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hobokenkitchen

Small Bedroom - how small is too small?

17 years ago

Hi all, we are putting on an addition to our row house. The downstairs room will be the kitchen and the new upstairs room will be a bedroom with en-suite bathroom. Problem is both the bedroom and the bathroom are going to be pretty small.

I think the bedroom area is going to be about 12.5 x 12.5 (maybe a couple of inches larger) with 10 foot ceilings and the bathroom will be about 5.5 x 9.

I know it's pretty small for a bedroom, but is it too small?

There is an additional 3.5 ft x 3.5 ft entry into the bedroom to the right of the bathroom.

I just hope we're not making a big mistake here!

We do have another larger bedroom at about 12.5 x 15.5 with 9 ft ceilings and that room feels very spacious, but 3 ft in length is a big difference! I am hoping that the ceiling height difference will help a bit.

Any thoughts/ comments?

Comments (42)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We only use it for sleeping/ reading also. We probably won't even need a dresser in that room BUT we use a king size bed which will fill the space on its own!

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  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That's not small at all...especially with those high ceilings.
    Our bedroom is about 10 x 10. We've got a chest (for blanket storage) and two side tables. That's it. We don't live in that room--no problem. (I do wish it had closets! We've had to convert another room into a closet/cat room/office/workout room!

    One thing I did w/ living room furniture was to place sheets down to represent the space they would take up. Maybe you could do that to imagine your king bed--if you can't "see it" in your head.

    Good luck!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Our master bedroom is 12x12 with an incredibly inefficient design - one wall has two windows (which let in almost no light LOL), the second has the doors to the bath and the hallway, the third has the doors to three (!!) tiny closets taking up the wall. (I would have liked to have the closets rebuilt into one large one with sliding doors so we didn't have that wasted door-swing space, but it just wasn't in the budget.) We have a queen bed, two small nightstands, a small 3-drawer dresser with the tv on it, and a little cedar chest that occupies a little bit of otherwise-wasted space under a window. It all JUST fits. We had to take out the tallboy dresser we used to have because it crowded the room, even though it had the same footprint as the small one. A king would be too much in our room because of its layout, the room would become nonfunctional. A friend of mine has a bedroom of the same size with a king bed and it IS a wee tad cramped but she doesn't mind it. My bedroom has to be very comfortable because I am all too often bedbound, so I spend way too many waking hours there.

    I did get lucky with a nice 8x8 space for the master bathroom though... got to spoil myself a bit on that. I think you can do just fine with a 5.5x9 bath if you use the space intelligently.

    As for how small is too small, 7 feet square is too small. In one of our apartments we had two 7' square bedrooms - we put our queen bed and one nightstand in one, which permanently closed the small closet and we could not open the door all the way before it whacked into the side of the bed, and made the other into a dressing room with our clothes storage!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Our master bedroom is a bit under 12x12 (I think one dimension is 11'8"). The biggest problem I've had so far with it is that it's really difficult to photograph without looking like it's too tight in there, but it really isn't. We have a king sized bed, a pair of nightstands (antiques for the smaller scale of them though we could have fit new ones in there, it just would have looked more crammed in) and a large "wall unit" type piece that consists of two tall thin drawer stacks and an armoire in the center.

    Our king bed is on the smaller (11'8" wall) and frankly that's the only place it MIGHT feel a little tight, though not really (more like it's juuust right). The extra 10" that you will have on that wall will be great though to give the bed a little more breathing room. As far as having the extra 3' in length... well in our room it would be pretty much wasted and just put the tv a lot further from the bed causing us to need a larger tv.

    Here's a plan of the room, you can see the bed does take up most of the floorspace but it's not really "cramped" in there, plenty of room to move around. You can see that adding an extra 3' of length will relaly not do all that much for the way our bedroom is set up. An extra 3' on the width would have allowed us to put more furniture in but I'm happy with what we have (and half the drawers are still empty ;) ).

    {{gwi:1529233}}

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Both of my kids bedrooms are 9x10, and the guest room is 10x11. These bedrooms are fine with a fullsize bed or two separate twins, tight with a queen, difficult with a king (two twins together). All the bedrooms also have dressers and desks.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hmm,
    so maybe with just the bed and two nightstands we should get away with it! I certainly hope so!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think this is a smallish room --- but it is do-able. When I think about rooms this size with large beds, what makes them truly cramped is the dresser or computer stand jammed into the room. Certainly a bed and two nightstands will fit. Since you aren't planning a dresser, I think you will be fine with it.

    My full bathroom is 5 by 7.5 and is fine. My recomendation to you is to make sure that your tub is deep enough. My tub is a bit shallow, but since I'm somewhat slim, I can hunker down into it. My friends who are bigger/chestier both complain that their tubs don't even cover their bodies at all.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We are actually just going to do a shower in that bathroom as we will use it every day. We will put a deep soaking tub in the other full bath. I am one of those people who just can't enjoy a shallow bath!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've thought about what I wrote. I think what has struck me in the past, would be crowded bedrooms where tall, and bulky dressers and entire bedroom sets are placed in the room making it crowded. I think they come from sets which people own before they get the house. What I mean, if you purchase a dresser specifically for the space, there is a better chance it would work. If you place the king bed first, then the nightstands, perhaps there could be room for a carefully chosen dresser. Probably the long and low dresser style vs the tall bulky style. Keep us posted.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hoboken - for the 3.5 entryway, would there be enough room for a bookshelf there? I don't how pressed for space you and your family are. My doorways are 30" which was the 1950's standard. If you center your doorway there would be very little space to put a shelf. But, if you put the doorway to one side instead of centering it, you would have an extra 12" to place a bookshelf. Just a thought.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think the bedroom area is going to be about 12.5 x 12.5

    That's bigger than my master :) And our other two bedrooms are only 10.5x10.5 and 10.5x11. I think you'll be fine.

    Our "master bath" is only about 5 x 7 -- it just barely fits a shower, a toilet, and a sink in it (don't ask how). When you open the door, it hits the toilet. Still, it's better than having no bathroom at all! Someday, I look forward to having pocket doors on that bathroom...

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think we may actually be able to squeeze another couple of inches out for the bedroom making it closer to 12.9 x 13 if we're lucky. Not a big difference, but every inch counts!

    We're actually not TOO tight for space outside of this room. Our existing bedroom (as mentioned) is about 13 x 15.5 with an 8.5 x 3.5 step in california closet and additional 3 x 4 alcove which funnily enough we use for bookshelves (rachelrachel - great minds think alike!)

    Then our third bedroom is about 10.9 x 12.2 but with a decorative fireplace and built ins which look great but take up space. That room has a walk in closet which is really useful. I think we'll get a Queen bed in there if we need to.

    The benefit of the new bedroom isn't just the ensuite bathroom, it's the fact that it's on the back of the house overlooking the back yard, so much quieter then the front bedroom.

    For us that quiet is worth giving up a little space for!

    There's also another bathroom between the other two bedrooms which is great for guests.

    I think it will all work out ok, but there are just so many details to worry about with this remodel. My head sometimes just spins with it all!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Just for your 'gee-whiz' file- IBC building codes specify the minimum size for a bedroom is 70 square ft., such as 7 X 10.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow, this is interesting! I guess it's all relative and depends on what you're used to.
    Our master is about 10x10 with two windows (on adjacent walls) and the door in the 3rd wall. Ceilings are about 6'8".
    Furnishing this room was a micro job: the wardrobe fits exactly between the edge of the open door and the window, which is set exactly to fit the depth of the wardrobe (this is the only wall with neither window nor door). After the window (going clockwise!), I have bookcases to the ceiling because there is nowhere else they can go. One has a glass door, the other two have half-height doors and glass shelves to lighten things up. The corner bookshelf is not full height, so I have a stereo on it to use the space. Having moved round to the third wall, there is the second window, with a dresser under it. The dresser drawers can just open fully without hitting the bedframe. The bed is on the last wall, it's a 5ft wide bed with a head and foot. Instead of bedside tables, we have a narrow overbed table on wheels that goes over the end of the bed and can be drawn up for breakfast in bed or reading or whatever. The (double) wardrobe doors can just open wide without hitting the overbed table. Although it is all very compact, it works for us and has been widely admired. All the furnishings are white with deep red curtains and bed clothes.
    Although we have had bigger bedrooms in the past, I found we simply didn't use the space, so felt it was a bit of a waste. If anything, I wouldn't complain of an even smaller room where the bed reached wall-to-wall (like on a boat!), as long as there were windows and shelving and someplace for clothes storage (not only under the bed!). It would certainly be cosy!!
    The only disadvantage I can think of is that with two adults, one large dog on the floor at the end of the bed and one small dog sleeping under the bed, four bodies can be a little whiffy by morning, so we are glad of two windows and the capacity to air the room thoroughly each day!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    whirlygirl
    Can you show pics.....your bdroom sounds very nice. We may be moving into a house with a similar size bdroom and would love to see what can be done? Thanks

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    If someone will tell me how to post pics, I will be happy to do so!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    OP here. Well we now have framed out and partially sheet rocked the bathroom. The insullation is in and we should get the drywall up next week. I just measured and we will be at about 12.8 x 13 ft. There is a little 'entry way' in addition to those measurements. Not much of a useful space, but maybe adds a more spacious feel? Also I do think going high with the ceilings helps.

    I wouldn't be worried at all except that we have a king size bed and can't (or won't) give it up. With a Queen I wouldn't be concerned at all, but now we are used to a King I find it difficult to sleep in a Queen. I think the width of the room is fine - it's similar to our existing bedroom, but I am still concerned about the length. I guess we'll soon see if it works!

    I would love to see whirly girl's pictures - what size bed do you have? Is 5' a Queen?
    It sounds like you have put your space together very thoughtfully and I would love to see it! I like the idea of the over bed table a lot.

    To post pics you can go to www.imageshack.us
    1; Browse the picture you want to post.
    2; Click 'host it'.

    You will get many different options.

    3; Highlight the one that has the (a) at the front of it.
    4; Right click your mouse and select 'copy'.
    5; Paste the link into the body of the gardenweb post.

    When you click on 'preview' you should see the picture.

    Hope it works - can't wait to see pics! Does someone else have an easier way to explain posting pics??

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I switched using the mater badroom to the second smaller of 3 because it has large windows across one wall facing the back garden. Plus, the master wasn't laid out well to handle furniture due to window/door/closet placement and on street side of house.

    One of the things that can give you more room is not having a footboard. If it were possible for me I wouldn't have one. The room would look larger and much easier to make the bed.

    Even though closets with sliding doors seem to give more room, I replaced mine with two hinged doors (for look, not because I was thinking of a plan). It is a smaller closet, but they gave me an extra 5" to the interior and ability to have more storage on the inside of doors. I was amazed how much this change added space without taking away from the room.

    The suggestion of small bookcases rather than end tables is a great idea. I hadn't thought of that, more storage and less footprint taken up for making the bed/getting into it.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    UPDATE:
    The room is finally finished and we have just moved our bed into it. It came out a fraction under 13 x 13 and I don't think it feels small at all. Also, because it is a new addition it is much better insulated than the front bedroom so it is lovely and cool in there and it faces the backyard so we have lovely tree views. It's very quiet, which for an urban environment is lovely!

    I do miss the spaciousness of the front bedroom a bit, but the quiet, view and coolness of the room more than compensate. We will use this room as our master bedroom.

    I've posted a couple of pics - please excuse the messy bedding - I have to get the steamer out - it's all been in storage for months!

    The bed is a king size bed.I know the room isn't one of these enormouse suites like in new construction, but it has an ensuite bathroom and three closets which isn't bad. I just hope it doesn't prove to be too small when resale time comes!

    Thanks everyone for the help and reassurance!

    {{gwi:2078081}}
    Shot with Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT at 2007-06-28

    {{gwi:2078083}}
    Shot with Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT at 2007-06-28

    Here's a pic of the ensuite bathroom which has a two person shower:

    {{gwi:2078084}}
    Shot with Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT at 2007-06-28

    {{gwi:2078087}}
    Shot with Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT at 2007-06-28

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think it's really nice! Not too small. At resale, it may be just what someone is looking for, so don't worry about it!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    12.5 x 12.5 is not too small at all. You can do a lot in that "small" space.

    Remember, you're posting in the "smaller homes" forum. 12.5 x 12.5 would make a perfectly adequate secondary bedroom in a medium sized (or even a large) home.

    There's another post here about a 9x9 bedroom for a child. Perfectly do-able. (Reading that post, I couldn't help but think how well-prepared that child will be for a college dorm room.)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Chapnc - ok, but it's not a secondary bedroom. It's our master.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think most smaller homes dont have giant bedrooms. Its lovely.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I know exactly what you mean about the quiet. We live on a busy street and moved out of the master bedroom on the front of our house because of street noise plus the light from the streetlights. We now sleep in a much smaller bedroom (10x11) facing the back of the house, and it is quiet, dark, and has a view of the back garden. It is much too small and cramped for a MBR and we are going to get a much larger one out of our home renovation, but I'll miss the little room.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I guess we could have made it a foot or so bigger if we had reduced the size of the bathroom - but we love our two person shower and there's no way we have got it if we'd gone any smaller in the bathroom. I think I'm comfortable with it.

    It certainly doesn't feel small when the door is closed and you get the additional hallway space inside the bedroom.

    Anyway, it is what it is.
    Thanks for the comments!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Your room turned out wonderful. Love the white linens and all done. No footboard, definitely opens up the area. And love the colors, artwork over the bed, end tables. Your have a great decorator sense with all.

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That isnt too small, With the high ceilings too.. Its an average bedroom in my opinion. Not too small not too large.

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I love it. I think it's perfect--not too small, not too large: cozy and luxurious at the same time.

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    hobo, your rooms are lovely and not at all too small. My master in my current house is so small I can't fit a nightstand on both sides of the queen side bed. Well, I could if I wanted to crawl in and out of the bed by way of the footboard!! My new Master is not huge either though. We gave up floor space for a walk in closet and a bathroom that is very large. Right now we have a bathroom that is the size of a postage stamp!!

    I think a room is too small when you have the basic furniture pieces and you still can't vacum or mop without moving furniture or bumping into walls, etc.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Just found this site, and I love what you did with your bedroom, it's beautiful. Your bathroom was done very tastefully, did you have a decorator to design it for you? My bathroom is 5'6'' x 5'.The tub goes on the 5'wall and yes it has a vanity and a toilet. Now that's small.The landing out side the bathroom is 5' x 6'6". I hope you're still enjoyig your makeover.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi Marchella, Welcome. Sounds like you have a small bath like we do. since the small one is the guest it is fine. AND it has two doors. Certainly serviceable. Our master bath is huge and we love it.

    This is a fun forum and hope you stick around. I only drop in once in awhile right now because of my job. I hope things settle down soon and I will have more time to be here.

    Chris

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I didn't see anyone mention one thing: in many states, if a room doesn't have a closet, it doesn't count as a bedroom when you list your house or try to rent it. That theory is incredibly frustrating, so I thought I'd just throw it out there since I didn't know if you were incorporating a closet in that space.
    We just moved to Germany, and it's been very weird to adjust to the idea of closets: no one has them here!
    Our little space remodel is here if you're interested. I really love how your space turned out--looks like there's plenty of room.

    Here is a link that might be useful: our little place

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Good point on the closet. When we had this house built to the way we wanted it I had them leave out the closet in the guest room. BUT there is a place to build in a closet if some day desired. Leaving out the closet for me in that room gave me the room for furniture I needed more than the closet storage space I did not need.

    Chris

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have 2 bedrooms. One is 12x12 and the other is 10x12. Each has a small closet.

    I would have never noticed one BR is smaller than the other if I wouldn't have got out the tape measure.

    My room is the smaller one (because it's got a cable TV outlet) and I have a queen bed, 2 nightstands, an armoire...and no husband. =)

    I think it's fine & no problems with it. The top half of the armoire is the tv, bottom has drawers & shelves...so that's where the undies go, folded pants & sweaters. The rest of the clothes I have in my closet.

    I don't hang out in my BR at any length other than to sleep. I like to watch tv at bedtime...while in bed.

    I prefer the SF in my home to be in the living spaces...not the BR's, so I'm happy.

    I currently store my off season clothes in DD's closet...but she's only 3, so no issues. I haven't thought through the clothing storage for when she's older, but that won't be for a while. I'm not worried. I have many other storage options in my home.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Funny, I don't think of 12X12 as being small.

    It came out really nice!

    Speaking of McMansions, did you ever notice, mommy and daddy's suite is a palace, and maybe the first kid gets a nice room, but after that, the kid's rooms are like 8X10 cells with a porthole. As far away from mommy and daddy as possible. Sad.

    If you have a tiny bedroom and want to save space, you can do things like make a flat plywood headboard, cover it with a little padding and fabric and attach it to a frame, instead of a full bed, so that it goes right up against the wall. And you can attach a shelf to the wall instead of a full nightstand, so you get full use of the floor space underneath.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That's a lovely bedroom and bathroom. Beautiful details. It looks very serene and restful.

    My previous circa. 1867 house had one large bedroom and three small ones... each about 8.5 x 13 and with no closet. They looked tiny compared to the bedrooms in new houses but were perfectly functional and comfortable. I even used on as a master for awhile, with a double bed in it. Worked fine.

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    When I had the master suite created in my DH's home up north, it was crowded for bedside tables too. So I got two wooden tall plant stands, with 12x12" tops. They fit perfectly fine. Then swing arm wall mounted lamps for each side of the bed. Enough room for a book on the shelf below and a glass of water or whatever.

    I never just use an end table when there is an option to have a small chest beside the table. That works even in a small room with limited storage space. Every item has to WORK to make the cut when space is scarce.

    And, in the bedroom in Alabama, I am going to be sorry to leave it for the BACK bedroom, which will become an ensuite master, because it is beginning to look SO comfortable. It is a west-facing bedroom, on the street. It has two PAIRS of windows, and the closet and entry to the bedroom are on a third wall. That leaves one wall which has no windows and no doors or other obstructions. However, I did not want the bed to be sideways in front of the entry door, so had to put the bed first diagonally in the corner between the two pairs of windows. This worked fine for a while, with the wicker chests I use for bedside tables centered between the windows. However, it was hard to make up the bed. So I decided to center the bed in front of the windows on the street wall. I closed the blinds to block the high heat coming through those windows anyway.

    And then I found some floor/ceiling grommet drapes at Tuesday Mornings! That is when I got DH to install crown molding wide enough to mount the double drapery rods, and I started planning 3 layers of curtains...grommet drapes wall to wall on both window walls, sheers on the second drapery rod, and finally the top-down roman shades using 90% shade cloth and Thermasuede fabric as a liner. I am almost done with the curtain project, but even with the shade cloth pinned in place on the west wall, the difference in heat gain is significant.

    This room is 12 x 12 give or take an inch. We changed out sliding closet doors for 2 pair of Jeldwen bifold shutter doors which I painted to match the crown molding and base boards and other wood work. The wicker chests are on either side of a full sized bed, with lots of breathing room. There is a rocking chair near the closet. There is a third chest between the closet and the door to the hall, and a wall mount TV is above the chest.

    So now I've ordered the Hudson queen size storage bed from Room and Board in cherry. It should arrive this month. I can hardly wait. It is a platform bed with no footboard, and no box springs, and it measures 60 x 80. A full bed is 54 x 75, so only a few significant inches of comfort which I look forward to having.

    But when the contractor finally comes, and bumps out the master bath for a tub and a long walk in closet, we'll be moving this new jewel to the back bedroom. This current bedroom will convert to a nice study/guest room. Only we seldom have over night guests, and may just put desks and bookcases in there until we move the contents of the up-north house.

    It seems to me that we have plenty of space in the 12 x 12 bedroom. Since we've repainted and made the room so peaceful, I will now take a horizontal break to meditate or read or chat on the phone. It looks good in natural or ambient light all times of day since northern exposures give true light, and the shade cloth gives a sense of separation from the street. Keeping active pursuits out of the bedroom is conducive to rest and separation from the cares of life.


  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think 12.5 by 12.5 is plenty large. If you're only going to use it for sleeping you may want to consider some bunk beds to maximize the space.

    Here is a link that might be useful: buy bunk beds

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What is up with spammers reviving old threads??

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    well, it's russ again! lol!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hahaha Not going to even open it but getting a laugh trying to picture my husband and I in bunk beds. EEEEKKKKKK

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