In Praise of Small Spaces

More from Wood’s book on Nancy Lancaster.

Small bedroom

I love small bedrooms. Maybe not as small as the one above, though I would love to sleep here if I were traveling alone. It’s handsome and handy at the same time.

I totally get largish closets, but I’ve never understood the need for a ton of floor space in a bedroom. Am I not making the invitation lists for parties people are hosting in their huge bedrooms? (Miles Redd has been known to host dinners in his bathroom, but with a space like this (scroll down once you get to the page), who can blame him?).

In my opinion, small does not exclude comfort. In fact, comfort is typically an issue of convenience, and those problems are usually best solved by having things closer to you rather than farther away; also how the senses are cared for–the feel, the look, the smell. For my money, keep the floor space–give me good sheets, towels, a few nice rugs, a good mattress, a couple of decently upholstered chairs and if I were really splurging, a kickin’ TV. As long as my behind isn’t knocking things over when I turn around I feel like I have enough space.

Having said all of this, I should confess that I don’t like our bedroom at the moment (too big, among other problems). And bedroom design is not my strong point (yet). More on that topic later. Do you like your bedroom? Have you been in one that you loved? What should I be thinking about as we redesign ours?

4 Responses to “In Praise of Small Spaces”

  1. February 22, 2007 at 3:23 am

    I totally agree about huge bedrooms. What’s the point? Less is more. As I said last evening, I think a reading area (couple chairs, side table) along with one’s bed and nightstands/lamps is all you need. Regarding your current bedroom, it is planned in such a way that it is divided into two areas that can function as sleeping and reading areas. That’s half the battle won already. I think from the beginning you have not been happy with your bedroom. What I believe needs to happen is that we need to create that small space intimacy in a room you feel is too large. How do we accomplish that? Furniture placement…perhaps a smaller sofa? Color choices? Make that reading area feel like a reading nook instead of a reading room. Some built in bookshelves on the lower plane? I don’t know if you like this idea but I’m thinking a couple stained or leaded glass window panels hanging from the ceiling that will divide the areas. They would run perpendicular to the wall where the sofa is currently located. Let’s work on it. Oh, I almost forgot…what’s your budget?

  2. February 22, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Since we probably won’t stay in the house for more than a year or two more, budget is around 2K, not much but we don’ have to buy any furniture, just upholstery, simple window treatments, maybe a rug or two. And paint is cheap (unless you paint a room five times before settling the way I do).

    You may be on to something with a divider. The original room plan called for a fireplace to divide the sitting area and the sleeping area, but when the frame went up, we realized we didn’t have enough room for a fireplace in the living room downstairs, since they were attached the upper one went, too.

    John’s mom gave us a great smaller sofa that is currently in our garage awaiting reupholstery. I have to get rid of “gaurgantua” first though.

    I’ll post some photos so people can get a better look at the problem area.

  3. 3 LM
    February 27, 2007 at 3:47 pm


    I think smaller bedrooms are quite easy to embrace when you have roomy, well-organized closets. I like runningpeanut’s idea of hanging stained or leaded glass panels from the ceiling to define a space. Years ago I saved a picture from a magazine of that very idea. I believe it was in more of a loft-like space, and was used to create a hallway. If you are interested in old stained glass windows, the best source I’ve found (with large selection) is in Benton, AR. Perhaps you could swing by next time you’re in the area.

    How much space do you have in the current seating area in your bedroom? Would a bed fit there? If so, you might consider making the current bed area a massive closet, perhaps with room for a chair or two. If robbing the natural light from the upper window was an issue, you could leave the center aisle, if you will, open and have closets on the left and right sides. Existing closet might become a library, sitting room, mini nursery or playroom?

    It’s been too long since I’ve visited, so I don’t exactly remember if there’s even room for your bed when you first enter the room (so these ideas may be pointless).

    Fun stuff! I look forward to the finished product.


  4. February 28, 2007 at 12:09 am

    Actually Lori, there is room to do just what you recommend, and I love the idea of a closet sitting/dressing area. I’m going to give that some thought.

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