Home Improvement

7 Easy Storage Hacks to Make Your Tiny Bedroom Feel Spacious

  • Drawer divider

    Drawer divider

  • dresser-drawer-dividers

    dresser-drawer-dividers  ((c) Max Oppenheim)

  • Floating shelf

    Floating shelf

We see a lot of amazing master suites here at realtor.com. Walk-in closets the size of small houses. Spacious master bathrooms with room to stretch before you take care of business. Dressing rooms -- nay, glam rooms -- with sitting areas, primping areas, and built-in wardrobes that go on for days.

Yeah, our actual bedrooms have none of that.

Take my "master" bedroom, for example. I have room for a queen-sized bed, and that's about it. I can fit a nightstand on each side (as long as I'm willing to climb over it to get into bed each night).

And my closet -- well, it used to be a fireplace. Santa might be able to shimmy (part of the way) down, but my clothes are hanging on baby-sized hangers.

You heard me right: My perfectly poofy, perfectly pleated collection of vintage dresses are smushed together on something meant to hang a onesie.

Feeling the storage pinch yourself? Don't despair just yet. We found a bunch of solutions that actually work.

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Pull-down rods

The space above your clothes rack is usually wasted. You might have a few folded items shoved up there, or a box or two, but it isn't the best storage area in the house -- yet, anyway.

Pull-down rods are easy to install and give you much needed hanging space. Install the rod anywhere near the ceiling and substantially increase the usable room in your closet.

"They can be installed between a pair of vertical panels on any wall," says Dave Angers with Tailored Living, a custom-tailored storage-solution company. "They're ideal for using the available space that comes with high ceilings."

Just don't overdo it. Your clothes weigh more than you think. (A man's wardrobe can weigh over 100 pounds and a woman's 150 pounds or more, Angers says.)

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Drawer dividers

At first blush, drawer dividers ( $25 at Amazon.com) don't seem all that necessary. Why would you add more to an already over-cramped dresser? But despite appearances, the pros say these things really work.

"The material used in most drawer dividers is thin, so not much space is wasted," Angers says.

It'll free up space, but try to only use your dresser for undergarments, PJs, and stuff you don't worry about wrinkling.

"As much as possible, clothes should be hung up, to avoid wrinkles and stale smells," he says.

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Make use of your mattress

If you don't have enough room for a nightstand (or your nightstand is impossibly tiny), a storage caddy can help you organize books, reading glasses, remotes, Kindles, or basically anything. The caddy is soft, so it fits against your bed without taking up too much room and doesn't require installation. Just slip it in between the mattress and the box spring. ( $7 at Amazon.com).

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Store above the door

You don't have to shove everything in the dresser or closet. If you're cramped for space, just make a shelf above the door.

You can build one yourself if you're handy. But I'm not, so I'd probably opt for an easy-to-install floating shelf ( $24 at Amazon.com). You won't instantly have all the storage space you've ever needed, but you can use it for off-season odds and ends like rain boots.

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And on it

You can also use the back of your closet door for almost anything you need to store, thanks to a slew of diverse over-the-door storage products. Scarves, hats, purses, and accessories have their own specialty over-the-door storage containers, but we like this space best for jewelry.

Reason: Jewelry is tough to store. Hanging pieces on an open container makes small bedrooms seem cluttered, and costume jewelry can tarnish in the bathroom. So a jewelry armoire keeps pieces safe from tarnish, untangled and hidden from sight. And an over-the-door option will free up wall space ( $130 at Amazon.com).

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Think high

This one's trending right now: "Go up to the ceiling," says Alison Lush, certified professional organizer and small space dweller in Quebec, Canada. You'll be glad you did!

If you have a bookshelf, use the top bit for extra storage. If you have open wall space, consider installing wardrobe racks toward the top of the wall. It will give you a place to store out-of-season clothing out of sight, and you can use a curtain to cover the rack if you want to keep it from view.

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But don't stack everywhere

If you have some empty space, it's tempting to fill it with shoe racks, wardrobes or stackable storage boxes. But even tucked away neatly, using all the space is only making things worse.

Your bedroom needs a bit of room to breathe.

"Create a Zen feeling next to the bed, with a little space," Lush says. The room will feel larger and more organized, and you won't feel so tense.

And remember -- organizational tools can help, but they aren't magic.

"Accept the reality that it is a small bedroom, and the walls cannot be moved," Lush says. "The No. 1 one biggest gain to be had comes from editing contents severely and often. It's a bedroom, not a storage locker."