How to Make Small Rooms Look and Feel Bigger
We’ve all been there before – a tiny space where we have to live or work. It may be an apartment, a dorm room, or even a garage. It seems that the smaller the room, the harder it is to decorate and make it feel larger. Worry no more! In this article, I’ll show you how to make a small room feel bigger using a variety of tips and tricks. These include common practices in interior design, psychological tricks, and even a cantaloupe – yes, a cantaloupe!
Furniture Styles & Placement
1. Object Placement is Key
Where you put furniture can make a world of difference. This may seem counterintuitive, but if you place furniture a few inches away from the walls, it actually makes a small room feel larger. You can also, place taller items (plants, lamps, shelves) in the corners so your eye is drawn all the way across the room.
2. Clever Use of Furniture
We often resort to using standard furniture, no matter the size of our apartment or home. A regular ol’ chair, a basic coffee table, the list goes on. Choose creative furniture instead that frees up space; like a stool vs. desk chair, glass furniture vs. wood furniture, and hanging shelves vs. bookshelf.
Choose a stool that fits completely under your furniture.
Use glass furniture that keeps your line of sight long, making your room appear and feel larger because your vision isn’t blocked.
3. Create a Faux L-Couch
Instead of placing your ottoman in the center of your room, try placing it directly next to your couch to create an L-couch. More relaxation for you and more room in your room!
4. Show Off Your Short Legs
The lower the furniture, the taller the walls appear. Also consider using furniture with exposed legs – show your legs off! This refers again to keeping your line of sight as long as possible. Rooms psychologically feel larger if we can see further away (this is why glass furniture is ideal).
5. Multi-Purpose Items
Utilize multi-purpose items, such as a bench with drawers, a vanity that doubles as a desk, a coffee table with a hidden compartment, or an ottoman with storage. Why have multiple items when you can have one item that does multiple things?!
Illusions of Space
6. Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall
One of the most common techniques to give the illusion that a space is larger than it actually is, is to place mirrors in a strategic manner. There are multiple strategies when it comes to mirrors: create an accent wall with a mirror to practically double the appearance of a room; hang multiple mirrors all around your tiny space so it reflects maximum light; or sliding mirror doors.
7. Light colors can make a small space look huge
Light and bright is the way to go. Dark colors in your space absorb the natural light and creates a cramped feeling. With lighter colors, light reflects and expands. So think of using white or cream for your fabrics, paint, wallpaper, and decor. The brighter it is, the bigger it’ll feel.
Put it to the test: which one looks bigger to you?
8. Keep spaces open
Keep doors or curtains open (or go wild and completely remove them!) so you are able to see more, therefore making the space feel larger. In your bathroom, use a clear shower curtain or keep the curtain open when not in use. In your kitchen, consider removing the pantry door or use exposed shelves so everything is wide open (this also creates more motivation to stay organized!).
9. Stripes In Every Direction
We know this trick with our clothes: wear vertical stripes to appear taller. The same goes for our rooms! Think of using vertical stripes for more length or horizontal stripes for more width. Stripes are a nice addition on rugs, paint, or curtains.
Get creative with patterns to make the room feel as if it’s not actually a box.
10. Vertical storage space
Find shelves that reach your ceiling. By storing items toward the ceiling, this appears to elongate the wall. Also, instead of hanging your curtains directly above your windows, place them directly under your ceiling.
Interior Design Tips
11. Ditch the Gallery Wall
Gallery walls are a popular trend, but to create a feeling of more space, it’s actually better to use one large art piece (or mirror). A gallery wall has many small pieces that constrict your room. The bigger the picture, the bigger the room appears. Just like magic!
Let’s have another test: which one feels larger?
12. Use a transparent room divider
Another simple way to make a small space feel larger, is to turn it into TWO spaces! Use light curtains, shelves or even a row pf plants to create separate areas and make your room feel double in size.
13. Bare Windows and Floors
It’s hard to imagine windows with no curtains, or a hardwood floor with no rugs. Well, use the image below to expand your imagination a bit. Curtains and rugs can optically compartmentalize your space; so consider leaving your windows and floors bare to avoid creating separate sections.
14. The Cantaloupe Rule
When in doubt, follow the Cantaloupe Rule! This was coined by Target’s Home Style expert, Sabrina Soto. She believes that if a decor item is smaller than a cantaloupe, it is considered clutter. Instead of a bunch of little pieces, opt for one or two larger statement pieces. Use this trick with all your knick-knacks, then have a nice melon snack afterward!
And there you have it! No more excuses to feel cramped in your small spaces. Here’s the thing about these tricks – creating a larger space isn’t just a literal process. It’s also mental. Many of these tricks are just that: tricks — psychologically making us believe our space is larger.
There is nothing wrong with a tiny, cozy space – but we all know that bigger is truly better. Let us know what tips and tricks work the best for you!