Over the years I have learned many ‘tricks’ to either make a small room appear larger, or adding storage when space is limited. I hope some of these ideas can help you out!
Small rooms may be cozy and efficient, but you can often feel cramped and very difficult to keep organized. Well luckily there are many ways to make a small room appear larger than it really is. Here are some clever tips and tricks of the eye that can be easily incorporated into any small room.
Tip 1- Choose a Light Color Scheme
Dark colors are a no-no in small rooms. As suggested, lighter color palettes cast the illusion of a larger area. Dark color schemes, although trendy and design-friendly, are best used in larger areas. When dark color schemes are used in smaller rooms, it can create a suffocating feeling as though the walls are closing in on what is already a space-challenged room.
Tip 2- Purchase/add legs on your furniture that show.
Opting for furniture with legs showing opens up a small space. Compared to large furniture pieces that rest directly on the floor without legs showing, which can appear too big and bulky for a small space, furniture with legs showing draws the eye upward and creates the illusion of more light and space in a small room.
Tip 3- Sheer Window Treatments
Stay away from window treatments that are bulky, heavy, and ornate. They may look pretty but drapes, valances, cornices, and curtains made of heavy material subdue too much natural light. Use the window(s) in a small room to bring light into every corner. Along with light-colored walls, the sunlight will make the room seem larger. Consider slatted window blinds, very sheer lace curtains, or, bamboo shades. Slatted blinds provide privacy when closed and bamboo shades offer semi-privacy when closed (but also allow sun to filter through the woven material)
Tip 4- Create an Illusion With Mirrors
I know, the mirrors were an 80’s idea but, you can really work magic with mirrors. They are an ideal accessory for making a room appear larger. Mirrors can be installed on sliding closet doors or as a covering for an entire wall (preferably near a window). Mirrors serve two beneficial purposes: First, images, accessories, wall hangings, furniture, and light from lamps or recessed lighting will be reflected into the room. Second, during the day as natural sunlight pours in through the window(s), it reflects off the mirrors making the room brighter and lighter. When I purchased this house it had mirrors in the family room. I was thinking of removing but, during the day the sliding windows on the other side of the room, reflect all that light and makes the room so much larger appearing. On a bedroom closet doors, I painted big stripes horizontally. All I did was add frost to every other stripe. It came out so nice and modern looking!
Notice the lighter room colors.
Tip 5- Color Coordinate Your Shelves
If you have open shelves in your kitchen, store items with like colors .This helps to keep a small room looking organized and neat rather than cluttered. It also helps to space out items on open shelves and use them for display as well as storage.
Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock
Tip 6- Add Stripes
Stripes—both vertical and horizontal—can create the illusion of more space. Vertical stripes help to draw the eye upward and horizontal stripes help to make a room seem wider. Be sure to select colors that go with the rest of your finishes and fabrics in the room.
I did this for someone in their home. I used a different sheen in the stripes. One in a eggshell and the other in a satin, in metallic paints. It came out beautiful!
Tip 7- Incorporate Multi Functional Furniture
To utilize the space in a small room to its maximum potential, decorate with furniture that can serve a dual purpose such as a sofa with pullout storage space, an ottoman that opens for extra storage, or a steamer trunk that can also double as a coffee or end table. Furniture that can be downsized is a great way to create space, too. Remove the leaf from a dining room table until it’s needed, replace a full-size recliner with a medium-sized chair and footstool, or replace a traditional bed with a pullout sofa or a daybed that can also serve as a sofa.
Tip 8- Make The Most of Your Ceiling
You can create an illusion of your small room being much larger than it is by installing a band of small molding, about a foot down from the ceiling around the entire room. Paint the ceiling above the molding a color different from the wall area below the molding. Keep in mind the suggestion about using lighter color paint. In this case, the ceiling could be white or cream with the walls a lovely pastel like pale yellow or blue.
Do you see in the pic how the molding is installed a foot down from ceiling? I think it would have looked even better if the top of molding was painted a lighter color.
Photo by: diyinahour
Tip 9- Ditch the Clutter
I can almost hear what your thinking on this one. Learning how to make a small room look bigger starts with the clutter. Too much clutter overpowers the square foot and will make the room look smaller. The adage less is more, holds true when there’s too much stuff taking up precious space. A quick way to make room is spending the day decluttering. Do this by reducing the number of decorative accessories, knick knacks, artificial plants and flowers, or any other items you have on display that serve no purpose. Reducing the clutter has a positive impact on the visual size of the room.
Tip 10- Lighter Color Flooring
I know a lot of people love the darker floors but as the same with color schemes, choosing a light-colored flooring can create the illusion of a larger space. If you don’t have the option of replacing dark wood floors or carpet, use light-colored rugs to cover as much of the area as possible. Whether you use area rugs or able to install new flooring, choose colors that will complement the wall paint.
Tip 11: Monochromatic Color
Choose a paint scheme using one color with varying shades and/or textures. Choose pale colors such as ivory, cream, white, pale blue, or yellow and light grey. Lighter colors give the appearance of being open and airy. You can use a few dark accessories, such as a sofa throw, pillows or vase to highlight the light-colored walls and accentuate the texture without posing a negative effect.
Tip 12- Utilize Walls and Built in Storage
Sometimes the only thing lacking in a bathroom is storage space. When there’s no extra floor space, consider a built-in cabinet that utilizes the open space within the walls. You/ contractor can build this useful cabinet in a bathroom or even a kitchen wall. You could also use glass shelves in the bathroom which will utilize space and doesn’t look ‘heavy’.
The shelves have to be made between the studs in the wall. If you want to try it yourself, I found a great tutorial here.
Tip 11- Clear Furniture
When purchasing furniture for a smaller room opt for see-through furniture, such as a glass coffee table or clear acrylic desk. Clear furniture helps to make a small room feel more open while still proving a useful surface and a unique design element.
I opted for a large glass coffee table in my living room. I also went with light colors and a beautiful rug underneath it!
Tip 12- Floor to Ceiling Bookcases
A floor-to-ceiling bookcase shows off a small room’s height while adding a lot of space-saving vertical storage.
I know all you kitty lovers loved that pic!
Tip 13- Choose Plain Furniture
Choose plain, solid-color upholstery instead of pieces with busy patterns. This will help a small space feel more open and less chaotic. Plain upholstery also preserves the clean lines of furniture pieces, making a room feel neat and orderly.
The plain furniture in this pic is nice, I think they just need to add some of their own personality into the room.
Photo: Alex Gorins/Shutterstock
I can honestly say I stuck to most of the above in my living room, except my coffee table may be a little over cluttered.
I hope that you enjoyed this post and I gave you some ideas for your own home.