This article has been written and researched by Andrei Vasilief (a professional architect and interior designer) for maximum factual accuracy and to provide unique content.
If you live in a small house or apartment, then one way to increase functionality in the same space is to convert your living room into a dual-purpose bedroom that has both sleeping and living capabilities.
So how do you convert your living room into a bedroom that can be used for both sleeping and living?
To convert a bedroom into a living room: start by creating a floor plan that details a separate, semi-open, or open design; the bed placement, and the type of wall partitions. Then integrate the storage before deciding on the socket and lighting placement.
The rest of this article gives you a 3 step template and a worked example that shows you how to convert your living room into a bedroom.
How to Convert a Living Room Into a Bedroom
Successfully converting a living room into a dual-purpose sleeping and living area relies on mixing the functionalities optimally.
Bedrooms need to provide a sense of security and calm, and they need to have adequate storage space, adequate lighting, and provide a sense of privacy.
Living rooms are usually the largest room in the home, which can positively and negatively affect the design.
On the one hand, the larger area contributes to having ample space to experiment with furniture, but on the other, it’s more challenging to create a cozier ambiance.
The solution is a holistic one – as described below.
Below is the 3 step template that you should follow to convert your living room into a bedroom in the most simple manner:
1: Design the Layout for the Best Functionality
The first step is to evaluate the living room situation and design the floor plan.
Depending on the design of your living room, you will have one of three situations: a separate living room (closed off from the rest of the home), a semi-open living room (kitchen and living room in a joined space), or a completely open space (living room, kitchen, and hallway in a shared space).
We will discuss these from the simplest to the more complex as follows:
i) Separate Living Room (Easiest)
A separate living room is the most straightforward situation in which a bedroom conversion works.
This is the best instance, as it already is a separate room and can be quite easily transformed.
In this case, no further specialized steps are necessary from the point of view of the layout.
ii) Semi-Open Living Room (Intermediate)
If you have a semi-open living room that also incorporates a kitchen, things will start getting trickier.
This is a multiple-step process that defines the bedroom zone, creating the separation’s layout and designs.
iii) Open Living Room (Most Complex)
If you have a completely open space that serves as a living room, entrance hall, and kitchen, then things get much more complicated – this is by far the most challenging scenario.
1.1: Create the Floor Plan
A floor plan is essential when turning your living room into a bedroom because it will allow you to plan where all the furniture will go and the amount of space available in between.
To create a floor plan, measure the dimensions of your living room and map them to scale on a piece of paper or use software – keep the margin of error below 5 cm.
1.2: Plan Where the Bed Will Go
The bed is a sizable piece of furniture that will take up a large portion of the room, so you should go ahead and enter the dimensions into your floor plan.
Consider placing your bed in the center of the room to draw the eye, or see my guide to designing a bedroom with Feng Shui if you’d like to balance the energy in the room.
You should also factor in where the bedside tables and any storage units will go.
If you want to save space in your new bedroom, then you should consider buying a fold-up Murphy bed.
1.3: Partition the Living Room
The final step of the initial design process is to partition the room using either wall partitions, light partitions, or furniture in order to separate the ambiance of the sleeping and living areas.
i) Wall Partitions
If you want to close off the sleeping and living areas fully, then wall partitions are the only real option.
The downside of wall partitions is that they are more complicated to set up, require construction, and are permanent.
ii) Glass Partitions
Glass partitions are the more contemporary option and are a middle ground between walls and furniture partitions – these are a solid choice in most cases.
For starters, they are built off-site and only assembled on site.
They do require a bit of construction work, but it’s light – being raised in a matter of hours – which is in contrast with walls that can take up to a day and require other interventions beyond.
Glass partitions don’t have to be transparent – you have the option of opting for translucent or tinted glass for increased privacy.
This avenue is ideal for the situation where you wish to change a large studio in a one-bedroom apartment, or in a house where you wish to convert a living room into two spaces: a living room and a guest bedroom, for example.
Finally, you can use furnishings to divide the contemporary bedroom.
This option has been growing in popularity in recent years due to its simplicity and ease of use.
You can find various room divider furnishings at various retailers, which has become a staple of most catalogs.
They have the most limitations by far, though, being only suitable for studios and only as a temporary solution – so this must be kept in mind if you wish to go down this route.
2: Integrate the Storage to Save Space
Having a singular integrated storage option in your bedroom allows you to save space and keep the room looking neat and stylish.
Look for a free wall with the most prominent available area to fit the largest possible unit.
Because unlike traditional bedrooms, it’s a bit trickier to find a suitable location inside a living room because most of the time all the walls either have windows, doors, or are close to a wall and/or a window.
Another thing to also keep in mind is the thickness of the unit.
Generally, a wardrobe has about 60 cm or about 2 feet in width, so you need to make sure that this does not cover the windows or doors.
If no wall can offer these conditions, you can place it in the middle of the wall and integrate it aesthetically.
You can use a variety of materials to make the unit blend in or create contrast.
One architectural pro-tip is to use the wardrobe storage as a room divider to create an interesting partition.
3: Position the Lighting to Create the Ideal Ambiance
The final step is to position the light fixtures to create the ambiance that you desire.
The ceiling light and the bedside lamps will be your main light sources and you should consider the socket locations and lighting quality as follows:
3.1: Install Sockets Around the Bed
A pivotal point to keep in mind is the position of electrical outlets – as living rooms have very different socket layouts compared to bedrooms.
You will want to have plugs both around the bedroom and spread around the room.
As a go-to solution, you need between two and four plugs distributed on each side of the bed.
You should also consider a plug next to the wardrobe if you wish to have built-in lighting inside the storage.
3.2: Choose Warmer and Softer Light for the Bedroom Area
Another critical point is light color and temperature.
Living rooms have stronger light than bedrooms, which is also sometimes cooler.
You will want to change the bulbs to have a warmer, softer light.
This is a simple intervention and can be achieved with a simple light bulb change.
This is a slight change with a significant impact.
Example of Turning a Living Room Into a Bedroom
Let’s now put everything that we discussed into practice, looking at a practical example of transforming a living room space into a bedroom that also has living features.
The end product will be a room that has both a bedroom and living room component but you can choose to remove the living aspect (either partially or fully) if you just want a straight conversion.
Let’s start with the living room – it’s a 6 by 5-meter room, with windows on two sides and a generous door.
We have an initial furniture layout typical of a standard living room: a sofa and coffee table layout, with bookshelves and a TV wall:
Option 1: Turn the Entire Living Room Into a Bedroom
Let’s start by going for the simplest solution: turning the whole room into a bedroom with no living area.
We place the bed opposite the door, trying to keep it less visible from the entrance.
This is a principle approach: the bed should not be the first thing you see upon entering the bedroom.
This contributes to the feeling of privacy the room offers.
We decide to go with a double bed (choose a bed to buy here), with two large bedside tables and floor lamps.
We make sure to instal plugs for the new lamps:
We have two walls that can be used to place the storage.
We go with the one between the door and windows, as it provides the most amount of surface area to work with.
And because we still have a free wall, we place a small storage bench with artwork above it:
Because we have so many windows, we keep the decoration minimal, using only the light.
Also, because the room is quite large, we also place a bench in front of the bed, to make the new bedroom feel more luxurious.
When we initially discussed principles, we talked about having a singular piece of storage for the whole room.
This is a good example of a moment where you can break this rule.
The room is large and we have a free wall.
So we use bench storage (a low unit) and place artwork above it.
This balances the design (so the walls with windows do not dominate the room) and the bench grounds it:
We have now converted a living room into a bedroom.
We still have the translucent door issue, but we decide to leave it as it is.
It works and attempting to cover it might result in something that looks cheap, which we wish to avoid.
The color scheme is also coordinated, relying only on a few colors and tones.
This is in contrast to the way the living room was, with multiple pieces and items spread around.
We have also achieved this without making any intrusive modifications to the room, resulting in a simple conversion process.
Looking at a plan, we can see how the new bedroom functions as shown below:
Option 2: A Room With Sleeping and Living Functions
Let’s go one step further now.
The new bedroom feels quite large, and the layout of the room would suit itself well to being divided in both a bedroom and living room.
As such, we can try to achieve more out of the room.
So, let’s now look at converting a living room into a living and sleeping space combo.
We want to make it simple to build, keeping any construction to a minimum.
Because of this, we will go with light glass partitions instead of solid walls.
We begin by finding a suitable place for the bed, and we decide on using the area in from the door.
This is because we want to leave the end of the room free for the living area.
So we place the bed distanced from the sidewall, placing the wardrobe along the end wall.
We place the bedside tables and then draw the glass enclosure.
We also make sure to offset the new glass wall about 1 meter from the wall with the door to ensure enough space for a corridor.
Finally, we place the sofa and coffee tables in the new living space and decorate accordingly:
As you can notice, we kept the glass simple but created an upper-division.
This is a design choice to give the partition a bit of depth.
This is also because the room is larger, but we would have installed much simpler glazing if it were smaller.
We also place a singular floor lamp inside, replacing the usual bedside lamps.
We have made the bedroom a bit larger but also left ample space for the living area:
The glass works well, adding richness to the room and depth.
To create more privacy, we install curtains along with the glazing that can be closed.
You can also see the difference between how we furnished the sleeping room versus the living room.
We don’t have clutter in the sleeping room, and we rely only on a few pieces of furniture.
The living space has much more decoration and is generally livelier.
This solution is brilliant for converting a studio into a one-bedroom apartment.
Still, it also works in getting more out of your home, for example, turning a one-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom.
Upon further inspection, we see how we can improve a bit more.
We like the glass, but having glass from two sides can pose challenges.
It is a room that can overheat quickly, and the proximity to the existing entrance can create issues.
So, we move to create a hybrid solution by replacing the wall that separates the new bedroom from the entrance into the room, from glass to solid.
We have space, as a gypsum board wall is around 10 cm.
This would also enable us to install a proper doorway into the new bedroom.
The process is simple enough; we only need to change one wall.
We use this chance to install a proper door and also make the wardrobe smaller.
The initial wardrobe was large, and we decided to go with something smaller, adding secondary bench storage.
This has two effects.
Firstly, we break the standard design and make the room feel livelier.
Using only the necessary items is the best way to go, but just like the previous example with the bench, we break the rules here so we can add a bit of color and diversity.
We experimented with minimalism previously, now we try to go bolder:
We also take the chance to mount some decorative pieces on the new wall.
You can also see one of the best features of using glass partitions: the way the light plays off it.
You can even take this much further, using light bulbs of various temperatures and placements to create a dynamic setup that adds vibrancy to the room.
Conclusion: Blend the Functions
To successfully convert a living room into a bedroom that serves both functions, you should carefully plan the floor space, the type of partitions, the bed placement, the type of storage, where the electrical sockets will go, and the type of lighting that will be used.
This will allow you to create a space that offers the coziness, security, and privacy of a bedroom that can promote sleep, whilst incorporating the functionality of a living room and even potentially a kitchen if this is the design that you desire.
Up next: save space in your converted living space with a futon bed – see the best options to buy here.
Image Attribution and Licencing
All images are custom made by Andrei Vasilief from Animo Regis and used with permission.
Dan is the founder and head content creator at Bedroom Style Reviews.
He has been working as a professional online product reviewer since 2015 and was inspired to start this website when he ended up sleeping on a memory foam mattress that was too soft and gave him backache.
Through in-depth research and analysis, Dan’s goal with this website is to help others avoid such pitfalls by creating the best online resource for helping you find your ideal mattress, bedding, and bedroom furniture.
Dan is a qualified NVQ Level 2 Fitness Instructor with 6 years’ experience helping clients improve their health through diet, exercise, and proper sleep hygiene.
He also holds several college and university-level qualifications in health sciences, psychology, mathematics, art, and digital media creation – which helps him to publish well researched and informative product reviews as well as articles on sleep, health, wellbeing, and home decor.
Dan also has direct personal experience with insomnia, anxiety, misophonia (hypersensitivity to sounds), and pain from both acute and long-standing sporting injuries – he enjoys writing insightful articles around these subjects to help fellow sufferers of such conditions.
Learn more about Dan here.