7 Clever Design Tricks to Make a Small Room Look Larger

These easy tips will trick the eye into seeing a bigger space than what's there.

How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger, couch with mirrors in living room
Photo: abracada/Getty Images

You don't need to renovate or knock down walls to make a small room feel bigger—just incorporate these smart design moves to visually expand your space. Simple tips like installing a mirror and choosing the right ceiling paint color can trick the eye into thinking a room is double its size. But before you start redecorating, begin by decluttering your home and getting rid of everything that no longer serves you. No matter how many design tips you try, if every corner is full of furniture, papers, and knick-knacks, your small space will always feel cramped. Once you have the room pared down to the essentials, let these design tips visually expand the room's square footage.

01 of 07

Install a mirror (or three).

How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger, couch with mirrors in living room
abracada/Getty Images

You've probably heard before that mirrors bounce light around the room, particularly when placed across from a window. This helps a small room, particularly one with few windows or little natural light, feel bright and open.

Consider installing a large mirror along one wall to visually expand the limits of the room. If placed strategically, a tall rectangular mirror can even give the illusion of a room beyond the room. And in a cramped kitchen, consider placing a mirror behind the sink to give the impression of a window. Plus, this placement will let you see the rest of the room while you're washing dishes.

02 of 07

Don't shy away from large pieces of furniture.

It's a common misconception that small rooms should be decorated with small pieces of furniture, but in reality, this can cause everything in the room to look bitsy, only emphasizing the room's size. Instead, mix in one or two larger pieces of furniture to help anchor the room. Rather than buying many small pieces, invest in normal-size furniture that can serve multiple functions, such as a bench with hidden storage or an ottoman that can be used as a coffee table or extra seating as needed.

RELATED: These Stylish Furniture Pieces Have Secret Storage—And They’re Absolutely Genius

Finally, avoid the temptation to line up all of the furniture along the walls in hopes of showing off empty space in the middle of the room, a move that will only make the room awkward to navigate. Instead, float some pieces of furniture, like a coffee table or side chair, to create a natural flow.

03 of 07

Opt for floor-to-ceiling curtains.

If you're decorating a small bedroom or living room, opt for long, flowy curtains rather than blinds or roller shades. To maximize the ceiling height, make sure the curtain rod is set up near the ceiling (rather than on top of the window frame) and buy panels long enough to either just reach the floor or that billow onto the floor about two or three inches.

RELATED: Your Guide to Curtains and Window Treatments

04 of 07

Introduce hanging decor elements.

Introducing decorative accents up near the ceiling can help draw the eye up, making the ceilings feel higher than they are. A hanging plant or a suspended lantern or eye-catching light fixture will do the trick. This tip works especially well for small rooms that happen to have higher-than-expected ceilings.

05 of 07

Choose the right paint color.

To make a tiny room feel open and airy, white is a classic paint choice, but according to paint pros, there are specific shades of white paint that can help make a room look bigger than it is. Bonus: Choose a ceiling paint color that takes your room to new heights.

06 of 07

Leave negative space.

In a large room, the distance between pieces of furniture and between furniture and the walls adds to the sense of spaciousness. To get the same airy effect in a smaller room, avoid having too many pieces of furniture positioned right up against the wall. To achieve this, you may need to curate your furniture collection and remove one or two pieces from the room. (Hint: This is where tip #2 about multi-tasking furniture comes in handy.)

07 of 07

Choose pieces that don't take up visual space.

Transparent pieces, like a glass coffee table or clear acrylic chairs, take up physical space, but their see-through designs don't demand visual space. Similarly, furniture that's the same color as the walls in the room can help the pieces blend in so they don't demand visual attention. Incorporating these types of elements into a room prevents the space from feeling cluttered with furniture and things.

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