How To Make A Small Room Look Bigger

Last Updated February 27, 2024 By Bella Zinti

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Have you ever walked into a small room and wished it could magically expand to give you more space? You're not alone. Many of us grapple with the challenge of living in smaller rooms that sometimes feel cramped. But what if I told you that you could create the illusion of a more spacious, airy oasis right within the walls you already have? It's not a magic trick; it's the skill of creating an illusion of more space in compact rooms!

In this blog post, we will reveal tips, tricks, and decor hacks for making a small room look bigger. We aim to assist you in transforming your small space into a grand castle! Say goodbye to the confines of a tiny room and hello to the vast possibilities of smart design!

How To Make A Small Room Look Bigger

Lighten Up With Color

The color scheme is paramount when it comes to creating the illusion of space. Light colors, such as soft pastels, cool grays, and warm whites, are like a breath of fresh air for small rooms. Mirrors reflect natural and artificial light, creating a brighter, more open feel in the small room. You also want to use the same color paint from baseboard to ceiling to make the room feel bigger.

While light colors can instantly make a small room feel larger, you can use dark colors to make a room feel larger. By adding dark walls as an accent, you can add depth and drama to the room without overwhelming the small spaces. A single accent wall will create the optical illusion of more square footage, and using a dark wall color will absorb light and visually expand the room's depth!

Alternatively, you can make color contrast work for you! Keep the walls white (or another light color), and then strategically select specific elements in darker hues, such as furniture, cabinetry, and built-in shelving. For example, using dark colors for kitchen cabinets or a dark accent piece of furniture can create a striking contrast in a predominantly lightroom.

Light Source

Utilizing natural light is a highly effective method for visually enlarging a room! Remove window treatments (like blinds, coverings, or hanging curtains) to welcome natural light into your space. If feasible, consider incorporating skylights into the room's design, allowing light to cascade from above and draw the eye upwards.

Is natural light hard to come by in your small room? There's more than one way to use light to make a room look larger! When it comes to artificial lighting, distribute a few lamps strategically throughout the room instead of relying solely on overhead lighting. For example, tuck a floor lamp into a corner or a small table lamp onto the kitchen counter.

This multi-source lighting approach serves multiple functions. Firstly, it adds ambiance and turns "small rooms" into cozy spaces! Secondly, it creates more even lighting throughout the room. Corners that would hide in the shadows will now truly feel like part of the room. And finally, floor and table lamps can serve as stylish design elements!

Harness The Power Of Mirrors

To make a room look larger, use mirrors! Mirrors can work wonders in a tiny space. A strategically placed large mirror will reflect and bounce light, making the room appear deeper and more spacious.

In addition to wall mirrors, you can also consider mirrored furniture or decor pieces like coffee tables or wall art with mirrored elements. Mirrored details look particularly posh and spacious in a small powder room! These create the illusion of a larger room and introduce a touch of elegance and sophistication.

Multi-Functional Furniture

In a small room, furniture must serve multiple purposes in order to maximize space! Consider sofa beds, for instance. They offer seating during the day and a comfortable bed for guests at night. Storage ottomans can serve as a coffee table while providing concealed storage. Wall-mounted desks can convert unused wall space into a functional workspace without occupying valuable floor area.

The Art Of Decluttering

A cluttered room can quickly feel claustrophobic. Visual clutter poses a challenge in small spaces! Maintain clear and organized surfaces to create the illusion of a larger room. Utilize smart storage solutions like shelves, cabinets, and decorative baskets to stow away items that aren't in everyday use. These storage options will make a small space feel larger by freeing up as much usable space as possible.

Remember, minimalism is your ally in small-room design! It's about curating your space, showcasing only what's truly meaningful and necessary.

Choose Low-Profile Furniture

Furniture with lower profiles can help create the impression of higher ceilings and open sightlines. For instance, low-slung sofas and coffee tables allow for more visibility across the room. Furniture with exposed legs, whether it's a sofa or chair, lets light flow beneath it, enhancing the sense of spaciousness and making a small room look bigger.

Tall pieces of furniture, or pieces that are simply too large for the floor plan, can make a small space feel cramped. Select pieces that align with the room's scale and purpose. Does your dining room truly need a large buffet table? Could your small bedroom be better served with a smaller bookcase?

Furniture Arrangement

The arrangement of your furniture plays a crucial role in how spacious a room feels. Explore various arrangements to find the one that optimizes floor space and enhances sightlines. Avoid placing all furniture against the walls, as this can give the room a boxed-in appearance. Instead, leave a little space between the furniture and the walls. This serves to create depth, making the small room look bigger.

Vertical Lines

Vertical stripes on walls, curtains, or furniture can direct the gaze upward, producing the illusion of higher ceilings. This design technique makes a big difference in rooms with low ceilings, adding a sense of height. Consider painting broad vertical stripes on one wall as a wall mural.

Vertical artwork or photographs hung on the walls can draw the eye upward, creating the illusion of taller walls and, by extension, a more spacious room. Consider selecting a single oversized piece of vertical art or arranging a series of vertically oriented artworks to achieve this effect.

Flooring Unification

Consistent flooring throughout the room or flooring with minimal contrast between areas helps prevent visual segmentation, making the space appear more expansive. Large-format tiles or extended hardwood planks are not only aesthetically pleasing but also contribute to the sense of continuity from one room to another rooms.

A Dash Of Color (Or Pattern!)

While light paint colors are ideal for creating space, don't shy away from introducing pops of color or subtle patterns through accessories. Throwing pillows, artwork, or a well-placed rug in a bold color can add personality and warmth. Try to strike a balance between neutral base colors and splashes of vibrancy. This ensures visual interest without overwhelming the room. In small spaces, you only have so much room to make your personality pop! Make it count!

Curtains For Drama And Space

Hang curtain rods closer to the ceiling and opt for curtains that extend generously beyond the window frame. This not only draws the eye upward but also allows more natural light to flow in when the curtains are open.

When it comes to the choice of curtains themselves, opt for lightweight fabrics in cool colors. Sheer curtains will maintain an airy ambiance in the room, even when they are closed.

Vertical Storage Solutions

Wall-mounted shelves, cubbies, or cabinets can efficiently utilize vertical space while keeping the floor clear. They offer extra storage without compromising valuable square footage. These vertical storage solutions can also serve as decorative elements, displaying your favorite books, artwork, or decorative items.

Add Translucent or Glass Elements

Introducing translucent or glass elements into your decor can maintain an unobstructed view and contribute to a more open atmosphere. Glass coffee tables, translucent room dividers, and glass-topped dining tables are examples of how to achieve this effect. These elements allow light to pass through, creating a sense of continuity and airiness in the room.

Consider replacing an opaque glass shower enclosure in a tiny bathroom with a clear, frameless alternative. Opt for transparent dining room tables and chairs to evoke a sense of openness and transparency.

Open Shelving in the Kitchen

In a small kitchen, the use of open shelving can make a significant impact. Use open shelving to replace closed cabinets, increasing the perceived space. Open shelves create visual expansiveness and offer easy access to frequently used kitchen items! Keeping the shelves organized and decluttered is essential to maintain an open feel.

Proper Rug Size

When opting for a rug, ensure it is the appropriate size. A rug that is too large can overpower the space, while one that is too small may create a disjointed feel. Ideally, the rug should be spacious enough for all dining chairs to sit comfortably, even when pulled out.

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About the author

Bella has a Bachelors degree in interior design, is a master gardener. She designs nourishing outdoor & indoor spaces guided by the practice of Feng Shui.