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Make a Small Room Look Bigger

Brightly lit living room with natural light featuring a beige sofa with chaise, white ottoman, and television

Small rooms often feel cozier than large rooms (plus, there’s less to clean!), but they can also feel cramped. The good news? You can make them seem bigger than they are—without investing in a remodel—and you don’t have to sacrifice style to do it!

Ready to get started? Read on for a bit of inspiration to get your creativity flowing.

Tips for Creating the Illusion of Space

  • Cut the clutter. The more stuff that’s in plain view, the tighter a small space feels. Make a point of stowing things in cabinets or neatly arranging them on shelves—or ask yourself if you really need it, and if not, donate it.
  • Choose lighter paint colors. Lighter paint colors reflect natural light, making a space feel more open and airy. Using the same paint color for the entire room, as opposed to breaking up sections with different colors, also helps make a space look larger.
  • Lighten up your floors. Just like with walls, lighter colored floors help make a space feel larger. While replacing your current flooring may not be feasible, adding a light-colored area rug is an alternative option.
  • Go neutral with fabrics. Using neutral, solid colors for fabrics helps open up a room—so save the plaids and prints for larger areas of your home.
  • Consider scale. A small room doesn’t mean you should opt for small-scale furniture. In fact, using several pieces of small furniture can make a space looked cramped. Instead of a loveseat and multiple side tables, try a full-size sofa and a low coffee table. The key is choosing full-size furniture that isn’t bulky. That means a sofa with the legs showing, as opposed to one with a skirted bottom.
  • Hang a large piece of art. A small room is the perfect place for hanging oversize art, as it visually extends the space.
  • Add reflective surfaces. Another way to visually enlarge a room is to hang a mirror. Mirrors reflect light, creating a more open feeling within a space. If you have the real estate, you could lean an oversized mirror against a wall. If your small space is a bedroom, you might want to swap out sliding closet doors with mirrored doors. 

Mirrors not your thing? Other options for adding reflective surfaces include glass-topped or lacquered furniture, which also add a unique design element.

  • Go high. Drawing the eye upward helps make any room look taller. Extend shelving or kitchen cabinets to the ceiling, add vertical striped wallpaper or wallpaper with a subtle vertical pattern, or create a gallery wall that extends to the ceiling.
  • Take advantage of natural light. You’ll want to invite the sunlight into the room, so opt for woven wood shades or shades with sheer fabrics, rather than window treatments with heavier materials, and mount them above the window frame.

Built-in wall shelving featuring neatly arranged photos, books, and vases. Display items on shelves to help a small space breathe.
Bright, naturally lit living room with white walls and sofa. Opt for lighter colors over dark, for reflecting natural light.
Naturally lit living room featuring tall windows with Provenance® Woven Wood Shades. Invite sunlight into the room with Provenance® Woven Wood Shades.
White area rug covering wood floors next to a sofa and windows. Brighten a dark-colored floor with an area rug.

Gray leather sofa with accent pillows next to an end table with vases and plants. Stick with grays, creams and other neutrals when choosing fabrics.
Small living room featuring a small grey sofa with visible legs and a throw blanket draped over the arm and seat. Select full-size furniture with exposed legs over multiple smaller pieces.

Small living room featuring a large wall art piece, accent chairs, and coffee table. Easily make a space look bigger with a large piece of art.
Small bedroom featuring mirrored closet doors. Install mirrored closet doors to reflect light.

Small kitchen featuring white, ceiling-height cabinets. Make any room look taller with cabinets that extend to the ceiling.

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