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31 Clever Ideas For How To Make A Small Room Look Bigger

WRITTEN by CHRISSY, LAST UPDATED ON October 15, 2023

& FILED IN Home Decor & DIY, Around The House 

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When space is at a premium, it’s always a good idea to maximise every square inch of your home. If you’ve got any tiny rooms, then these clever ideas for how to make a small room look bigger will help you to visually enlarge them without having to move any walls or get the builders in. Which will you use?

31 Clever Ideas For How To Make A Small Room Look Bigger

The key to making small spaces appear bigger is to use clever design techniques that trick the eye (a lot of which I used regularly with my clients when I was an Interior Designer).

By focusing on elements such as colour schemes, lighting, and furniture placement, you can manipulate the perception of the room’s size.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ideas – sometimes it’s the unexpected details that can make the biggest impact to a tiny room.

Let’s dive into all the ideas and tricks you can use that will really help you transform your smaller room from something that looks like this:

Small living room laid out so it feels cramped

…into a much bigger space, that you’ll actually want to spend time in.

#1 – Consider The Door

My absolute favourite way to make more space in a room is to change the door in some way.

In my current home, the first thing I did was to rehang each and every door so that they swung to the wall rather than into the room.

Rehanging door to make it swing to wall

This frees up more floor space, allows the door to ‘hide away’ more when open, and also makes the room feel much larger when you walk into the open space.

TIP: Remember that some of your light switches may then be behind the door when open, which may or may not worry you. If you want you could move these as well.

2 other brilliant options if you have the space and ability to do them are to use barn doors or pocket doors.

Barn doors slide horizontally on a track, eliminating the need for extra floor space to accommodate door swings.

Pocket doors are designed to slide into a compartment in the wall when open, completely disappearing from view and leaving lots more visual space.

Both types not only save valuable space but also help streamline the look of your room.

#2 – Maximise Light

Light creates the feeling of more space – so it’s definitely worth harnessing all available natural and artificial light.

Clean the windows and cut back any plants or trees outside to allow as much sunlight to flood each window.

And for artificial light – use layers with ceiling lights, wall lights, and floor/table lamps to distribute the light into every corner.

TIP: Pick the bulb(s) carefully because brighter the wattage you use will have an effect as well. Keep your bulbs clean as well, as any dust will lessen their brightness over time…

#3 – Use mirrors

Large white framed mirror on black living room wall

Mirrors not only add style to your space but they also create the illusion of space by reflecting light and enhancing the room’s depth.

When selecting mirrors, consider their size, shape, colour, and frame. Look for mirrors that complement your existing decor and personal taste.

You could go an extra step and get a mirror with a mirror frame (bevelled edge) as the extra reflective surfaces will let even more light bounce around the room!

Don’t go overboard – a few well-placed mirrors can make a big impact without overwhelming the space.

TIP: Always position your mirror so it reflects something nice (like a great view). The last thing you’ll want to do is reflect any clutter or busy-ness, as this will make the room feel smaller instead.

#4 – Use Hidden Storage

It’s best to opt for furniture with built-in storage or clever designs that help you keep things out of sight, yet readily accessible.

Opt for furniture without handles or with discreet, recessed handles to keep the surface of your furniture smooth and visually less busy.

For example, you can use push-click doors in alcoves or niches, which can be painted to match the room’s walls to blend in seamlessly.

Another idea is to incorporate hidden storage into existing features, like installing a cupboard within a chimney breast.

Remember that well-organised, hidden storage can greatly enhance the look and feel of your small room.

#5 – Have Compact Furniture

Choosing furniture pieces with smaller proportions means you’ll have the things you need in the room without overwhelming it.

Now isn’t the time to get that huge squishy sofa you’ve been craving for your small living room – scale it down a bit!

Make sure you measure your room and keep the dimensions in mind while shopping for furniture, ensuring a perfect fit.

#6 – Have Glass in Frames for Artwork

When you incorporate glass into your artwork’s frame, you’re providing an opportunity for extra light to be reflected throughout the room.

Additionally, you can experiment with frames that use mirrored glass, which may work well with your homes style, and can further amplify the illusion of a larger room.

TIP: When you’re arranging your glass-framed artwork, pay attention to the layout. Position the pieces in a way that maximises the amount of natural light reflected into your room. For example, you could put the artwork opposite a window or near a light source, so that the glass catches and bounces light across the space.

#7 – Clear the Windows

It’s important to clear your windows and allow as much light in as possible.

Firstly, take a look at your windowsills and remove any unnecessary items or decorations.

Keeping your windowsills clutter-free will enable more light to flow through and make the room feel brighter.

Remember, less is more!

Next, consider your window dressings and how they may be blocking light when not in use.

When choosing curtains or blinds, opt for light, airy materials that allow sunlight to filter through easily.

Hang your curtain rod higher and wider than the window frame, so your curtains or blinds don’t cover the full window when they’re open.

And it’s also worth choosing a fabric for any window dressings that’s lighter and allows some light through it.

Now isn’t the time for blackout blinds or velvet curtains!

#8 – Don’t bring the ceiling down

You’ll want to avoid anything that makes the ceiling appear lower, and the biggest way you can tackle this is to look at your ceiling lighting choice carefully.

As such, instead of hanging pendant lights that occupy extra vertical space, opt for spotlights or more flush lights to keep the ceiling as open as possible.

#9 – Allow Easy Flow

Creating an effortless flow in your small room can really open up the space and make it feel bigger.

Avoid blocking any pathways or doorways, as this can make the room feel cramped.

Instead, arrange your furniture in a way that encourages a clear and open route throughout the room.

#10 – Opt For Shutters Or Blinds

Shutters at window in small bedroom

One of the simplest ways to maximise perceived space in a room is to replace curtains with shutters or blinds.

Curtains tend to take up space visually, making the room feel more cramped.

On the other hand, shutters and blinds are more streamlined, allowing you to simplify the room and create a more open and spacious feel.

When using shutters or blinds, remember to keep the colour palette light and neutral since light colours can make your space feel bigger. Whites, creams, and neutrals work best.

#11 – Decorate With Light Colours

Light colours reflect natural light, creating an airy and open feel that can trick your eye into perceiving the space as larger.

As such, painting your room in a lighter colour will set the stage for a more spacious atmosphere.

If pure white feels a bit too stark for your taste, there are plenty of other light colours that can achieve a similar effect.

Soft neutrals, such as light grey, beige, or off-white, can also make a room feel larger and brighter. Also, pastel shades like pale green, blue, or yellow can introduce a touch of colour while still keeping the space light and open.

#12 – Or Choose Dark Colours!

Dark Walls Living Room - After Painting

Contrary to popular belief, sometimes dark colours will make a room feel more spacious than a paler colour.

It depends on how much light you get in the room. If you can see lots of shadows in your space then this can bring the walls in a bit.

I have a love for dark walls in rooms – and even use them in my smallest spaces because they can stop shadows being seen and it can have the effect of blurring the lines of the walls so you’re not sure exactly where they end.

Weird, but true. Try it!

#13 – Minimise Your Stuff

A friendly reminder for you, sometimes less is truly more!

To create a more spacious feel in your small room, it’s essential to declutter and only keep items that are truly necessary.

Simply look around the space and remove any excess furniture or decorations that don’t serve a purpose and are currently taking up unnecessary space.

The fewer items you have, the more room you’ll create.

Related: 101 Items To Declutter That You Really Won’t Miss – Start Today!

#14 – Have 1 Floor Throughout

By choosing just one type of floor covering, you create a sense of continuity and make it easier for the eye to perceive the area as a whole.

This approach helps eliminate any visual disruptions, which can sometimes make a small room appear even more cramped.

Try avoiding rugs or multiple flooring materials in a small room. Rugs tend to break up the space and make it feel fragmented. When your goal is to make the area feel more open and create extra space, it’s best to stick with one surface.

Also – selecting a light-coloured floor can further enhance the illusion of a larger room. Lighter colours reflect more natural light, which contributes to a brighter and more expansive-looking space.

TIP: Take this one step further and match the flooring between your rooms as well. Having the same floor throughout your home means you can’t see the end of the room as easily – and so you can get some extra inches there as well!

Wooden flooring running through from room to room

#15 – Choose Less Colours

It’s important to streamline the colour scheme in smaller rooms.

By unifying colours, items in the space will blend harmoniously together, creating an illusion of a bigger room.

To make a small room look bigger, it’s best to use colours from the same colour family as this will help create a more cohesive and smooth appearance across the room.

For example, if you’ve decided on a soft blue colour for your walls, consider incorporating different shades of blue in your furniture and accessories.

This will help items blend into one another and create the illusion of a larger space.

TIP: While unifying the colour scheme is crucial, you can also add some visual interest and depth to the room by introducing a few contrasting colours. Keep these contrasting shades to a minimum, and use them only as accent colours. For instance, if your primary colour is shades of blue, you might introduce small pops of warm coral or cream to add visual warmth in the space.

#16 – Go Vertical

Going vertical means utilising the room’s height and drawing the eye upwards to create a sense of spaciousness.

There are a few easy ways to do this:

First, consider incorporating bookcases that reach the ceiling. Make sure to keep the top shelves neat and less cluttered for the best effect.

High bookcase with colour coded books on the shelves

Next, don’t underestimate the impact of tall, thin plants. They not only bring a touch of nature indoors but also help elongate the space. Place them in corners or near windows to add height and draw attention to the full extent of your room.

Lastly, ladders can also be a practical and stylish addition to your vertical decor. Positioning a decorative ladder in the corner with some hanging plants, photo frames, or folded blankets can add visual interest and draw the eye up.

Ladder with blankets on in a living room with black walls and fireplace

#17 – Go Shallow

Whenever possible, opt for shallow furniture as this allows you to maximise the available floor space in your small room.

For example, choosing a shallow sofa instead of a deep one can provide more room to move around as they take up a smaller space, making the area feel larger and more comfortable.

In addition to sofas, consider other furniture items that can be shallow:

  • Coffee tables (a rectangle rather than a large square)
  • Side Tables
  • Sideboards
  • Bookshelves
  • TV stands

These pieces come in a variety of styles, so you can effortlessly find items that suit your taste and match the room’s existing decor.

#18 – Paint Skirting to Match Walls

I’ve only just started doing this myself, but LOVE the results!

The reason this works so well is that it creates a seamless and unified look, which visually expands the space in your room.

Additionally, it makes the walls look higher, again giving the impression of a more spacious area.

#19 – Try Glass Table Tops

Not only do glass table tops reflect light, but they also make it possible to see underneath the table, giving an open and airy atmosphere to your space.

When selecting a glass table top, consider opting for round or oval shapes.

These forms lack harsh corners and can make a room appear larger by allowing for a smoother flow of space. They’re perfect for both coffee tables in your living room and dining tables where you want the focus to be on functionality, comfort, and style.

#20 – Choose Furniture With Clean Lines

By selecting furniture that’s simple and streamlined, you’re more likely to make the space appear larger as well as more cohesive because it will help create a less busy atmosphere in the room.

In your quest for clean lines, try to avoid heavy, ornate details that can crowd a small space. Keep the designs simple wherever possible.

#21 – Mount Your TV on The Wall

A smart way to make a small room look bigger is to mount your TV on the wall.

This not only gives your room a more modern touch but also frees up valuable floor space, since there’s no need for a TV unit.

TIP: Cable management is an essential aspect of wall mounting your TV. Exposed wires can look untidy and even spoil the whole point of your room looking bigger, so try and hide them as much as you can.

#22 – Simplify Patterns

Using patterns can make a room feel too busy and close it in a little, visually.

As such, try simplifying the patterns in your small room by picking just one or two and using them sparingly.

Also think about the scale of the patterns on your walls, furniture, and soft furnishings. Small patterns or using patterns on just one wall can make a room appear smaller, so sometimes you’re better off going for a larger pattern – the opposite of what you may think, right!.

Look at this wall mural on a small garden room wall – it actually makes the room feel larger because it adds focus and depth.

Small Garden Room With Large Patterned Wall Mural

#23 – Opt For Built-In Furniture

The key to making your small room feel bigger is to maximise functionality while minimising clutter. As such, if you go for built-in furniture that fits your space exactly, you’re optimising it without wasting anything.

Examples of brilliant ways to incorporate built in furniture in smaller rooms are alcove cupboards, window seats and custom shelving.

Alcove cupboards are a perfect addition to any small room with already existing recessed spaces.

Window seats can also prove to be wonderful built-in furniture additions to a small room. Besides providing extra seating without consuming additional space, they offer a lot of extra storage – which can be ideal for keeping seasonal items or spare cushions and blankets out of the way.

And lastly, incorporating built-in shelving provides ample storage for your belongings without taking up valuable floor space. Place your most-used items within arm’s reach and use the higher shelves for decorative purposes or storing rarely used things.

#24 – Pick Oversized Art

Large Canvas artwork in small bedroom

When it comes to making a small room look bigger, you might think that filling your walls with several small pieces of art is the way to go.

However, incorporating one oversized piece of art can have a much more impressive effect on your space. This bold choice catches the eyes instantly, and creates a focal point that makes your room appear larger.

#25 – Ensure Good Sight Lines

Creating good sight lines in your small room will dramatically enhance the feeling of space and make it look bigger.

Stand and sit in all areas of the room and make sure there is a clear view from all angles in the room. When sight lines are clear, you allow people to see the entire space, giving the illusion of a larger area.

#26 – Choose Multi-Functional Furniture

When it comes to making a small room look bigger, every inch of space counts. One way to maximise your room’s functionality and maximising space is by incorporating multi-functional furniture.

For example, a coffee table with a desk attachment not only serves as a regular coffee table but also transforms into a workspace when needed, allowing you to work from the comfort of your living area.

Or how about a sofa bed? Ideal for small apartments or guest rooms, sofa beds offer the comfort of a sofa during the day and a bed at night.

#27 – Move Furniture Away from Walls

This technique, also known as “floating” furniture, allows for better use of floor space and can make your room feel more spacious (as subconsciously you realise that your room is large enough not to have to have everything against the walls to fit in).

Starting with your seating, try to place sofas and chairs closer to each other to create a cosy, intimate setting.

In addition to this, consider rearranging larger pieces such as bookcases or cabinets into a more asymmetrical layout. This will add visual interest and keep the eye moving around the room, which can make the space feel larger.

You can also layer smaller furniture in front of larger ones, like nesting tables or stools. This will help create depth.

#28 – Have Furniture with Legs

Wooden flooring being seen under sofa with long legs

Opting for furniture with legs can make a significant difference in the perception of space.

The reason behind this is that furniture with legs allows light to pass underneath, and reveals more floor space, helping your small room to appear larger.

Also, when you add legs to your furniture, you’re optimising the vertical space more, which again increases the sense of space.

#29 – Leave White Space

When you’re arranging furniture and decorations, remember not to fill every inch of the room.

Sometimes, less is more, and leaving some blank spaces (it doesn’t have to be white, that’s just its name!) will make the room feel larger and airier.

Incorporate empty wall surfaces into your design. Instead of covering every bit of wall space with artwork, consider using a few statement pieces that catch the eye. This will create a beautiful focal point and allow the eye to appreciate the roominess the empty walls provide.

#30 – Have Just 1 Function

When you limit the room’s purpose to a single function, it prevents overcrowding and makes the area feel more spacious.

If your small room must serve multiple purposes, try to hide secondary functions as much as possible.

For instance, if your bedroom also doubles as a home office, consider a fold-away desk or a concealed workstation that can be discreetly tucked away when not in use.

#31 – Create a focal point

A focal point allows the eyes to rest on one space and draws attention away from the limited square footage in the room.

Some popular focal points include a large piece of artwork, an accent wall, or a statement piece of furniture.

Once you’ve identified your focal point, place your furniture around it to enhance its visual impact.

31 Clever Ideas For How To Make A Small Room Look Bigger

There you have it! 31 brilliant ways to help solve the problem of how to make a small room look bigger.

There are options for every budget, style and DIY level – and I’m sure you’re inspired by at least 2 or 3 right now…

So – why not get started, and make those tiny spaces look huge – from today!

This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on OrganiseMyHouse.com (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...