Making small spaces feel generous

SMALL-SPACE SOLUTIONS: Even a small bedroom should have a night stand and a lamp near the bed. If there isn't much floor space, a fold-down table can be mounted on the wall. Lighting can also be wall-mounted, or can even be clipped onto the bed.


    Jul 19, 2013

    Making small spaces feel generous

    MANY a home owner has faced this quandary: There are two bedrooms in a flat. One is the master, while the other is so small, there's barely enough space for a queen-size bed.

    How does one decorate the latter, especially for showings? Is it better to get rid of the night stands and lamps, or will the room look worse without them?

    Small bedrooms are a relatively common problem, especially in a space-constrained city. But demonstrating that a small bedroom is at least large enough to be functional may help ease a sale, said Ms Linette Semino, an associate broker at Warburg Realty in Manhattan.

    That means having more than just a mattress in the room.

    "You'll want a lamp," she said, so there's some light. And you should have at least one night stand, if not a pair, because "it's important for buyers to see where they can put their stuff".

    Ms Semino recalled one apartment she helped sell that had a particularly tiny bedroom with a queen-size bed in it. The room had a closet, she said, "but the door didn't open the whole way because there wasn't enough room. You'd have to push the bed aside to open it".

    She helped the seller reconfigure the space by replacing the queen-size bed with a full-sized model, swopping out the closet door for a heavy curtain and adding a small bedside table and lamp.

    "By making all those changes, people had more room to go in and walk around, so it didn't feel so tiny," she said. "An extra few inches really make the room feel more liveable."

    Mr Robert Garneau, an architect who owns a New York firm called Studio Garneau, agreed that every bedroom should have a table and a lamp.

    "When you're lying in bed, you need a surface for a clock, book, phone or anything else you bring to bed," he said. "It's a necessity."

    If there isn't much floor space, he suggested mounting a fold-down table on the wall.

    "You can use it when you need it and then stow it away when you don't," he said.

    Lighting can also be wall-mounted, or can even be clipped onto the bed.

    For something a little more elaborate, consider a headboard with integrated storage and lighting. Or, even better, a Murphy bed, which Mr Garneau has used in a number of his projects.

    "Murphy beds are very space-efficient and can quickly declutter the space," he said. "You can hide everything you want inside."

    In one apartment Mr Garneau designed, the bed folds down to reveal niches with shelves and lighting on both sides of the mattress. In another apartment, he installed a Murphy bed with a pair of swing-arm lamps behind the headboard.

    "These solutions don't compete with the small space," he said. "They make it feel more generous."