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Making Your Small Space Look Larger

By Edited Oct 27, 2013 1 2

Small spaces often feel crowded and overwhelming. The smaller your room the more likely it is to become full and to feel confining rather then relaxing. However, it doesn't have to be this way. You can do a few simple things to make your small space feel larger.

Clear Out The Clutter.
Most of us have a lot of clutter in our lives. Often times this is because we collect things that we don't need, hold on to things we should let go, and become overly sentimental about all sorts of things. The first step to making your small spaces feel larger is to get rid of the clutter. Find a place for everything to go and what you don't use, get rid of. Clutter can also take the form of furniture. If you have unused furniture or a space that is crammed full then you need to work on getting rid of it.

Clear Out The Walkways.
The more open space that a room has the larger it will feel. Make sure that you don't put furniture in the way. This means clearing out walkways and opening as much space as possible. It is also a good idea to avoid separating a room with furniture if it is at all possible.

While many of us forget to think about the ceiling in our homes, it is really where we should begin our decor, especially in a small room. It is important to choose a paint color for the ceiling which helps draw the eye back and make the room feel taller as well as more open. Often times this is best accomplished with white, but you can choose a lighter shade of the paint you use on the walls as well.

For many of us the walls are the base where we begin our decorating projects. For small rooms there are a few things to consider about how we decorate our walls.

  1. Choosing the paint- For the best look that makes a room feel open, clean, and larger a light color is best. This means choosing a pastel, neutral, or a shade of white. Any will do to meet your tastes, but it is important to avoid dark and bright colors which will make the room feel smaller.
  2. Monochromatic- Another thing to consider when choosing paint colors is to make your color scheme monochromatic. In this case, you don't want a lot of color on the walls. Choose a single color and use lighter shades of it to accent with (if you choose an accent color). This way your trim and other features can have an accent color, but aren't going to be bold and aren't going to work against you in making your room feel larger.
  3. Mirrors- Mirrors may not be your idea of a great way to go when it comes to decor, but they reflect light and color making a room look and feel larger. You can use several small mirrors arranged on a wall, a large mirror propped up against the wall, or even mirror tiles to cover a wall for a dramatic look. If getting a framed mirror look for one with a lighter colored frame.
  4. Artwork- Larger pieces with light colored frames and light color schemes work best for making a room feel larger. If you choose smaller pieces then they will make the room feel more cluttered.
  5. Pictures- Hanging family pictures is always a good thing. However, it is easy to get carried away. Choose a few larger photos to display and leave collages and smaller pictures for the photo albums and scrap books. It is also a good idea to choose light colored frames when choosing picture frames for a small room as well.

Many of us stop thinking of the decor of a room once we get done with the walls, but in small rooms what you choose to put on the floor is just as important. Always choose a light color. This can mean a light color wood, tile, or carpet. Choosing options that aren't carpet can also make a room feel larger. Consider wood,lament, or tile. Whatever you choose you want something without a lot of variation (choose large, light colored patterns or solid colored tiles). If you are going to put down an area rug it is also a good idea to go with something the same color as your walls (perhaps a slightly lighter shade). An area rug can also be put down to cover up darker carpet in places that you can't change. Area rugs should also be with large, light colored patterns or better yet solid colors.

Furniture can be a complicated part of decorating a small space. There are lots of tips that can help your furniture make your small space look larger and choosing just a few can be a great way to open the space up.
  1. Color choices- Your colors should all be light. It is best if you choose a few pieces that are even the same color as your walls because this will help them blend in and make the space feel larger. You can then add a little color with patterns, throws, pillows, or stenciled designs. You should also make sure that you don't have a lot of contrast between pieces. Patterns that you choose forupholstery should be large with light colors on top of light colors.
  2. Wood- Wood should be light in color. However, you should consider painting larger pieces. Painting them the same color as your walls can make a huge difference in how your room feels.
  3. Height- You should have at least 18" between your ceiling and your tallest pieces of furniture. Furniture that is taller makes the ceiling feel closer, even if it isn't.
  4. Lines- Your furniture lines should be clean and preferably straight. This makes them feel longer and gives the room a less cluttered feel.
  5. Openness- Choosing open furniture (such as glass, open arms and legs) can make your space feel larger because you can see beyond the furniture.
  6. Number- Having a lot of pieces (even if they are smaller) will give your room a more cluttered look and feel. Cluttered always leads to feeling smaller.
  7. Size- Many people think that smaller is better. This can be true, as long as it doesn't mean more pieces of furniture. Choosing a love seat over a couch can be a great option, but choosing three chairs will make your space feel smaller. Choose scaled down furniture whenever possible, but don't go with more furniture to meet your needs. Bigger is better if you have the need for it.
  8. Diagonal lines- Placing one or two larger pieces of furniture on a diagonal (in the corner) can make a small room feel smaller. Additionally you can tuck things away in the corner behind the furniture. This option works well with couches, entertainment centers, beds, and bookcases. The diagonal line draws the eye and makes the room feel larger then straight lines do.

Lighting and Window Coverings.
Light is definitely your friend. Because of this is more is best. Consider track or recessed lighting, lots of lamps (wall lamps can make it easier because they don't take up space), and light window coverings. Provide lots of artificial lighting so that you can turn up and down your options as needed. Avoid window coverings that are dark and solid whenever possible. Instead choose valances, airy curtains, and mini blinds that can be left open. This way you can take advantage of as much natural light that comes in.

Small spaces and small houses can easily become overwhelming and feel really tiny. However you can turn that small space into one that feels larger, looks larger, and is homey and cozy.You don't have to suffer in your small spaces anymore!


Aug 30, 2009 1:47am
My living room is super small - I've got a huge sectional in there (from when we had a nice big great-room living room in our old house) and it just shrinks the room. I'm planning to get a regular couch soon so you can actually walk through the room - having walkways definitely does make a difference!
Nov 23, 2010 11:10am
Yes it does. Our current home is 600 square feet with four of us living here (hubby, me, four year old son, and 18 month old daughter). It is very tiny and some of our furniture is too big.
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