This post was written and researched by Ana Maria Gvozdenovic – a professional interior designer – to ensure maximum factual accuracy and unique content.
If you are looking to combine your living and sleeping spaces in a small room, then the main challenge will be managing privacy whilst retaining functionality.
So how do you combine a bedroom and living room in a small space?
To combine a bedroom and living room in a small space use screens, dividers, pony walls, glass partitions, sliding doors, folding doors, wooden slats, fireplaces, bookshelves, or wardrobes for privacy; and use sofa beds, Murphy beds, and daybeds to save space whilst retaining functionality.
In the rest of this article, I have used my knowledge as a professional interior designer to give you 18 examples of these principles in action.
You can then use these ideas for inspiration.
18 Small Bedroom and Living Room Combo Ideas
Here are 18 design ideas for small bedroom and living room spaces that you can copy and adapt as you see fit:
1: Open-Plan – Works For Small and Large Spaces
The open-plan bedroom and living room combination shown above can be used in both small and large rooms alike since the premise is the same: combine the seating and sleeping areas in a way that suits you.
You can also incorporate the kitchen and workstation areas if you like too.
Everything should be functional, and you should be able to move around easily.
When creating a floor plan like this, the main thing is to leave enough space between the furniture and dividers for each area.
For example, natural light should equally reach as many of these areas as possible.
If you plan to include a workstation in the space, be sure to place it near an electrical source so you can avoid using extension cords which will make the space look messy.
Carefully pick bed sheets – or include a stylish bed cover – no one likes to see other people’s bedding when visiting.
Create a functional layout, and plan every corner so you can move through the space easily and use all areas without feeling overwhelmed by the furniture and other elements in the room.
When working with an open plan concept, we must think about all the above elements, as well as how to make the best possible arrangement for a refined and neat appearance.
One way to attain this is to think minimalistic – go for the sleek and elegant layout.
2: Color Coordinated Areas – For Cohesive Congruence
This kind of layout is similar to the previous, but with a difference in approach – color-coding.
In this scenario, the plan remains open, but each area will have a different color scheme.
Spaces can be individualized with wall paint, rugs, lighting, or wallpaper.
The larger surfaces will serve us by visually dividing the space into different sections.
The choice of arrangement will depend on the interior style you are going for.
It may look better with a minimalistic style, or perhaps mid-century modern with a bit of color-blocking detail, such as an accent wall with a bold-colored arch on it.
If you like rugs, you can choose the same rug in different sizes for every area.
You can try a ceiling light with one, three, or five pendants with the same design.
Or you can opt for a collection with a ceiling light, pendant, and table lamp – so each area will have the same style of light fixture.
This way you will have a cohesive interior, and everything will appear linked.
3: Sofa Bed – Adds Seating and Sleeping Functionality
A sofa bed is a practical way to add seating and sleeping functionality to a small bedroom and living room combination area.
Sofa beds come in various designs.
Many pieces are designed as corner sofas with the ability to transform into a bed for one or two people.
4: Wall Bed/Murphy Bed
This solution is great when it comes to furnishing a studio apartment, where space is very limited and every centimeter is important.
The Murphy bed was invented in the early 1900s by William Lawrence Murphy, as a solution to fitting everything into a small space.
His patent evolved over the last century, and now we can choose from many different designs and structures.
Other than including a normal Murphy bed, you could choose a two-in-one piece – you could customize it to be used as a bookshelf or a desk when the bed is folded away.
This way you will have extra space in the room, and the bed will be hidden.
5: Pony/Separation Wall – Maintain Privacy and Lighting
Many designers don’t like pony walls, but they can be very useful when the task is to separate living and sleeping areas without building a separate room in a small space.
Any kind of wall will give privacy to the user, especially in the sleeping area.
Pony walls or half walls are a good solution when the apartment has limited daylight.
Building just a half wall, to hip height, for instance, gives us the ability to split the space into smaller areas, but not to the detriment of the natural light, and without breaking the connection between the various parts of the room.
Pony walls can be also useful for displaying things like decorations or books.
The same can be said for a separation wall; not a wall that goes from one side of the room to the other with a door, but a wall that starts on one side of the room and ends about one-third of the way in.
A separation wall should be full height, and should serve to separate those areas in the apartment we don’t wish others to see, either because of the visual impression or for privacy.
With a full-height wall between the living and sleeping areas, there may be a convenient spot where extra storage space could be installed – behind the wall in the sleeping area for example.
Using any kind of separation in an open-plan room results in a defined and well-finished look.
These types of walls provide the impression of separate rooms, but because they are only partial, the room still looks open and airy.
6: Glass Wall – Stylish and Elegant
Glass walls do not work in every interior.
We usually associate them with office spaces because we notice them in business buildings and in serious surroundings.
A glass wall in a residential space should look more custom and elegant.
They are usually made with metal framing that provides constructional support, and a more livable appearance.
They are more expensive than drywall, but the possibilities they provide are priceless in the design field.
Firstly, they can be made with various metal frame options – they can be framed around all four sides, or sectioned into multiple parts to look like numerous small windows connected together.
Frames come in a number of different types of metals, or they can be coated to look like bronze, gold, chrome, or iron.
With a glass wall, you will not create much privacy, but the natural light will have a clear way through the room.
If privacy is a concern, then the glass can be covered with opaque foil, or it could be sandblasted.
The other option is to put a curtain over the glass wall, creating a private sleeping area that looks elegant, with a curtain that can be pulled back when you need extra light.
7: Sliding Door – Space Saving Privacy
If the configuration of the interior allows, sliding doors are a perfect solution for dividing small spaces, as they don’t take up much space themselves.
No extra square meterage is needed for opening a sliding door, saving space for more furniture to be placed in the room.
Along with the glass wall above, a glass sliding door provides a clear path for the natural light (or other light sources) to shine through, and it could be sandblasted for more privacy.
Sliding doors can be made of other materials, such as wood (reclaimed, plywood), melamine-faced boards, MDF, or aluminum.
Most other materials are too heavy; if you are wanting a different effect, the door should be built from a lighter material, and then wrapped with wallpaper or PVC sheeting with the desired texture printed on it.
When buying a sliding door, be sure it is high quality and can be supported by the construction of the room.
8: Folding Door – Stylish Privacy
If you live in a studio apartment with an open-concept layout, and you want some privacy in the sleeping area, a folding (accordion) door could be the answer.
They don’t require much construction work, and can be built from different materials, such as wood, glass, or MDF.
Building a folding door tends to be inexpensive and simple to do.
The advantage of this kind of room divider is that you can fold it to one side so it takes up very little space.
Folding doors can be made in various styles, so they can easily be made to match the rest of the interior, as a decorative and practical element of the room.
You can decorate your folding door with color, ornament, print, or marquetry, or you can go with flat surfaces for the modern look.
When the accordion door is closed it looks like a closet door, so no one will guess what is behind it.
It is a good solution for dividing or hiding any particular space in the apartment.
9: Daybed – Combine Sleeping, Sitting, and Storage
If you have to place your bed in the living area, and space is very limited, you can solve the problem by finding a stylish daybed for the room.
Daybeds are designed to look like sofas, but they come with a mattress, like a bed.
They are usually made of wood, not entirely upholstered like a sofa, and some models are made to pull out for a wider sleeping area.
They often come with a storage drawer below the mattress, which will help with storage in a small space.
Daybeds can look very stylish, and if you add a few throw pillows you will have a cute, cozy place to sit during the day and sleep at night.
10: Wood Slats Room Divider – A Textured Aesthetic
Wooden slats have been a popular design tool for several years, and have proven to be an exceptional decorative and practical element.
They can thoroughly ennoble the aesthetics of the room, and can be used either as an accent on the wall or as a texture and finishing detail on the furniture, such as cabinet fronts.
They can also be a great solution for dividing up a space, and here we are talking about slats as a partition element.
Wooden slats can be made in various dimensions, and should be placed from floor to ceiling so that their effect in the space is complete.
They will also be easier to install if they are attached to the floor and ceiling, and as additional reinforcement, they can be attached to the sidewall, as well.
Slats can be placed so that the face is turned parallel to the partition wall, perpendicular to the wall, or at a selected angle.
Placing the wood slats at an angle seems to be the most elegant option, and in this way, we create a less transparent partition, meaning that less can be seen between the wood slats from the neighboring room.
Wood slats can also be used as part of some other element, such as a TV stand, thus fulfilling the need for natural light.
11: Fireplace Divider – Functional and Impressive
The fireplace is the jewel of every interior and usually adheres to the style in which the space is arranged.
It is also a very useful inclusion, whether it is electric, gas, or solid fuel.
Depending on where it is positioned, the fireplace may serve as a partition between two rooms, or two divisions in the space, such as the bedroom and living room.
Positioned like that, it will efficiently be able to heat both rooms, and it will also be a wonderful detail.
12: Loft Bedroom – A Grand Apperance
Loft space can be found in houses or apartments with very high ceilings.
Lofts are especially practical for converting into a bedroom or study, or both.
Depending on how the space is organized in terms of the design and layout, lofts are usually located above the living room, kitchen, or bathroom.
Another advantage of a loft (especially in winter) is that it is always warmer upstairs because the warm air goes up.
Depending on the architecture of the house or apartment in which it is located, the gallery could be positioned under a slope or skylight, which gives it additional value and aesthetics.
13: Wardrobe as a Divider – Stylish Storage
When combining sleeping and living areas, placing a wardrobe or a walk-in closet as a space divider is an excellent choice.
This solution increases the functionality of the space, allowing us to use other areas in the house for something else.
Both sides of the wardrobe can be utilized as additional storage or shelving, as a TV holder, or to place the mirror.
If there is enough space in the room for a walk-in closet, you can build an entrance on the side, so you can really use all remaining sides of the closet.
14: Screens – Ideal for Apartments and Rented Rooms
Another elegant solution for designs in which we have to combine the living room and the bedroom is the installation of screens.
Screens are a decorative element, and the only function they have is to separate a certain part of the space from another.
Using a screen as a partition for a room, we can very quickly, and with very little investment, solve the issue of privacy in the sleeping area, and block the view from the living room – creating two separate units.
Screens can be made from various materials – most often bamboo, reed, or wood, or in the form of a frame on which a decorative canvas or piece of fabric is stretched.
They generally consist of three sections that are connected by hinges and can be folded together for storage.
They can also be custom-made as unique interior décor, and you can choose the design and how it will visually best suit the space.
The advantage of using a screen is that its installation does not require any construction interventions in the space, so choosing a screen as a room divider can be a great option for rental apartments, and where inhabitants are not allowed to change the appearance of the rooms (drilling walls or ceilings).
15: Bathroom in the Middle – Bold and Unconventional
For fans of unusual ideas for home decoration, the notion of setting up a bathtub or bathroom between the living room and the bedroom may seem interesting.
It is quite unusual, but when it is well thought out and executed, it can be spectacular.
It was once considered weird to install a stove or a sink on a kitchen island, right?
The layout can be done so that the bathroom space, without installing a door, is entered from the sides, and thus a direct view of it from the living room is avoided.
The bathroom can be partitioned with a glass wall or some other material; if you opt for glass, you can choose opaque or sandblasted glass to avoid transparency.
Currently, special foils are available on the market which allows the glass to be opaqued only on demand, using a remote control.
For this type of interior furnishing, it is necessary to plan all plumbing installations in advance, in order for the bathroom to be functional.
Basically, everything is the same as when arranging any bathroom, except that it is positioned in an unusual place.
This way of partitioning a space is very modern and bold, and gives a unique look to the entire interior.
16: Dividing with a Bookshelf – Blend Storage and Style
Using a bookshelf to divide a space is one of those solutions with an immediate result.
A bookshelf, of course, does not only have to be used for displaying books – it can also be used for storing or displaying other things, such as vases, plates, plants, or other items that we use every day in the home.
The shelf may have a backrest or it may not – if it does have a backing, turn the open side towards the living room so that everything on it is displayed, and leave the back as a wall facing the bedroom.
If the back looks too plain, it can be enriched with a wooden plank or wallpaper to make the view from the bedroom more comfortable.
This type of divider is not limited to bookshelves – you could also place a chest of drawers or a cabinet.
Also, the shelf does not have to reach the height of the ceiling – you can choose a piece that is at eye level, or at least exceeds the height of the hips; anything above hip height is enough to serve as a partition.
17: A Growing Divider – Add Life to the Space
Plants can enrich any living space.
Depending on the type of plant, they might require a special position in the room, so choose plants that can be arranged in different areas.
Plants can also be displayed as a living wall, which can create a partition between two parts of the room; in this case, between the bedroom and the living room.
In addition to literally bringing life into the space, a plant wall can provide privacy for the part of the room where you sleep.
It is important to find a houseplant that will suit the specific position in terms of the availability of daylight and which will visually fit in with the interior style.
Fans of houseplants will know the pleasure of looking for a new plant pot, so this improvement of the space should be a nice change.
Like most other items for home decoration, flower pots are made so that they can fit in with any style.
For example, if your interior style is classic, choose a simpler look for the pot, but if you are going for a rustic design, look for richly decorated clay pots to suit the space.
18: Canopy – Privacy Without Dividers or Partitions
A four-poster bed with a canopy is the most common way to achieve privacy in the bedroom, without the use of partition walls or searching for a good sofa bed.
It is also the most romantic way.
The four-poster canopy bed is related to Eastern cultures (or a spa retreat in modern times), and with it, any interior will look sublime and rich.
It has the added advantage of protecting the sleeper from insects on a hot summer’s night.
Usually, the canopy is mounted on the frame of the bed, so that the bed can be approached from either side, and the canopy can be closed once you are inside.
If you do not have a bed with a frame on which the canopy can be hung, you can create a similar effect by installing brackets on the ceiling above the bed.
There are also light mesh canopies available that are sewn to a hoop that is hooked to the ceiling at a central point above the bed.
Canopies can be bought or made from a myriad of exciting and interesting fabrics, so choose one that suits your space.
Conclusion: Functionality is Critical
The above examples bring us to the conclusion that you must seriously consider functionality when planning an interior that is to be used for both living and sleeping.
Each element brought into the space must have a special purpose, and a justification as to why it was positioned there; for example, to create freedom of movement, comfort, and livability in the space.
It is very important to predetermine the zones in the room and to use each zone as it was intended to be.
My advice as an interior designer is to actively dedicate yourself to arranging your living and sleeping area, and figuring out how to get maximum functionality and comfort from them.
Image Attribution and Licensing
Main image: ‘Bedroom and Living Room’ by naksomrit – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.
Image #1: ‘The Juniper Room, Whisper Rock Ranch, Joshua Tree, California’ by Roberto Nickson (Licensed via Unsplash).
Image #2: ‘Open space kitchen and living room interior in small studio apartment’ by bialasiewicz (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #3: ‘Couch Bed in Cozy Home Interior’ by seventyfourimages (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #5: ‘Scandi open space bedroom interior with double bed with knit blanket and many pillows, rack with books and decor, carpet on the floor’ by bialasiewicz (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #6: ‘Wardrobe’ by twenty20photos (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #7: ‘Real Estate Interior’ by Ümit Yıldırım (Licensed via Unsplash).
Image #8: ‘3D illustration Mockup photo frame in bedroom rendering’ by Johnstocker (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #9: Untitled by Jelena Mirkovic (Licensed via Unsplash).
Image #10: ‘Top view Black minimalist Interior of modern living room’ by hemul75 (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #11: ‘Work and relax’ by armin djuhic (Licensed via Unsplash).
Image #12: ‘3d rendering white wood living room near bedroom upstair’ by dit26978 (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #13: ‘Wardrobe and bed in modern bedroom’ by Mint_Images (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #14: ‘3d rendering luxury tropical bedroom suite in resort hotel and resort Asian style’ by dit26978 (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #15: ‘3d rendering luxury suite hotel bedroom with bathtub and counter bar’ by dit26978 (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #16: ‘3d rendering loft luxury living room with bookshelf’ by dit26978 (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #17: ‘Cozy contemporary bedroom in fancy industrial loft’ by bialasiewicz (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #18: Untitled by Mark Chaves (Licensed via Unsplash).
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.