How to Make a Small Room Seem Larger

by Matt Solis


There are many ways to make a small room seem larger without changing its structural layout. Photo: J. Hettinger Interiors ©2018

A common challenge remodeling contractors and interior designers face is how to make a small room seem larger without changing its structural layout. Fortunately, professionals can use several tricks to create the illusion of openness in a small space.


Consider the following tips to make a small room seem larger:

  • Use light paint colors and light-colored furniture and décor. Choose neutrals, pastels and shades of white to make rooms feel bigger. Monochromatic color schemes also trick the eye, and cool paint colors can make walls appear to recede.
  • Keep flooring and paint colors the same or similar in rooms that are adjacent to each other—this makes the spaces seem connected.
  • Recessed lighting and spot lighting are great choices for small spaces. Reflecting light off the ceiling or illuminating dark corners will also add visual interest to small rooms.
  • Less is more in small spaces, so don’t pack rooms full of furniture. This includes limiting accessories and wall decorations. You may want to choose glass tables or smaller furniture pieces (think loveseat or mini sofa instead of full-size couch). Couches and chairs that are set on legs feel taller and can make small rooms look larger.
  • Leave some shelves empty or half-full to give the illusion of space.
  • Choose furniture that has more than one use, such as ottomans that can double as coffee tables.
  • A built-in bookcase that stretches floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall visually expands space.
  • Add a skylight to bring in more natural light.
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