Your bedroom called, and it's looking for some love. While we tend to obsessively arrange (and re-arrange, and re-re-arrange) the rest of our house, bedrooms often get left out, maybe because they're more private, and less likely to be viewed by judgy houseguests, or maybe because the primary activity that takes place in them is (you guessed it) sleep.
But whatever the case, it's a well-known fact that re-arranging your bedroom can help improve your mood and even your sleep cycles—so there's no reason to avoid optimizing this space the way you would any other in your home. Dealing with a wonkily-shaped layout or a tiny footprint? Nothing to lose shut-eye over. We asked two of our favorite designers—Aly Morford and Leigh Lincoln of Pure Salt Interiors, a studio that has become synonymous with a brand of approachable yet elegant California-chic design—to weigh in on the bedroom layouts they return to again and again... both for giant bedrooms and itty-bitty guest rooms alike.
Meet the Expert
Aly Morford and Leigh Lincoln are best friends who cofounded Pure Salt Interiors in 2015 and have been bringing their bright and airy beach vibes to homes ever since.
So start arranging—you'll likely find that it makes both your waking and sleeping hours much more enjoyable to be able to end and start your days in a bedroom you love. Read on for our favorite layouts and tips to try.
The Primary Suite With Sitting Area
The term “Primary Suite” is now widely used to describe the largest bedroom in the home with an en suite bath, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term “Master.” Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.
The Layout: "Given the room's large floor plan and vaulted ceiling, we wanted to play with scale and source pieces that would allow the layout to be fully utilized, while still feeling clutter-free," says Leigh Lincoln of Pure Salt Interiors. "The fireplace & built-ins were a natural focal point of the room, so you'll notice that everything is directed toward them! We love this layout because it's a perfect example of how the scale of every piece from the furniture to the lighting are instrumental in creating a functional layout."
The Bed: A king-sized bed with a four-post style frame draws the eye upward to show off (and make use of the space afforded by) the vaulted ceiling.
The Extras: This space (and the existing architectural details of the built-ins and fireplace) made it a natural fit for a small conversation area in front of the bed. A small round rug anchors and "defines" that space, without making it feel cumbersome or obstructing the flow of the rest of the room.
The In-And-Out Primary Bedroom
The Layout: Designing for a room surrounded with doors on three sides can be tricky—but the end result is so worth it. "While we didn't have a large floor plan to work with here, the views outside this primary bedroom were grand," recalls Aly Morford. "Given the small footprint, we also decided to use pendant lighting to maximize the functional space in the room. The end result is an airy and open oasis!"
The term “Primary Bedroom” is now widely used to describe the largest bedroom in the home, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term “Master.” Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.
The Bed: Keeping the bedframe simple (while still evoking the natural elements outside with a hint of warm-toned wood) allows the focus to stay on the view. (No sightline-obscuring footboard here.)
The Extras: With a view like this, any chance to admire it is a plus. "The existing placement of doorways and windows didn't allow for the bed to face out to the ocean, so we added in a small seating area & custom floating mirror opposite the bed that took advantage of the view and created the illusion of a bigger space." Now the homeowners get a magnified ocean view no matter which way they look.
The Kids' Bunkhouse
The Layout: Built for the most memorable sleepovers, this two-beds-in-one arrangement accommodates growing kids just as well as it does guests. "This is the client's vacation home, so every room had to be designed with extra guests in mind," says Morford. "This kids' bedroom was no exception—the floorplan was small, so we decided to bring in a bunk bed to maximize sleeping space. We kept the furnishings in the room super minimal to not make it visually cluttered, but included these adorable cane nightstands for a little bit of added storage outside the closet. In our opinions, less is almost always more!"
The Bed: This clever bed does double-duty, serving as extra sleeping space for guests (and guests' kids), but also growing with the family—a child can start out on the top bunk, then move down to the full-size bed as he or she grows.
The Extras: Cane nightstands bring in a little beach-chic element, while palm print wallpaper feels fun enough for kids but graphic enough for adults. A durable woven rug underfoot helps warm up the space without becoming a trap for tracked-in sand.
The Small-and-Symmetrical Primary Suite
The Layout: Making a primary suite feel, well, regal when it's lacking in square footage isn't always easy, but again, the Pure Salt designers emphasize that less is more. "This primary bedroom layout was a fun challenge because we were working in an especially small footprint (the apartment unit is in a highly developed part of Los Angeles)," explains Lincoln. "To keep it feeling open, we kept furnishings to a minimum and really leaned into the styling to let the room shine."
The Bed: This bed strikes a balance between luxe and space-conscious, with an upholstered headboard that lends softness without taking up too much space (thanks to its largely vertical footprint). A crisp white shade of upholstery helps it avoid feeling overbearing in the space.
The Extras: "When working in a small layout, we often utilize pendant lighting to not take up precious floor space," notes Lincoln—and in this room, it really adds a grown-up touch.
The Open Walkway
The Layout: "In this bedroom, we had a good size layout to work with, and a very open flow between the balcony and primary bathroom spaces," recalls Morford. But these two adjoining spaces also required a spacious walkway that would make it easy to move between them. "We prioritized keeping the walkway out to the balcony open and unobstructed," she says, leaving a wide and generous space between the bed and the TV.
The term “Primary Bathroom” is now widely used to describe the largest bathroom in the home, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term “Master.” Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.
The Bed: "Given the size of the room, it was important to source pieces that would accentuate that and feel appropriately scaled," Morford says. A large bed was able to fit into the room without compromising the walkway space.
The Extras: In keeping with the scale, larger bedside tables were added—and an oversized plant makes clever design use of an irregular jut in the wall near the bathroom door.
The Fireplace Feature
The Layout: When a room has as much gorgeous historic character as this one, it's only right to show it off to its full advantage. "This project was a fun challenge," says Lincoln. "We wanted to be sure to showcase some of the focal design elements in the room like the fireplace mantel—We kept the layout classic in this room to ensure timeless functionality, but really leaned into textures and furnishing pieces that gave that slightly European flair."
The Bed: Dressing the bed in a dreamy palette of whites echoes the architectural details throughout the space while letting them take center stage. A white upholstered headboard lends a luxe touch without drawing attention away from the character of the room.
The Extras: A "smart" mirror TV keeps the fireplace wall looking elegant and timeless when not in use.
The Corner Entry
The Layout: An angled entry in the corner creates an unexpected flow through this bedroom, but luckily the square-footage was high enough that even multiple furniture pieces won't create a traffic jam.
The Bed: "Any bedroom with high ceilings deserves furniture and decor that celebrate it!" says Morford. "In this room, we brought in this gorgeous canopy bed and linen pendant lights on either side to draw your eye up and highlight the scale of the room."
The Extras: A seating area lends an even more luxuriant vibe to the room. "Because there was extra space at the end of the bed, we added in the accent chairs to make this room even more of a relaxing sanctuary for the homeowners," Morford explains.
The Kids' Command Center
The Layout: Proof positive that a small space can still hold major wow-factor. "This is probably one of our favorite kid's bedrooms that we've designed to date, as our clients wanted to do something super unique for their son to make his room feel special," says Lincoln. "Since we didn't have a large floor plan to work with, we decided to build up and add functionality to the walls!"
The Bed: A smaller bed was just right for this space, both because of its dimensions and its pint-sized inhabitant. But the details make a big impact: the pegboard system extends to behind the bed, keeping the cushioned headboard securely in place with sewn-on peg loops.
The Extras: Without a doubt, the pegboard system is the crown jewel of this cool bedroom. "With this fully custom pegboard wall feature, we were able to add extra wall storage, a built-in desk, and didn't have to cram a lot of furniture into a small space to make it functional," Lincoln explains. "The end result is an incredibly cool room that still feels open & airy!"
7 of the Smartest Ways to Lay Out a Small Bedroom
As an expert in interior design and bedroom layouts, I can assure you that re-arranging your bedroom can have a significant impact on your mood and sleep quality. The bedroom is often neglected when it comes to organizing and decorating, but it shouldn't be. It is a private space where you spend a significant amount of time, so it deserves some love and attention.
To demonstrate my expertise, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the article. The first concept discussed is the "Primary Suite with Sitting Area." This layout is ideal for larger bedrooms with a spacious floor plan and a vaulted ceiling. The key to this layout is playing with scale and sourcing furniture pieces that maximize the available space while maintaining a clutter-free environment. The focal point of the room, such as a fireplace or built-ins, should guide the arrangement of furniture. In this layout, a king-sized bed with a four-post style frame draws the eye upward, taking advantage of the vaulted ceiling. Additionally, a small conversation area in front of the bed, anchored by a round rug, adds a cozy touch.
Next, we have the "In-And-Out Primary Bedroom" layout, which presents a unique challenge with three surrounding doors. However, the view outside the bedroom makes it worth the effort. To optimize the space, a simple bedframe that complements the natural elements outside is recommended. A seating area and a custom floating mirror opposite the bed take advantage of the view and create the illusion of a larger space.
For kids' bedrooms or guest rooms, the "Kids' Bunkhouse" layout is a great option. This arrangement maximizes sleeping space with a bunk bed, making it perfect for sleepovers or accommodating extra guests. To avoid visual clutter, the furnishings in the room should be kept minimal, but functional. Cane nightstands provide added storage, while palm print wallpaper adds a fun touch. A durable woven rug adds warmth without trapping sand.
In small primary suites, the "Small-and-Symmetrical Primary Suite" layout can create a regal feel despite the limited square footage. Keeping furnishings to a minimum and focusing on styling allows the room to shine. An upholstered headboard that doesn't take up too much space, along with pendant lighting, adds a touch of luxury.
The "Open Walkway" layout is suitable for bedrooms with a good-sized layout and an open flow to the balcony and primary bathroom spaces. The priority here is to keep the walkway unobstructed. A large bed that fits into the room without compromising the walkway space, along with larger bedside tables, creates a balanced and functional layout.
In bedrooms with historic character, like the one in the "Fireplace Feature" layout, it's essential to showcase the focal design elements. Keeping the layout classic and focusing on textures and furnishing pieces with a European flair is key. Dressing the bed in a palette of whites echoes the architectural details and allows them to take center stage.
The "Corner Entry" layout features an angled entry in the corner, creating an unexpected flow. With high ceilings, the room deserves furniture and decor that celebrate the vertical space. A canopy bed and pendant lights draw the eye upward, while a seating area at the end of the bed adds a luxurious touch.
Lastly, the "Kids' Command Center" layout proves that a small space can still have a wow-factor. By utilizing the walls for storage and functionality, this layout maximizes the available space. A smaller bed with a pegboard system extending behind it adds a unique touch. The pegboard wall feature provides extra storage, a built-in desk, and eliminates the need for excessive furniture.
These are just a few examples of smart ways to lay out a small bedroom. By considering the unique characteristics of your bedroom and utilizing creative design strategies, you can transform your space into a functional and visually appealing sanctuary.