10 simple design tricks to enlarge a small room

When it comes to spaces in your home, bigger isn’t always better. Small spaces are easier to clean and often more affordable. However, they can sometimes feel a bit too comfortable. Luckily, there are simple and affordable tricks to make a small room feel bigger.

“Making a room bigger simply means making it more open and airy, and less cluttered,” says Karin Sun, design expert and founder of Crane & Canopy. Having clutter can be overwhelming, while creating a sense of space can be soothing, says Sun.

Whether you rent or own, these tips will fit your budget and rental terms and help you make the most of small spaces.

1. Clear the clutter

The easiest and most effective way to expand your space is to tidy it up.

“Unnecessary clutter can make a room feel small and cramped and difficult to navigate,” says Marco Bizzley, interior designer at House Grail.

Start by getting rid of things you don’t use. Next, make sure everything else — like paperwork, art supplies, or cosmetics — has a designated space that’s tucked away. Finally, take decluttering a step further by emphasizing clean, crisp lines, says Bizzley. This means avoiding tablecloths or clothing around your furniture.

2. Remember that less is more

Boho bedroom bed with a wooden headboard.

Try to keep your furniture minimalist and opt for accents, such as a headboard.

Anastasia Krivenok/Getty Images

One way to make a room look bigger is to put less furniture in it, says Sun. Avoid unnecessary furniture or objects that you know will create clutter.

Consider a small bedroom: Sun recommends using a headboard, which can be a focal point in the room, but skip the footboard. “It takes up space and is an extremely tempting place to hang your clothes, bags and laundry, which will only add to the clutter,” says Sun.

3. Keep your furniture to scale

A small room looks better when there is an open space to move around in the future. In a bedroom, for example, a centered bed with floor space on both sides will look less cramped than a bed pushed against the wall.

For this reason, you should avoid oversized furniture and opt for elegant pieces, which doesn’t necessarily mean boring.

“You can choose sofas with beautiful details, such as curves, buttons or fluting,” says Bizzley. “It adds character to small spaces without dominating the space.”

4. Be low

Neutral living room with a gray sofa and plants.

Keep your furniture low to create more free space above.

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When choosing furniture, go for pieces that sit low to the floor but have open space underneath.

“Furniture lower to the floor creates a feeling of openness simply because it leaves more space above,” Bizzley explains. “Showing furniture legs gives the illusion of an openness as it allows light and air to flow over, around and under.”

5. Choose light and neutral colors

Whether you choose paint, choose a bedspread or choose furniture, choose light, pastel and neutral colors.

“Light, bright colors reflect natural light opening up your small space, while dark colors absorb light, creating a tighter, cozier feel,” says Sun.

6. Make it multifunctional

Close up of a bed frame with drawers

Beds with drawers serve a purpose without taking up more space.

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In a small space, each item should have more than one job. “It’s especially important to set yourself up for success with lots of storage from the get-go,” says Sun.

find a


that has drawers for your clothes, a sideboard that has filing cabinets for your important documents, or an ottoman that has storage for blankets. These items will free up more space in the room, and are also practical.

7. Keep the floor clear and use vertical space

Instead of basing all of your furniture and decor on the floor, “think about how you can use wall space and think upwards,” says Sun.

Rather than a bulky bookcase, opt for streamlined shelving; mount your TV on the wall instead of putting it on a table; and use pendant lights, not floor lamps.

“Filling your vertical space really makes a difference when it comes to getting everything you need in a small room,” says Sun.

8. Minimize busy prints

Sofa with bright decorative pillows.

Use a majority of solid prints, then use accents like pillows to add color and pattern.

Ben Bryant/Getty Images

Although funky patterns can be fun, they can be overwhelming in a small space.

“We all love bold, vibrant prints, but it usually makes a small room feel more cramped,” says Sun.

Instead of choosing curtains or a chair with a loud fabric, choose a solid print. Then use a cushion or blanket to add a touch of pizzazz.

9. Use mirrors

A large hanging mirror will make your room look bigger and brighter.

“Mirrors reflect light and images, making a small room feel bigger, especially if placed in the right places,” says Bizzley.

Place the mirror at eye level so that it reflects a light source, whether it’s natural light from a window or light from a lamp.

10. Hang your curtains high

Person hanging curtains.

Hang your curtains higher above your window to create an illusion.

Valeriy_G/Getty Images

Rather than hanging your curtain rod just above a window, hang it higher up the wall. Next, use curtains that almost reach the floor.

“Fixing the rod close to the ceiling makes the wall appear taller, making the whole room feel bigger,” says Bizzley.

Insider’s Takeaways

When decorating a small room, you should focus on light colors, maximize natural light using mirrors, and keep the space clutter-free. With these techniques in place, you’ll likely find that your small space feels more inviting.

“Making a room appear larger makes it feel less cramped, reduces anxiety, and makes the room feel calmer and cleaner,” says Bizzley.

About Gertrude H. Kerr

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