11 Ways to Make a Small Room Feel Larger

Space is always at a premium. There are ways to create the feel of more space in your home with remodeling. The key is to think visually.

  1. Lighten up. Color is the most powerful tool you have. It changes your mood and how you perceive the objects in the room. Cool colors, like blue, purple, and green, tend to recede visually. They make a space feel open and calming. Light bounces off brighter objects more readily than darker objects. When designing a room, stick with colors that are at the top of a paint color card. Warm colors, such as red, orange and yellow, tend to be darker and therefore take up more visual space. That little black dress may be slimming to your waistline, but dark colors on walls will make a small room feel claustrophobic.


Color wheelA color wheel demonstrates cool and warm colors.


2. Create a soothing color palette.

Using colors that are similar in value will keep your eye from stopping on one particular object. Value is how dark a color appears, or how much black is added to it. Colors at the top of a paint color card are lighter in value. Similar value colors help your gaze continue and take in the expanse of the room. Using a bright accent color brings your attention to a piece and stops you from taking in the entire space.

A monochromatic palette uses colors of varying values from the same paint card and is very soothing. Use the lighter color for larger spaces, like walls, to get a maximum big room feel.

monochromatic This monochromatic palette is very soothing. Carl Mayfield Photography
3. Consider the next room.

If you can see another room while sitting in your small space, use that visual space. That’s prime real estate. Continue colors throughout the two rooms so that your mind is tricked into seeing one larger space.

color continuation The color continuation in each room makes the space feel larger.

4. Don’t forget to look up.

While we’re talking about color, let’s not overlook the most forgotten space in a room. The ceiling! It may seem counter-intuitive to bring attention to the ceiling, but you have to consider the complete design. A white ceiling emphasizes the stopping point. Paint the ceiling a shade or two lighter than the walls to create a major impact by making the walls seem like they keep going. While you’re at it, consider painting the base and crown molding a few shades darker that the walls.

Painted Ceiling  A painted ceiling makes for a seamless room.

5. Don’t forget to look out.

Windows are ideal for creating more space. If you’ve got a great view, show it off. Keep natural light flowing as much as possible. Curtains take up visual space and add extra layers, so skip them for maximum benefit. If the view is less than ideal or you need privacy, use cellular shades, wood blinds or roman shades. Whatever you use, keep it crisp and clean.

schwartz and architecture Schwartz and Architecture

6. Keep fabric simple.

Fabric has a visual weight. The more frilly, the heavier it seems. Clean lines are essential in creating more space. Large patterns also take up more visual space. Smooth fabrics bounce light better and make a space brighter.

small sofa A small sofa with clean lines if perfect in a small space.

7. Pull some double-duty

Furniture that serves more than one purpose is essential in small spaces. Look for pieces that have drawers and compartments. Ottomans that provide storage can be used as coffee tables or seating.

storage otto Ottomans with storage double as coffee tables.

8. Show off those legs

Trick the eye into seeing more space by choosing furniture with exposed legs. Your eye can travel farther than having skirted pieces.

leggy furniture Leggy furniture allows you to see more space.

9. Use proportional furniture

Smaller scale furniture is important. You might love that overstuffed leather sectional, but try fitting it in your living room and it’s a no go. Typically, older pieces are built on a smaller scale. You can always have a chair reupholstered to fit your color scheme.

armless chair Armless chairs and modern furniture are perfect for small spaces.

When shopping for pieces, know how much space you have. There might not be enough room for two bedside tables. Apartment sized furniture is a good option, also.

10. Edit your belongings.

Knick-knacks can easily overwhelm a space. Not every square inch of surface needs to have embellishment. Choose only your most loved pieces and then add a few decorative or textural pieces. Allow breathing room, or negative space, around objects to emphasize their importance. Clutter creates worry.

carefully curated Carefully curated belongings tell a story.

11. Don’t forget to personalize

Your home should reflect your personality and should be comfortable. You can follow all the design advice in the world and create a room that doesn’t feel right for you. Remember to balance advice with your likes!

Personalize Personalizing your space is important.


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