Dreaming your bedroom had space for more than just a bed? Or your small guest room was more than a dumping ground?

Small bedrooms can be tricky to decorate, often ending up as unloved spaces with little personality, because we are worried too much stuff  will shrink  them visually. Conversely, small spare rooms can end up as dumping grounds for old fitness equipment, packaging or drying washing.

While a typical master bedroom is usually large enough to accommodate wardrobes and chests of drawers, if you are trying to turn a second or third bedroom into a functioning space to sleep, whether for you or for guests or children, you may be despairing that it is only big enough for a bed and little else.

So how to make the most of every square inch and ensure a small bedroom is both stylish and functional? Here are some do’s and don’ts for making a small bedroom look beautiful.

Do: Copy hotel style

Many boutique hotels have tiny rooms, yet guests hardly notice, as they are so carefully decorated. Copy some of the tricks they employ: A padded headboard, plush throws and multiple pillows will offer a similar scaled-down luxury at home.

Try to slot in bedside tables, even if they are just small shelves, for somewhere to set down a morning cuppa.

Do: Build around the bedhead

In this airy bedroom, a built-in unit around the bedhead makes great use of the limited space without impinging on other walls, keeping an open feel.

Also, as this blue and green scheme demonstrates, adding bright colours to a predominantly white room is an easy way to inject energy and life without closing things in. Stick to one or two hues so things don’t get too busy.

Don’t: Assume it’s too tiny for two 

Even small guest rooms can often accommodate two single beds; consider extra-narrow designs if necessary.

This chic room doesn’t compromise on style, with painted brickwork and a graphic rug adding an industrial attitude. Wall lights are a great space-saving solution, but if they are not an option, try reading lights that clip onto headboards.

If conventional bedside tables aren’t possible, think laterally: Here, two logs do the same job.

Do: Add a feature wall

There is something depressing about an unloved boxroom with zero personality. Painting all four walls the same colour can exaggerate the boxy feel, so instead, create a focal point by adding a wall of luxe paper, textured cladding or, as here, an interesting paint effect.

Next to the white walls, the darker shades and the ombre effect on the back wall lead the eye to it, creating a depth of field. This room may be compact, but it is far from a featureless box.

Do: Go dual-purpose

Multi-functional furniture is your friend in a small bedroom. Here, a bookcase works as headboard, bedside table and home for books all in one. Style-wise, a piece like this also helps to transform a plain white cell into a Zen-like getaway.

Ceiling-mounted spotlights are another smart move in rooms with low ceilings.

Don’t: Under-decorate

The temptation in a small space can be to pare back. But that can end up looking dull and undesigned. Don’t be scared to accommodate some of the elements you might find in a larger room, including pictures, rugs and decorative lighting. The result is a “proper” room – a cosy retreat to which you will enjoy escaping.

Don’t: Choose wardrobes with fussy handles

In this snug sleep space, the wardrobe almost “disappears” thanks to its minimal, hardware-free doors. A glossy finish also bounces light around the room.

A bed with a simple frame is another trick for a snug space, as it appears to take up less space.

Do: Think laterally

Is it a bed, is it a desk or perhaps it’s a “besk”? Our homes are getting smaller, so in the future all bedrooms might look like this one. The smart, integrated bureau is a good idea for an older child’s room, providing a place to catch up on social media or do homework, while the pull-out bed underneath is just the ticket for sleepovers with friends.

In general, going bespoke may be the answer to suit your exact needs and dimensions, so talk to a carpenter or builder about the possibilities.

Do: Use mirrors

It is the oldest trick in the book, but a wall of mirrored wardrobe doors will help a small room feel larger. Ensure the room is chic, simple and tidy, as here, though – reflected clutter and “floordrobes” can look twice as bad !

Do: Copy houseboat style

A lot of inspiration for small space living can be gained from houseboats. Here, a low unit around the edge of the room provides storage and a bedside table without taking up an entire wall, as a wardrobe would.