If it has lots of doors, a room that looks spacious at first glance won’t seem so roomy when it’s time to arrange the furniture. That’s especially true in bedrooms, where most of the furniture fits against walls. The biggest challenges and best solutions vary according to the occupant’s age. The larger beds in parents’ and older children’s rooms are usually the hardest to place. Safety considerations limit the arrangement options in young children’s bedrooms.
1. Camouflage and Conceal
Before you decide on the furniture placement, minimize the breaks -- visual and actual -- the doors create on the wall surfaces. Bedrooms in older homes frequently have more than one entry door. If you don’t need both and one of the doors is the only door on its wall, hide the redundant door by covering the entire wall with stationary, floor-to-ceiling curtains or draperies. Then, place furniture against the curtained wall as you would with any other wall. If all of your doors must remain functional, opt for wall, woodwork and door finishes that vary by no more than three shades. When the doors contrast with the walls, the eye stops at each opening. When the color contrast is subtle, the eye flows across the entire surface without stopping, which minimizes visual clutter.
2. Pick Your Pieces
In a large bedroom with lots of uninterrupted wall space, wide dressers and storage headboards with built-in nightstands or bookcases are suitable furnishings. A bedroom with lots of doors has less usable wall space, making narrower furniture pieces more appropriate. Opt for chests or single dressers instead of double or triple versions. If a dresser-height chest doesn’t provide enough clothing storage, opt for taller door or bachelor’s chests, which utilize vertical space. Make sure armoires are at least a foot taller or shorter than your door casings. If that’s not possible, choose a bonnet- or pediment-topped armoire so it doesn’t repeat both the height and shape of the doors. Choose a bed or headboard that’s no more than eight inches wider than your mattress to minimize the space needed for the bed.
3. Work the Windows
When wall space is limited, treat the windows as wall space in parents’ and older children’s rooms. Center beds and storage furniture in front of windows as needed, as long as the furniture blocks no more than the lower quarter of the glass. Make sure each window or window bank is at least as wide as its designated furniture piece. Fake additional window width by hanging curtain or drapery panels -- stationary or drawing versions that open and close -- that extend up to a foot past the window frame on each side. If you have young children in the house and opt for drawing panels, choose cordless versions you draw open with drapery wands, or anchor continuous-loop operational cords to the wall using tension devices; loose looped cords are strangulation hazards. Avoid placing beds and climbable furniture against the windows in nurseries and young children’s bedrooms.
4. Perfect the Placement
Place the bed on the widest wall expanse or in front of the widest window if age appropriate. If that’s not possible, angle a toddler- to queen-sized bed in a corner. Save wall space by floating a baby bed in the center of a room. Place suitable furniture, perhaps a bench or petite writing desk, at the foot of twin or larger beds. Don’t place pieces sharing the same approximate height close together on the same wall. Instead, arrange the furniture so the eye moves in a zigzag pattern. For placement purposes, treat the room’s many doors as tall pieces. Nurseries and young children’s rooms are the exceptions. Place only tall, closed pieces with locking doors within window reach. Leave 30-inch-wide pathways, at a minimum, and make sure you can open storage furniture and inward-swinging doors.