stand-alone storage drawers
You don't have to choose a bed with integrated storage, you can choose separate storage options that either match or compliment your bed, such as the Dinkum wooden under storage drawer, shown above.
Sealed fabric under bed storage trunks are another option. If you push them deep under your bed, you won't be able to see them when standing in the room. Look for ones with a sealed zip lid, as shown above, to keep everything dust free.
If you are going to store items under your bed that are going to be on show, make sure that they are stored inside something attractive, such as a vintage suitcase or stylish box or basket.
High sleeper beds that are practical and stylish are hard to find. So we've done the researching for you. Here we uncover a mix of attractive and functional high-sleeper beds
You can add another floor to your bedroom or studio flat with a high-sleeper bed or loft bed, as they are sometimes called. This Costway metal high sleeper from Amazon, for example, can fit a desk or sofa beneath its sleeping area.
High-sleepers do involve a bit of a climb into and out of bed each night, but this workout is worth it for the space it frees up beneath the sleeping platform.
How high is a high-sleeper bed?
Beds that are categorised as high-sleepers vary in height from 165cm to 190cm plus, with the lower versions aimed at children.
If you, or the person you are buying a high-sleeper bed for, are quite tall and you plan to use the space beneath the bed as a desk area, check that it gives you adequate head room for this. You don't want to be continually bumping your head every time you rise from your work. At the same time, check that the sleeping platform is not too close to your ceiling for comfort either - resulting in nasty head bumps in the night.
When you're researching measurements as part of high-sleeper bed buying research, check the size of the mattress too. Sometimes these beds are larger than standard beds and require made-to-measure mattresses.
Discover the recommended minimum age for sleeping on a top bunk?
High-sleeper beds with built-in storage
Cleverly designed high-sleeper beds with built-in storage really help you to make the most of the space under the bed and are particularly well-suited to box rooms. High-sleeper beds with built-in storage tend to look out of place in large rooms.
With the Pegasus High-Sleeper bed from Dunelm, shown above, every inch of under-bed space has been cleverly accounted for. There is a desk area with drawers and bookshelves, a whole pull out wardrobe with hanging space and a roomy drawer and storage cubby holes behind each ladder tread.
Double loft beds
These are not so common, but seek and ye shall find a double loft bed, which are ideal for small studio apartments. The Noa & Nani Magnus double high-sleeper bed, shown above, has a very flexible room area beneath the bed, where you can place a desk and sofa or wardrobe and the slanted ladder makes the climb into bed slightly easier too. With a height of 213cm, its sturdy frame is designed for fully-grown adults.
What can I use instead of a wardrobe is a question that we often get asked. Here are some fabulous wardrobe alternatives to inspire you
When you have all your clothes out on display on a clothes rail, you can see everything you have at a glance. That's a good thing, because it means that every item of your clothing gets used more regularly and probably more creatively as you start mixing pieces more.
Clothes rails are also useful if you live in a rental property and want something that's compact and easy to move around.
They work well in very small bedrooms where there is no room for a wardrobe too and, as you can see part of the wall behind them, they will help your small bedroom to feel larger.
When you're out clothes-rail shopping, look for one like the ones shown above and below that have a mix of hanging and shelf space.
When your entire wardrobe is out on display, you need a reasonably substantial clothes rail, that won't tip up when overloaded. These don't have to look like something out of a nightclub cloakroom either. Look for a sleek neat frame, like this one shown above, with a sculptural quality.
And, why miss out on a full-length mirror just because you don't have a wardrobe door to place it on? This stylish unit has all bases covered. As well as the bedroom, it could lend itself to hallway clothes storage too.
Built-in wardrobe alternative ideas
Clothes rails can be fixed too. The Cocoarm Adjustable Wardrobe from Amazon, shown above, adjusts to fit the height of your ceiling and you can play around with the height of the hanging rails too. It's also a great option if you want to fashion a walk-in wardrobe out of a box room and at under £50, it's a bargain.
Children's wardrobe alternatives ideas
Clothes rails can work well in children's rooms too and they ensure that your kids can always see what they have to wear. The boxes stacked at the base of the unit above, are ideal for underwear and pyjamas. Children's clothes rails looks cute full of kids' clothes, providing you have naturally tidy children that is.
How to organise your clothes rail
To ensure that a clothes rail always looks great, you really need to work on being tidy and keeping it that way. Shoes and boots should be neatly lined up at the bottom, clothes should be neatly folded on the shelves and clothes should be carefully placed on hangers so they are not bunched up or likely to slip off. Invest in good-looking hangers too. You don't want a mix match of hangers that have come with various clothes purchases and advertise the stores that they came from.
Try to keep like or complimentary colours, textures and patterns together too and separate long, mid-length and short clothes, so that it all works together visually.
Include these inspirational design tips to make a small bedroom feel bigger and function better
Raise your bed
If you can, raise your bed up on legs, by choosing a bedstead, rather than a divan bad. A bedstead will ensure that you can see some of the floor space beneath the bed. The more floor space you can see in a room, the larger and more spacious it will feel. It is an optical illusion, but it works. You can still dress the bed and have a throw or bedspread hanging down from it, just leave it clear of the floor.
Learn how to dress a bed hotel style
Raise your furniture too
If you can raise your wardrobes, chest of drawers and bedside tables up on legs too, you will ensure that even more floor area can be seen in your bedroom, which all goes towards making the whole room feel larger. It also makes everything easy to clean too, you can just whip the vacuum cleaner under there.
If you have space for bedside cabinets, look for a mix of hidden and open storage. Seeing into the unit again takes the eye further into the room and it also gives you a place to display attractive books, as above. While the hidden area gives you a place to keep personal items.
Opt for a stylish storage bed
To maximise storage in a small bedroom go for a stylish storage bed that offers storage in the base. You may have to sacrifice the raised bed design tip for this, but if you are short on wardrobe or drawer space, this is the route to go down.
If you go for drawers, as in the option above, make sure that you have space around the bed to actually pull them out to access.
If you don't have room to fully access drawers underneath a bed, opt for the lift-up variety instead, where the whole mattress can be raised up to reveal a huge cavity beneath; perfect for storing linen, suitcases and bulky jumpers. The style shown above, has raised legs too, so it will also help a small bedroom feel bigger.
Great under-bed storage ideas
Incorporate a mirrored wardrobe
It's always useful to have a full-height mirror in a bedroom, so that you can check that you are presentable from head to toe before stepping out. In a small bedroom, a mirror will also bounce light around the room and help it to feel deeper and brighter. It makes sense to double up full-height wardrobe doors as mirrors. It works particularly well on the armoire above from the French Bedroom Company.
Consider a wardrobe you can see into
A wardrobe that you can see into will make your room feel larger too, as it takes the eye deeper into the room. Look for traditional glazed free-standing units, or more contemporary designs, such as the one above. To ensure they look their best though you will need to keep the contents tidy.
Build up to the ceiling
If you have the budget to go bespoke, make sure that you build your wardrobes right up to the ceiling, so that you're not left with dead space and a dust trap above it. Going bespoke also ensures that you can make your design fit awkward spaces, such as the eaves shown above, and really make the most of every available square inch of space, to maximise storage in a small bedroom.
When you've no room for a wardrobe
If your bedroom is too tiny even for a wardrobe, see if you can squeeze in a more compact clothes rail to maximise storage in a small bedroom. Another one for naturally tidy people, it will also help your room feel a little larger than it is too, because you will get glimpses of the wall behind it through the clothes.
More stylish open wardrobe alternative ideas
Go for blinds instead of curtains
Curtains jut into the room and take up valuable space. Blinds can be fitted within the frame of the window, so they don't take up space either side of it and when they are fully pulled up, they should maximise the flow of light into the room too.
Choose wall or pendant lights for your bedside
If you've no room for a bedside table or just don't want to clutter up your tiny bedside table with a table lamp, then opt for a wall light fixed to the wall instead. Pendant lights suspended from the ceiling either side of the bed can work to make a small bedroom feel bigger too.
How to zone a room with wall screens
Fab concealed desks for home working
Cleverly positioned lighting will make a small bedroom feel brighter and more spacious. Here we show you the lights that work best in a small bedroom design scheme
Keep the main light simple
Your central light in your bedroom should be practical and simple. It's the light that you need to use to light as much of the room as possible as soon as night draws in. Look for a simple unfussy structure that throws light into each corner of the room, like the contemporary Menu Franklin chandelier, shown above. See if you can find a central light that is suitable for a dimmer switch too, so that you can dim the lights when you want to create a more atmospheric effect.
Alternatively, you can dot your ceiling with a few unobtrusive spot lights and let your bedside lights be the focal points of your room.
Fix bedside lights to walls or ceilings
To maximise space on your bedside tables, don't clutter them up with table lamps. This doesn't mean that you have to forego bedtime reading, however. You could choose wall-hung lights instead of a table light. Position them so that they spread a pool of light directly on to your pillow, providing optimal illusion for your latest novel.
To make your small bedroom feel a little more spacious, look for wall lights that don't protrude too far into the room. Wall light that can be moved around to direct the light exactly where you want it will come in useful too. And make sure that the switches are easy to access from the bed
Or, look for a multi-tasking wall light that doubles up as a bedside shelf, such as the one above. Here, the light is projected downwards and beamed upwards through a gap at the top of the shelf. It has three coloured filters too, which you can play around with to set a particular scene and you need to choose whether you want the version with the cable on the left or the right. If they're to go either side of a bed you will need one of each.
Pendant lights, that are suspended from the bedroom ceiling, can also work as bedside lights; these look particularly good when fixed as a pair on either side of a bed. Fix them reasonably close to the wall though, otherwise you'll be head-butting one every time you get into and out of bed.
Floor lamps are another option for lighting a bedside area. Look for one with a slim stand so that it doesn't take up too much physical space in your small bedroom.
Opt for wardrobe lights
Small bedrooms often have small windows and with little natural daylight, you may find it difficult to clearly see what you have in your wardrobe. To counteract this, go for wardrobes with internal lighting. You can also retro fit battery-operated wardrobe lights, many of these work on a sensor and automatically turn on when you open the wardrobe door.
How to dress a bed hotel style
Hotel rooms are often on the small size, because they want to cram the maximum number of rooms into a building. So, if you have a small bedroom, hotel room designs can be provide great inspiration. Whatever the size of the hotel room, however, the bed is always the focal point and can often look like a piece of art in its own right. Here we explain how to dress a bed hotel style and get a similar hotel look and feel.
To dress a bed to make a room look like a boutique hotel room, first, you need the basics, a simple bed with a duvet and pillows dressed in a neutral or single-coloured bedlinen. Whether it's a single or a double bed that you're dressing, go for a two-storey stack of pillows; it will make the bed appear a whole lot cosier and more inviting.
Next, to dress a bed hotel style, opt for a duvet that fits the size of the mattress exactly or one that is a size or two larger than the mattress, so that it can be tucked in. Not only does this make for a neat-looking bed, it will also help a small room to feel a whole lot larger.
Here, this queen-sized bed has a king-sized duvet, which is tucked in neatly at the foot and around the sides, and folded over at the top for added detail.
With the duvet ready, plump all the pillows and lay them down flat on top of each other.
Achieving this look requires a mini-minute workout every morning, but I don't go to the gym so it keeps my arms in shape and it's a whole lot cheaper!
Next, to dress a bed hotel style, opt for at least two sets of cushions in different sizes. The colour and pattern should reflect your own style, but bring in some texture too. Here, we have two bold, burnt orange cushions, topped with two smaller cream cushions embroidered with a circular pattern that subtly mirrors the shapes that make up the Graham & Green wall mirror above. Place your cushions so that they rest almost upright on the pillows behind.
Finally, to dress a bed so that the room looks like a boutique hotel room, add an interesting throw at the foot of the bed. Not only will this look lovely, it will also provide an extra layer of warmth in winter. Here, two recycled wool throws with contrasting fringing from Hemming & Wills have been layers on top of each other, and because I wanted this room to look a whole lot more personal and individual than a hotel room, there are a couple of cute characters being propped up by the cushions too!
How to dress a bed hotel style - the lowdown
At what age can children sleep on a top bunk?
The best storage beds
Fantastic cabin beds
It's a bed in a box
Well, it's more of a bed in a footstool or ottoman, but it's still a small place for a single bed to fold away into. If you live in a studio apartment, this will allow you to keep your sleeping area tucked away in a corner. Or, if you're short on space and need a guest bed, this is a great solution.
When in bed form, the lid serves as a comfy head board.
It's a cardboard bed
If you like the idea of an environmentally friendly, 100% recyclable bed that you can customise yourself, take a look at the cardboard bed from German-based room in a box, available from Happy Beds.
It has a concertina design that promises to ensure that it can be built in minutes with no screws, nuts or tools and it can be packed neatly away when not required. It's available in plain cardboard, white, black or blue. I'd go for plain and customise it with decoupage.
Jazz up your student digs
If you've just arrived at Uni and find your accommodation a little cramped and depressing, don't despair. With just a few minor inexpensive adjustments, you will have it feeling like home in no time. Begin with the bed. Dress it in your own individual style.
Decorate the bed with plump cushions so that during the day it can almost double up as a sofa and drape a cosy throw at the end too.
Decorate those bare walls with posters, your very own artwork or wall stickers. Just make sure that anything that you put up will not leave a mark behind once it's removed at the end of your tenancy.
That bright ceiling light is great for studying, but when you want to prepare for a big night out or chill at home with your friends you want to take the luminosity in the room down a notch or too. Opt for a couple of funky side lights or perhaps a contemporary take on traditional fairy twinkles.
Click here for more tips on how to make your rental property feel like home
Walls aren't just for paintings
So, you might not have the luxury of huge walls upon which to hang paintings. But, surely you will have some walls, and they can't just be made to look like a pretty space. They must be made to work. If you live in a studio flat, you might want to put a bed on one of them, such as this one here by Furl. Wall beds, or Murphy beds as they are sometimes known, have come along way since they were first invented around 200 years ago, by a guy who, no surprises, went by the name of Murphy.
This, for example, is not just a full-length mirror, it can be pulled down and opened up to become a double bed. Furl also do a version that doubles up as a shelving unit, initially we presumed that the shelves would need clearing when the bed is required, but within the unit is a clever mechanism that ensures that the shelves remain level throughout so their contents can remain on them!