How to Style A Small Apartment Bedroom

I decided to share a guide around what I’m currently up to aside from my usual travel guides. I have kind of slowed down adventuring, although I still have plenty of travel guides to share coming soon! I’ve just been trying to thrive living in a place where I have a life, with a job, with friends in the city, and being in a church community. I spend most of my time in my apartment, especially in my room, as I work remotely and also the place where I write up my guides and this guide highlights how I styled my apartment bedrooms. This is my office and the place I sleep in every day, so I wanted to share this to those who are just like me: minimalist adventurers who want to make a comfy (small) place in her home base.

I moved to the huge city of Mesa, Arizona in November 2022. At first, I moved to this apartment around East Mesa and then 8 months later, I moved to this new apartment on the other side of Mesa. Moving can be such a hassle, but it can also become a very fun project to get around to. This year has not been easy for me with all the life changes I had endure, but I’ll publish another post soon on what that means.

I’ve been having fun focusing on styling my new bedroom since recently moving here and I can finally see my midcentury-contemporary themed-room come to life. Although I don’t prefer to have a small room, I have been taught throughout my life to make the most of anything, and I’ve humbled myself to accept whatever I can take if I want to live in a particular city, and honestly, I can live anywhere in the country, but I chose to live here and see what life I can make out of here. Since moving to West Mesa, I feel like I’m going to start a new life again, and I can start by working with my new place.

Here’s my guide on how I styled my small apartment bedroom so you can too!

Don’t be afraid to use a shelf.

I know you’re probably thinking a shelf may take up space, but it utilizes the space pretty well in a small bedroom and is a piece that makes up for the room and one that excites me to see everyday. Tall, narrow width shelves add height to the room and they can be used to display your books, your favorite decor, and to be used as actual storage (without trying to make it too clunky). 

I love using some fabric bins to store my important documents in them. With some apartments, you can choose to use floating shelves instead and I would recommend temporary solutions that get them up like using adhesive shelf brackets or adhesive hooks so you don’t have to do any drilling or holes, which is better to keep things damage-free as possible in renting.

Be intentional on what you curate in your bedroom.

I love putting things together that I know would fit in. I always loved midcentury pieces mixed with contemporary pieces, as you’ll see in some of my pics here of what I mean. Try to envision a theme you feel inspired to go after or look back at a place in your life that you visited that you would love to feel like you’re back in. (For ex. If you visited New York City, you may be inspired by the urban/industrial look or if you visited Iceland, you may be inspired by Scandinavian-styled rooms.) If you’re looking to add pops of color among a lot of white, like how white my walls look, then be intentional to choose things that have color like adding fun vivid or patterned pillows. It may take some time to get the perfect pieces for what you’re trying to envision but it’s always good being intentional if this is a room you care about really living in.

Arrange your room a few times until you feel it looks less cramped.

Before I had my furniture in my room, I did a few mock ups (with my roommate!) on how I should have my furniture arranged in there by digitally drawing on a picture of the empty bedroom. I was nervous about not having all my furniture fit in with a bedroom a tad smaller than my old apartment room. I ended up with one layout and then I kept arranging the layout of my furniture a few times. Especially when I got my white dresser in, I needed to put it somewhere where it’s not blocking the door. You’ll probably have to move your furniture a few times in your room to get it right and for you to determine what needs to go or not.

Plan to use your desk as a multi-functional table.

With little space to work with, I like to use my desk as not just a space where I can place my laptop on but to do everything on: to eat, paint, study and read the Bible, and write in my journal on. However, what I like to use my desk too to do my make up on and to straighten or curl my hair and that’s why I have this small black mirror on my desk: it really does make a great vanity. I did this because there’s only one bathroom that my roommate and I share and there’s hardly any enough counter space. Since a side table may take up more space, I will use my desk to charge my devices and phone on.

Choose a great small desk.

With my point I made above, you would need to choose a desk that’s small enough to fit but still can hold whatever you want on your desk. You don’t need to buy a brand new desk, I literally thrifted all my desks or took it from my family. I do feel like most bedrooms should have a desk in it because there will be things I’m sure you need to work on, on flat surface. You may want to also stray away from choosing a huge chair that can take up most of your space. However, I love my executive computer chair and made plenty space of me to manuever my chair.

Get creative with your closet.

When there are clothes I need to store away but won’t use for the season, I like putting them in bins and just pull them out if I need to use them or I’ll probably swap some clothes out of my dresser from taking out items in my bins. I also don’t have space for my bathroom to use some of my most-used toiletries and I need a place to use my hair styling tools and for my headbands and makeup brushes, so I love using a rolling cart that I can easily pull in and out of my closet. I actually got this tip from one of my favorite bloggers when she used to have a small office to work with (Carly). 

Some older apartments like mine might have closets without any sliding doors, therefore, I had to buy a 84” curtain (you always want to measure your closet) and I found this one I really like by my favorite interior design brand collaborations with Target (Opalhouse: Designed with Jungalow).

Utilize storage below-the-bed.

To me, the best bedframes are those that have space beneath them to give you the option to store things, whether they are drawers that pull out from the frame or they are high platform steel bedframes that give you enough space to push some bins in. I find my underbed fabric shoe storage from Target to be super useful, especially before moving where I can no longer use my shoe rack, and I recommend it.

Choose to display decor that stands out.

I believe every bedroom should have a few pieces that stand out among the furniture. I really wanted to choose a table lamp that not only lights up the room by a lot but can be a statement piece. It was especially a must to choose a sturdy table lamp that can light up a place well since I didn’t have lights attached to my room (I rely on my floor lamp too). I found this black cage wood lamp from Walmart that just goes along so well with my midcentury taste (plus it has so many positive reviews). 

Whether it’s a cute table lamp or some figurines or other table decor, placing them in places where it is not cramped and has a lot of open space is the best place to do so. I also believe if you do use a shelf, that’s the best place to display any special souvenirs you’ve bought from you traveling abroad or in a state you deemed special.

Create a gallery wall and hang artwork high.

You can never say no to showing off some really great artwork, whether they’re real or just prints. I am a sucker for art, if you know me, and I will sometimes display my own paintings like I did in my old bedroom but display other people’s art that I love too. As a trick to make a small room work, I recommend hanging your artwork high on a wall and you want to hang them in a rental-friendly way so I use command strips to hang art without doing damage to the artwork or walls. If you don’t want to make a gallery, another option is using just one huge artwork piece against one side of the wall and that can capture eyes.

Tell me what you thought below!