You know when I start a post with a before picture, it’s going to be a pretty big transformation. Last time I did this, I converted a storage closet into a French country butler’s pantry. This time, I was working with a room in a tiny dark apartment and the challenge was to transform it into a lovely bedroom for my daughter to call home, in her very first apartment.
Now, if you’ve never seen a Manhattan apartment, let me emphasize, when I say small and dark, I mean REALLY small and dark. You can see in the before photo how close the next building is, so despite the two windows, there’s very little light coming into this room. It’s a very old building and when you walk into the empty room, you can hardly imagine where you’d put a twin bed, let alone a queen. But queen we did, and much more. So let’s look at how to decorate a tiny dark apartment bedroom.
I started this room the way I do most – with a mood board. I sat down with my daughter like I would a client and discussed what she’d like the room to look like, what colors she preferred, what furniture pieces were important to her and what could be sacrificed for the sake of space. I also took some cues from her bedroom at home (which you can see HERE) to narrow down the concept. Next I did a layout and started selecting pieces that would fit, revising the board as idea became roadmap to reflect the final plan.
The number one aim was to open the space, keeping it warm and welcoming, but light and cheerful. In addition to the space challenge, we also had to work within the constraints of a rental, so walls couldn’t be painted anything other than plain white. We chose creams and beiges for the decor to maintain a bit of sophistication, with touches of pale lilac for an infusion of personality.
Much of the interest was added with pillows, utilizing tufted silk shams for a note of sheen and a Mongolian lamb throw pillow for a cozy luxe feel. The French lilac print on the boudoir pillow hides a lavender filled interior that fills the room with a delightful scent. (For source information scroll to the bottom of the post.)
The furniture pieces were selected for their storage capacity and function, as much as for their aesthetic value. In a room this small, every detail counts, and we made sure the nightstand had enough drawer space to serve a purpose, while the pull out shelf made up for the lack of desk space in the room.
For the dresser we chose a piece that would offer the maximum amount of storage for a relatively small footprint. The octagonal mirror above provides a bit of an edgy feel, keeping the whole thing from getting too sweet.
Given the space limitations, the walls needed to be used, as well, so instead of extra wall art, the jewelry rack becomes a visual focus.
The key to fitting a queen bed into this room, was pushing it up to the wall for as much walk space as possible. We chose not to forego the headboard and footboard as they lend a tailored note of finish to the room. The faux fur skin print throw at the foot of the bed adds another hint or warmth, while the neutral print rug adds sophistication.
To keep the room clutter free, we used decorative items sparingly, but the distressed picture frame on the night stand personalizes the space. The mercury glass lamp is another modern touch, ensuring the room doesn’t get too fussy.
One advantage of the tight spaces between buildings is that you’re not really facing anyone else’s windows, so privacy is not a concern. This gave us the freedom to use lovely sheers on the windows, although there are blinds beneath for when needed.
A little more bling was added to the dresser in the form of these candle hurricanes, and a makeup organizer keeps cosmetics neatly corralled.
Source List – Click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. (This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.)
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