Making Small Spaces Look Bigger

Small Dining and Living Room Decorating

Just because a room in your home may be small, doesn't mean it has to look and feel that way. A few simple tricks can make even the smallest rooms seem spacious.

Mirror, mirror

One of the simplest ways to make a small room feel larger is to add mirrors. By reflecting light, color, and images, mirrors can make a room seem twice its actual size. Place a very large mirror in an area where it can maximize light, reflect the view from an adjoining room, or capture the scenery from a window to the outside.

Furnish frugally

Too-large furniture can make small spaces feel even smaller. When it seems like a sofa will take up too much space, choose a loveseat or several small chairs instead. Make a small dining room instantly look larger by selecting a smaller table. Too many items on walls can make them feel like they are closing in, so forego a visual menagerie for a single large painting or image to create a focal point. Create a feeling of greater floor space by leaving large rugs out of your decorating plans.

Lighten up

Adopting a light color scheme is a simple way to create the illusion of a much larger room. Choose neutrals, pastels, or white over dark or bright colors to reflect more light and make things seem roomier than they really are. Sheer window coverings create the sensation of size by allowing more light in. Light-colored carpets or flooring can also add to the feeling of openness and added space. Also remember to avoid selecting upholstery or wall coverings in bold prints.


Too much stuff can make any space feel cramped and uncomfortable. Keep things picked up, neatly organized, or out-of-sight to maximize the feeling of openness. Keeping things up off the floor as much as possible also adds to the illusion of space.  Rather than displaying your entire knickknack collection, show off no more than three pieces at any one time. By using only the furniture necessary for comfort and convenience, you can open up the feel of a room considerably.

Color coordinate

Keep your colors in the same family to create a feeling of openness. Using contrasting colors can make a space feel broken up or "interrupted."  Selecting furniture, wall coverings and other d�cor in similar shades helps to give rooms a seamless feel.

Show your stripes

Decorating walls in vertical stripes is another simple way to make a room seem larger. Because they draw the eye upward to the ceiling, vertical stripes create the illusion of added height.

Transparency tricks

From a visual standpoint, see-through items are less weighty than solid ones. This applies even when items are of identical size. A glass-topped table is an excellent addition to a small room because it will "disappear" against larger, more "substantial" pieces.

Scale it down

A small bedroom will feel cramped and uncomfortable if equipped with a bed that is too large. Opt for a smaller bed as well as smaller accessories to maximize space. Whenever possible, wall-hung cabinets, shelves, and other "elevated" fixtures free up floor space and make the room's footprint seem larger.

Off the wall

While cramming furnishings as close to the walls as possible may seem like the best way to create more space in a tiny room, bring it out from the walls a bit will actually make a space seem larger. Why? Unobstructed walkways allow better traffic flow around the room and help eliminate the cramped sensation. Open things up even more by selecting multi-function furniture to eliminate the need for several separate pieces.

Hocus Focus

Using a piece of eye-catching artwork, an attractive furnishing, or other "eye candy" to create a focal point in a room is a great way to draw the eye away from the rest of a room. Give that treasured antique a place of honor, display a fabulous painting, or show off something else that catches your fancy and makes you forget the size of the room.

Use your illusion

A clever color scheme can be real size-booster for a tiny room. Painting trim a lighter shade than the walls will make it seem further away than it really is and create the feeling of added distance. Painting a ceiling lighter than the walls will make a room feel larger by creating an illusion of height.

When you've gotta have color…

If you can't handle a monochromatic color scheme, try to limit it to small accents. Still need more color? Placing a large, colorful item such as a headboard against the wall can help to create an added sense of depth, as well as energize a room.

Posted by: Ahmed Muztaba
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