Boxing Clever: How Best to Make Use of Space in a Box Room

A small box room can be a bit of a problem – maybe it’s not big enough to be a useful bedroom, but any living space is too precious to allow it to become a ‘dumping ground’. In the 1960s and 70s three bedroom homes generally had two decent sized bedrooms and then a tiny box room which the youngest child was destined to put up with (even as a teenager!). Today’s houses do seem to have a better layout with bedroom space more evenly distributed, but of course you may still be dealing with one under-sized bedroom within the family home! Here are some creative ideas as to how to make the best of it…

The Smallest Room

Brighten up a little box room with some clever paint effects…get that masking tape out; shown here is a lovely burst of colour, Spiced Honey, which is of course, Colour of the Year from Dulux.

With a tiny box room, there are a few interior design points which should always be considered. If it has to still perform as a bedroom, turn it into a single room with plenty of storage. A raised bed is a good choice, with storage drawers beneath. If it’s a child’s room, then a raised platform bed with desk and storage space below is a logical idea. However, once past the age of about ten, those not-so-little-ones may prefer a floor level bed! Look at mid and high-level options from Aspace.

If budget allows, consider built-in fitted furniture which, if it’s done well, will utilise every single inch of the available space in a sleek and sensible manner. If the box room is designated as the ‘occasional use’ spare room, then a bed-in-a-box ottoman could be the ideal solution, leaving the room to be used as a study or hobby room on a more regular basis. As a general rule, stick to furniture that has a small ‘footprint’ – i.e. that is slim and tall, using up wall space rather than floor space. Some of the slim wall hung bathroom cabinetry from Utopia  is an ideal choice for spare-room-storage, especially if it’s in the same colour/finish as bathroom furniture already installed in the home.

For fitted furniture that can accommodate sloping ceilings and awkward corners with ease, consider made-to-measure from Sharps. If there’s one golden rule to adhere to with a box room, it’s avoid the clutter. Cluttered, untidy surfaces will spoil any neat, streamlined and practical scheme and as such it’s always worth a visit to IKEA to marvel at all their storage and tidying solutions.

Colour-wise, a tiny room can still be adventurous and fun. We suggest two very different options … make a statement with some bold, interesting and colourful wall paper on one wall – perhaps the desk wall or bed wall so it can be seen as soon as the door is opened. The other is to keep everything – walls and storage furniture – the same colour so that there is a continuous theme throughout the room. As for the floor, go for simple stone or wood style tiles (our Luxury Vinyl Tiles would be a good choice).  If the colour scheme is bright and colourful, or add a splash of colour or pattern via a rug, patterned tiles or vivid plain coloured carpet to add a bit of pizazz to a neutral scheme.

Hang It Up!

No room for wardrobe? Go for a clothes rail instead – a really good idea if you’re on a tight budget, too. This one is from a selection at Dunelm, and a visit there will turn up lots of other storage solutions to get that box room sorted out.

A box room needs organised storage; we can’t resist these children’s storage crates from Hurn & Hurn, which will definitely help keep the toy chaos under control …

Mellow Yellow Design Details

From left; The Engioi Storage Trolley from LIMELACE is a practical box-room addition – we love the cheerful colour and retro-styling. Go for a cheerful mustard-yellow for a smart box room. Keep it neat and organised with these Ochre Yellow Dot Dash Canvas Storage Pots from Bohemia Design; and lastly, although the smallest room may be a bit squashed, show a sense of humour with the Yellow Sardines wallpaper by Mind The Gap, available from Decoville.

Box Room Blues

Another great box room layout and storage scheme … this is room is just only very slightly wider than the length of a bed so would work in box-rooms up and down the country! Under-bed storage and wall shelves above the desk make it a scheme suited to all age groups. This is the Slakt bed from IKEA. 

Top Tips for Smaller Rooms

rom left; This Woood Industrial Locker storage bench combination is fabulous for little rooms, it can double as a lounging bench  plus toy storage, what’s not to like! It’s from Cuckooland, and of course there’s absolutely no reason why it can’t also be used by grown-up people too!  As a trying-very-hard neat freak, this 13 Drawer Chest appeals to me very much indeed, we have a vision of each separate pile of endless paperwork being put neatly away in each drawer. It will never happen, but we can dream! But … it’s also a great choice for a tiny room as it measures just 38cm W x 28cm D x 110cm H, from Melody Maison. And our final suggestion this time is for a multi-purpose chest with lift-up lid, super for spare bedlinen, toys, files and folders. It’s the St Ives Oak & Grey Blanket Box from Oak Furnitureland, and could also be used as a side-table or bedside surface in a box room that has to do double duty as an extra bedroom too.

Have you performed any box room styling miracles? Let us know on Twitter @TileMountainUK or tag us on Instagram with your pics!

You might like these posts on the Tile Mountain blog…  

Big Ideas for Small Spaces

To Utility and Beyond! 5 Tips for Awesome Utility Rooms

Wide Open Spaces: How to Make Small Rooms Appear Larger


Linda has worked as a freelance interiors writer and blogger for many years; she has written for most of the major home and design magazines, including KBB Magazine, Grand Designs, Homes & Gardens, House Beautiful, Period Homes and Good Homes. She made the break and moved from London back to her home town of Shrewsbury three years ago and has just finished renovating her house. She also works in an interior design studio, produces copy for brochures and website, tries to tame her garden, aims to finish all the home furnishing projects she has on the go … and loves walking.