If you have a small room you’d like to appear visually larger, there are a few tricks to achieving that effect. Doing just one can make a dramatic difference in the “feel” of the room and make it seem larger in size overall.
1 – Dark Floors or Rugs
This goes against everything you’ve been told, that small rooms should be as light as possible, right? Yes and no. When the rest of the room is light, a dark floor or large dark rug can be grounding and make a room feel taller. It also can make the furnishings stand out, so if you have light furnishings you love, especially with interesting leg detail, try a dark floor. Darker floors also bring visual interest to lucite and glass furnishings, which sometimes disappear into them until the light hits, creating a stunning effect.
2 – Maximize Natural Light
Whether you go with a dark or light color scheme, natural light will make it feel more spacious. Use window treatments that are a sheer as you can get away with from a privacy standpoint and let the light in.
3 – Floor to Ceiling or Interior Mounted Window Treatments
In small rooms, I ask clients to either go with floor to ceiling window treatments or interior-mounted Roman shades. Anything in between will take up visual space and make the room feel more cluttered. Floor to ceiling curtains, if you have the floor space, will carry the eye up and make the ceilings feel taller.
4 – Shallow Light Fixtures
Light fixtures that hug close to the ceiling but also make an artistic statement (I prefer metallics or neutral colors in a small room, bright pieces can overwhelm a small space) can draw the eye up and make a room feel larger. A few affordable options –
5 – Stick with a Monochromatic Scheme
I try to go with one color family in small spaces, adding interest with texture, rather than contrasting colors.
6 – Keep Furnishings Low
You’ve probably heard how oversized furniture can work in small spaces and that’s true, but it takes very careful attention to scale. An easier option is to keep things low, so you maximize the amount of wall space between the furniture and ceiling. If you have high ceilings, you can get away with more height but in a shorter room, low is the way to go.
7 – Try a Dark Accent Wall
I love one dark (not sort of dark – like really dark) wall in small rooms if you are someone who likes an accent wall. I try to keep the decoration on it minimal so that it really feels like it’s receding (this isn’t the place for your large mirror, but is a great place for a piece of relic art or similar, properly scaled). I realize the photo shows a mirrored dark wall, but this room has plenty of light to pull it off – I’m just using this wall as an example of what I mean by dark and also because I love the ladder and rug.
8 – Furnishings that Let the Light Through
Furnishings you can see through are a great way to maximize visual space and to show off a beautiful rug or floor. Options for every style and budget –
9 – Declutter
Every “make a room feel bigger” article starts with this tip, but I can’t stress it enough. Find a basket, a box, whatever you can to hold your things, and only decorate with what you absolutely love. Open spaces and clear corners are your friends when it comes to making a room look larger. IKEA has great deals on every possible storage option and you can order a lot more of their things online now. Check out my Pinterest organization board for ideas to get things together and out of sight.
10 – Remove Chairs or Get Them Up Off the Floor
The more things touching the floor, the longer it takes your eyes to process the room and the smaller it feels. I love huge dining tables and lots of chairs, but for every day, only keep out the chairs you need. Put the others away until needed (or even hang them on the wall for a beautiful traditional display). There are some really lovely folding chairs available, so much more than folding metal chairs of years past. IKEA has some great options and this set is available at Amazon –
11 – Mirrors
It’s a given, mirrors reflect light and multiply space – but where should you hang one? The easy answer is opposite something you like looking at, so opposite your best view but in a small room, there’s often more strategy needed. Opposite a light source is a natural choice, so if you have windows, reflecting that light is the first place to look.
If opposite a light source is not an option, try to use the mirror to create balance. If the room is long and narrow, hang it on the long wall to widen the space. If the room is small and square, hang it opposite your dark accent wall or opposite a door so it’s what you’re drawn to when you walk in.
If you can safely prop a large mirror on the floor and both visually lengthen the floor and reflect light, that’s a great option, as well. If you’re on a budget, mirror tiles are a great option and you can hang them with Command adhesive so they are removable (do a test on your wall first if damage is a concern).
I hope these are helpful to you, I’m looking at moving into a tiny house when all my littles get to college so I’m super interested in anything that makes space feel larger right now. I’d love to hear your best tips and to see your before and after photos if you try any of these. Happy decorating!