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Tips for How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger

Living in a small space can be cozy and charming, but it can also feel cramped and confining if not designed thoughtfully. Thankfully, with the right strategies, you can make a small room look and feel much larger than it actually is.

This comprehensive guide will provide various tips and tricks, from color choices and furniture placement to lighting and decor. By the end of this article, you’ll have a plethora of ideas for transforming your compact space into an open, airy haven.

Use Light Colors and Clever Contrasts

Light Colors for an Airy Feel

One of the most effective ways to make a small room look bigger is to use light colors. Light shades like whites, pastels, and soft neutrals reflect light, making the room feel open and airy. Dark colors, on the other hand, absorb light and can make a space feel smaller.

Small apartment features a white l-shaped dining bench fixed against a pink wall and topped with pink and velvet pillows. The banquette is matched with a white tulip dining table lit by a white pendant and paired with white and gold dining chairs. An inset white and black wallpapered bookshelf is fixed over the dining bench and beside stacked art.
Photo Credit: Zoe Feldman
Fabulous pink and gray bedroom with bright pink accent walls and large windows with light diffusing window blinds. The bedroom features a gray upholstered bed layered with an array of pink, black and gray pillows over a gray duvet. A chunky gray knit throw drapes over the foot of the bed. A Mid-Century style dresser stands against the wall at the foot of the bed below a small flat screen tv. In the corner of the bedroom stands a small modern accent table topped with a tall gray lamp. Hardwood floors are layered with a West Elm Safari Rug that anchors the bed. A DWR Satellite Chandelier adds interest to the tall ceilings.
Photo Credit: Marcus Hay

Create Depth with Contrasts

While light colors can open up a space, incorporating contrasting colors can add depth. For instance, painting one wall a slightly darker shade than the others can create a focal point and give the illusion of a larger room. Just be careful not to overdo it; the goal is to subtly enhance the space without overwhelming it.

New patterened carpet tiles, pull out wall storage, antique cahdelier and all over painting complete this apartment renovation
Photo Credit: DecorPad
Small rustic cottage bathroom features a vanity mirror mounted to a stone covered wall beside a Reed Single Sconce and over a black washstand topped with a white overmount sink fitted with an oil rubbed bronze faucet. Rustic wood floor paneled covered in a blue and red rug leads to a walk in shower separated by a stone partition and fitted with tumbled marble brick floor tiles, a stone surround, and an oil rubbed bronze shower kit lit by natural light from a casement window.
Photo Credit: Lindsay Todd Design

Maximize Natural Light

Embrace Windows and Mirrors

Natural light is your best friend when it comes to making a room look bigger. Keep your windows unobstructed and use light, airy curtains to let in as much light as possible. Additionally, strategically placed mirrors can reflect natural light and create the illusion of more space. A large mirror positioned opposite a window will bounce light around the room, making it feel brighter and more expansive.

Cabin styled angled mudroom features mesh lockers, a small built in window bench and herringbone floors.
Photo Credit: House of Jade Interiors
Bedroom features a light gray tufted bed on blue grasscloth wallpaper and a small tall wooden nightstand lit by a brass swingarm sconce.
Photo Credit: Lindsey Hanson

Opt for Sheer Window Treatments

Sheer curtains or blinds can provide privacy without blocking out natural light. This allows your room to stay bright and open, contributing to the feeling of spaciousness. If you need more privacy, consider layering sheer curtains with heavier drapes that can be pulled back during the day.

A blue vintage rug sits in an entryway beneath a blond plank ceiling and in front of a dove gray front door finished with 15 glass panels.
Photo Credit: Kate Marker Interiors
Ikea Docksta Table in a second-floor landing kitchenette is paired with green and gray distressed dining chairs surround white and gray decor. Gray subway tiles create a neutral backsplash around upper cabinets with frosted glass front doors displaying light blue kitchenware. An under counter wine cooler is flanked by white cabinets with steel hardware under marble countertops presenting a luxurious touch to the landing kitchen design.
Photo Credit: McKee Builders

Strategic Furniture Placement

Choose Multi-Functional Furniture

Every piece of furniture should earn its keep in a small room. Opt for multi-functional furniture like sofa beds, storage ottomans, or coffee tables with built-in storage. These pieces help you save space while still providing the functionality you need.

Living room features a white curved sofa accented with a beige velvet tufted ball pillow, a wall mount throw blanket rack and a built in shelf next to a fireplace.
Photo Credit: The Lifestyled Co

Keep Furniture Off the Floor

Furniture that sits directly on the floor can make a room feel cramped. Instead, choose pieces with legs, which create a sense of openness by allowing you to see more of the floor. Floating furniture, like wall-mounted shelves or desks, can also free up floor space and make the room appear larger.

A small reading nook is located beneath a staircase and is accented with a rectangular gray floor cushion topped with a thin blue striped cushion and white and blue pillows.
Photo Credit: Brooke Wagner Design

Declutter and Organize

Simplify Your Space

Clutter can make any room feel smaller and more chaotic. Keep your space tidy by regularly decluttering and getting rid of items you don’t use or need. Use storage solutions like baskets, bins, and shelves to keep essential items organized and out of sight.

Chic powder room features a black door opening to reveal subtle white and gray floral motif wallpaper highlighting a modern white mirror mounted above an aqua blue glass mini brick tiled backsplash trimmed with black pencil tile framing a mini wall mount sink with modern wall mount faucet.
Photo Credit: Angela Free Design
Dream walk-in closet features washer dryer combo hidden within built-in white cabinets with glass front uppers, accented with mercury glass pulls alongside a pair of seagrass laundry hampers.
Photo Credit: ME Beck

Use Vertical Space

When floor space is limited, look up! Vertical storage solutions like tall bookshelves, wall-mounted cabinets, and hanging organizers can help you make the most of your available space. These not only keep your room organized but also draw the eye upward, making the room feel taller and more spacious.

A fragment of a kitchen with an oven under the window and shelves with dishes attached to a white wall.
Photo Credit: pro_create via Envato Elements
From: Brandon Architechts Inc.

Smart Decor Choices

Minimalist Approach

Less is more when it comes to decorating a small room. Stick to a minimalist approach by choosing a few key pieces that you love. Overcrowding the space with too many decorations can make it feel cluttered and cramped.

Crystal cascading chandelier illuminates a foyer furnished with a small round white trestle accent table on a dark gray rug with a white border. A glossy black front door with a silver lion door knocker brings a classic appeal to the entryway of the home.
Photo Credit: 22 Interiors
Photo Credit: Studio McGee

Use Large-Scale Art

While it might seem counterintuitive, using large-scale art can actually make a small room feel bigger. A single large painting or oversized photograph can create a sense of scale and draw the eye, making the room feel more expansive. Just be sure not to overdo it; one statement piece is usually enough.

White room with small fireplace with candles inside grey tufted chairs with farmhouse pillows.
Photo Credit: whimsygirldesign via Instagram

Optimize Lighting

Layered Lighting

Good lighting can dramatically alter the perception of space in a room. Use a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a well-lit space. Layered lighting helps eliminate shadows and dark corners, making the room feel larger and more inviting.

Small entryway features a black and white photo wall on the wall bringing life to a small foyer space. White trim around a black water closet door adds a contrasting finish near the small entry space.
Photo Credit: Kat Lawton

Avoid Heavy Light Fixtures

Bulky light fixtures can overwhelm a small room. Instead, opt for sleek, unobtrusive fixtures that provide ample light without taking up too much visual space. Recessed lighting, wall sconces, and floor lamps are excellent choices for small rooms.

Aerin Charlton Lamp adorns a white painted vintage foyer cabinet styled with a black and white photo gallery wall in a small foyer space.
Photo Credit: Kat Lawton

Play with Textures

Use Reflective Surfaces

Reflective surfaces like glass, mirrors, and glossy finishes can enhance the feeling of space in a small room. These materials reflect light and create a sense of depth, making the room feel larger and more open.

Clad in pink chinoiserie wallpaper, this beautiful bathroom features a corner Parisian pedestal sink accented with an oil rubbed bronze faucet kit located under a corner mounted gold ornate mirror. The sink sits on marble hex floor tiles that lead to a black pocket door.
Photo Credit: Pamela Dailey

Incorporate Light Fabrics

Heavy, dark fabrics can weigh down a small room. Choose light, airy fabrics for your curtains, upholstery, and bedding to keep the space feeling open and inviting. Linen, cotton, and silk are excellent choices for small spaces.

Under a row of windows covered with a single white and blue roman shade, a blue dresser is palced facing a bed dressed in red and blue bedding and placed on a blue rug. A gray rug sits in a corner in front of a black and gold floor lamp lighting light gray bedroom walls.
Photo Credit: Kristina Crestin Design

By implementing these strategies, you can transform your small room into a spacious, inviting retreat. Remember, the key to making a small room look bigger lies in thoughtful design, smart furniture choices, and effective use of color and light.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What colors make a small room look bigger?

Light colors such as whites, pastels, and soft neutrals are ideal for making a small room look bigger. These shades reflect light, creating an open and airy feel. You can also use contrasting colors to add depth and dimension.

How can I use mirrors to make my room look bigger?

Mirrors reflect light and create the illusion of more space. Place a large mirror opposite a window to bounce natural light around the room. You can also use mirrored furniture or decor to enhance the sense of openness.

What kind of furniture is best for small rooms?

Multi-functional and space-saving furniture is ideal for small rooms. Look for pieces that offer storage solutions, such as ottomans with hidden compartments or wall-mounted desks. Furniture with legs can also create a sense of openness by allowing you to see more of the floor.

How can I maximize natural light in a small room?

Keep windows unobstructed and use sheer window treatments to let in as much natural light as possible. Mirrors can also help reflect natural light and brighten up the room.

What are some storage solutions for small spaces?

Utilize vertical storage solutions like tall bookshelves and wall-mounted cabinets. Baskets, bins, and under-bed storage can also help keep your space organized and clutter-free.

How can I decorate a small room without making it feel cluttered?

Stick to a minimalist approach by choosing a few key pieces that you love. Use large-scale art to create a sense of scale and avoid overcrowding the space with too many decorations.

What lighting is best for a small room?

Layered lighting, which includes ambient, task, and accent lighting, is ideal for small rooms. Avoid heavy light fixtures and opt for sleek, unobtrusive options like recessed lighting, wall sconces, and floor lamps.

Holly Antoine

Holly Antoine is a Home, Lifestyle and DIY content creator. After leaving behind an 11-year career in the dental field to pursue her passion for design and decor, she developed her own branded site, HollyGrace.ca, where she shares her love of home design, decor, DIYs and inspires others to get creative and build[...]

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