I’ve lived in many small apartments and condos in my life. It is always a challenge to plan the layout and furniture placements as well as the best way to decorate to make the space look bigger than it really is. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from my own mistakes and gathered some tips from professional interior designers.
Here I’d like to share with you the top 10 best ways to make a small room look bigger:
1. Paint the wall and ceiling a light color
Visually, light colors expand while dark colors enclose. Given the same space, if you paint the wall and ceiling a light color, it will look more spacious because light reflects off light-colored surfaces and bounces around to illuminate the room. When light fills the room, all the dark corners and shadowed areas are lit, thereby realizing the full potential a room has to offer visually.
On the contrary, with the same room, if you paint the wall and ceiling a dark color, light gets absorbed, and all the dark corners and shadowed areas remain dark, creating a vignette effect for the room and making it shrink visually.
Regarding the ceiling, it can be a good idea to paint the ceiling the same color (or similar shades of a color) as the wall, because it connects the wall to the ceiling, create an open plan with no vertical limit. Have you ever been to a high-ceiling home? It looks bigger than a low-ceiling home because there is more vertical space for your eyes to take in. We want to create the same illusion by painting the ceiling the same color as the wall. Create that open plan vertically.
2. Use appropriately sized furniture
When you put an oversized, extra grande sofa in a small living room, you reduce the amount of visual space by sectioning off the room into two spaces – sitting space vs. walking space. Guess which space gives you an airier feel? Walking space.
The less walking space a room has, the smaller and cozier it appears. If you’re after a big room feel, try to maximize the walking space.
You can do that easily by using appropriately sized furniture. You don’t have to buy tiny furniture. Just make sure the size doesn’t overwhelm the room.
3. Use less furniture
When you scatter your room with many pieces of furniture, you reduce the walking space/visual space, and make the room look smaller.
The secret to make a room look bigger is to use less furniture. You can choose furniture that is multi-functional. For example, instead of using multiple dressers or chests, choose a bedframe that has drawers built-in.
When you have less furniture in your room, your walking space/visual space is maximized, making the room look bigger.
It is better to have one big piece of furniture than multiple small pieces of furniture. This applies to artwork, furniture and accessories. Less is more!
4. Use similar shades from the same color
Colors have a powerful way to divide and separate a room. Colors also have meanings. If you have a blue sofa, a white coffee table, and a brown recliner chair, it is going to make the room look smaller than if you have a white sofa, a white coffee table and a white recliner chair.
Use shades from the same color and you will create harmony and cohesiveness in your interior design. The similar colors will unify the various elements in a room, creating a cleaner, less cluttered feel.
When your room look less cluttered, it will look bigger.
5. Let there be light
Illuminate your room well, and your room will look bigger.
I know we all want to have that romantic, candle-lit room where magic happens. Psychologically, dimmer lighting creates a cozier feel because it creates a vignette effect for the room. The corners are darkened, and the only things that are lit are the focal points – you and your loved one.
But since we are talking about how to make a room look bigger, it’s important we illuminate the room properly. If you feel like a certain corner is looking gloomy, add or direct some lighting there. You can use mirrors and light-reflective objects to increase light diffusion.
A brighter room equals a bigger room feel. You just have to balance the light intensity so you can still have a cozy feel.
6. Use mirrors to create the illusion of doubled space
Mirrors are magical when it comes to making a room look bigger. It is equally important to select the right kind of mirror and how to place it.
First, place a large full-length mirror at the foot level, so you can see your own feet. It is important that you can see your own feet, because this setup will create the illusion of doubled space. More specifically, doubled walking space. In this article above, I mentioned “Guess which space gives you an airier feel? Walking space.”
Small mirrors don’t create the illusion of doubled space. When it comes to mirrors, it’s go big or go home.
Secondly, use mirrors to reflect light. The more light reflects and bounces around, the more light can fill up the crevices of a room, and make it look more spacious.
7. Leave your windows uncovered
Give yourself 100% free, visual room by drawing up the curtains. When you are able to look outside your windows unobstructed, you will see extra space, which adds more perceived space to your room.
My home looks completely different when I have my curtains closed vs. when I have them open. When the curtains are closed, my room’s space ends at the window. The curtain stops my gaze from traveling further and creates a border between the inside and the outside. However, when my curtains are open, I can look outside and see additional space and depth that the outside world offers me. It radically makes my room appear bigger.
Letting additional, natural light in is also a great way to make your room look bigger.
Whenever possible, uncover your windows. If you must have some curtains at all times, try using a sheer curtain, so you can still see a bit of the outside.
8. Use fabrics in small prints or plain colors
Keep your fabric patterns simple by using smaller prints or plain colors. This keeps the visual noise to a minimum and helps make the room look bigger.
Imagine a space with bold zebra patterned sofa, a damask wallpaper, floral cushions, and a dark cherry wood coffee table. It is just visual overload. While each of those patterns and fabrics can add unique texture to a space, having too many of them will just clutter up your visual space.
Keep your patterns simple. Having a unified color scheme or fabric theme will visually expand a small room.
9. Choose furniture and décor that gives you visual space
Space is at a premium here, so we want to choose the kind of furniture that will give us more visual space.
For example, opt for sofas and chairs that have raised legs. This creates the illusion of airiness and lightness, and makes the room appear lighter.
If it fits your décor, see-through furniture made of glass or lucite can make your room look bigger because it looks like it’s not there. A glass coffee table will allow you to see the floor, thereby creating the illusion of more walking space.
A transparent, clear shower curtain can make your bathroom look bigger because your gaze can travel from one end to the other end without interruption.
Choose the right furniture and décor and your space will easily look bigger.
I saved the best for last. De-clutter.
There is nothing better than getting rid of clutter that will make a room look bigger. When you pick up your clothes, books, paper, or bags from the floor, sofa or bed, your visual space is increased. More visual space gives you the feeling of a larger room.
Moreover, there is also no need to fill your book shelves from end to end. Take out some book and leave some empty space. It will give your space an airy look and more visual space.
That’s it! My top 10 best ways to make a room look bigger. If you follow the tips above, I am sure you will see a difference in your room.
Please share this article so your friends and loved ones can benefit from enjoying a bigger space too!