The thought of having a small room can be quite scary. What if you don't have enough space to store your stuff and still live in the room?! I've had the small-room-scares before too, but I've decorated my personal living space where I eat/write articles/sleep/relax, even wash my clothes, in such a way that my not-so-spacious room is tidy, but still comfortable to live in. Here are some tips to take your worries away and make sure you make the most of your small space - whether it's a student dorm, a room at your parent's house or a complete house!
Give items multiple purposes
My room is too small to fit a large bed permanently, but I still want to be able to have guests over. Solution: a 1-person bed I can expand to a larger 2-person bed. I don't have any space for a couch but I still want to be able to have a place to relax, apart from my desk - so I have this beautiful botanical flower-printed plaid my amazing mother made, including some pillows with the same pattern, which transforms my night-time bed into a day-time couch. My bed has three purposes and it always looks great!
Maximize the use of clothes hangers
My closet is quite small but I still want to be able to fit all my clothes in there. Solution: hang three items of clothing on just one clothes hanger! I have wooden clothes hangers that can be used to store one pair of jeans, one dress and a jacket. Invest in some of these and you'll see your closet seems a lot bigger now!
Carefully store your stuff
You don't want to clutter your room with many boxes and loose items lying around - that's why you should think of spaces where you can 'secretly', or actually, hide stuff. I have many large white boxes spread through my room but you can't see most of them - that's because they're in/on top/underneath of pieces of furniture. The example you can see on the image below is the box in which I throw dirty laundry - safely hidden in my closet, but still easy to grab when I want to do laundry.
Use monochrome colors
To make your room seem less cluttered and more spacious and clean, you have to think of what colors go great together: using many colors and buying random items can look great - that's for sure - but it won't make your room seem bigger. I personally went for a white/wooden furniture 'theme'. I jazzed my room up with colorful accessories, but the base looks clean and minimalistic.
Mirrors will make your room seem larger and more open.
Storage as decoration
You won't have much space for cute decorations (but make sure to keep them there, though - it makes your room feel more personal!) - so in order to make your room seem tidy yet cosy and well-decorated, see your storage solutions as decoration. Think of cute-patterned baskets, tins and crates.
Don't clutter your desk
My apartment doesn't have a shared living room, so I have eat, but also write articles/do homework/answer emails on my desk. I don't want it to be cluttered so I won't be annoyed by all the work I still have to do during my relaxing-time. I rather refer to my desk as a 'living room table', even though I don't have a specific living room - I just want it to be a table rather than an office/school desk. Doing this as well keeps your view of the (probably) most important piece of furniture in your room clear and it won't make you stressed out.
Store stuff under your bed/closet
I think it's obvious I hate messy rooms and I like to hide stuff. But - this keeps my room tidy! Go have a look around your room - search for places where you can put away textbooks, suitcases and other items. Suggestions are: under your bed, under your closet.
All these practical tips could make your room look a bit sterile - bring some life into your room with cute plants. Cacti are the best - because they don't need water that often. If you're not at home for, say, a week, you won't find dead flowers by the time you get home.
You can have a messy area.. but make sure to hide it!
I have a little area in my room I like to call the 'messy corner' - it's about one squared meter of space where I store necessary but not so interior-design proof stuff such as my flat-iron, detergent and simple things like scissors. It's a little area behind my wardrobe but next to my desk - this way, you can't see it when entering the room but I can easily grab the things I need whilst working.
Decorate your walls
This won't take up space but it will make your room feel more personal. Some suggestions are old maps, beautiful illustrations from magazines like Flow and vintage posters - and, of course, use washi tape to put these on the walls!
Buy room dividers
Living in a small room can make you feel claustrophobic. Investing in some room dividers (or just simple curtains will do the job as well!) can make your room feel like a super-tiny apartment, rather than just a small room.
Look at that sombrero my mini cactus is wearing. The person who sold it to me had a funny remark: 'the cactus has an identity crisis: it's an Italian cactus with a Mexican sombrero!' - hehe.
Look at what you really need
I didn't take everything I own with me when I moved out. I made sure to only take the items of clothing I really wear with me, just like I didn't take unnecessary decorations I didn't like anymore. Don't see it as leaving stuff behind - see it as a fresh start.
Leave your windows uncovered
Don't put up heavy curtains - instead, look into roller-blinds. You can leave them up during the day and you can easily look through your window without thick curtains covering up the sides. This makes your room feel more spacious!
Go to IKEA
IKEA doesn't only have awesome and affordable items - you can also go there for interior inspiration. The best part about this - when you see an item you really like, you won't be surprised by high prices. And no, this isn't sponsored - IKEA has been my second home for the past few weeks.
Even though having a super-clean room sounds extremely appealing, adding some personal touches will make the room more 'you' and also make it more cosy. Just experiment - I hope these tips will help you in the future!