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How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger

The perfect home doesn’t always have the perfect square footage. Whether it’s that one awkward bonus room or the whole floorplan, here are some ideas to make a small space look bigger.

Pick a light paint color

Lighter walls are more reflective, and more light in a space can make it seem larger, brighter and airier. If white paint feels too stark, you can still use a pale-toned color to get this effect. And the more natural light you can let in, the better.

Also, consider painting the ceiling the same color as your walls. Minimizing contrast can make your walls seem higher, giving the impression of a bigger room.

And you can use paint for other tricks to lead the eye. For example, an accent wall creates a single focal point. This draws attention away from the room’s overall size and layout.

Choose furniture carefully

If you can, choose pieces with open arms and slim legs rather than pieces with more solid frames and bases—letting the light come through will prevent the space from feeling too closed off. You can also pick items that are a slightly smaller scale than you might otherwise pick (such as a narrower console or a lower sofa) to keep the room feeling more open and spacious.

But if you have to choose between multiple smaller pieces or one bigger one, pick the bigger one. For example, three chairs will feel more crowded than one loveseat.

If you have bigger pieces, put them against the wall. You want to leave a clear visual pathway so the room doesn’t look cluttered. Ideally that pathway will run through the diagonal of the room—that’s the longest possible path you can have.

Use reflection

Mirrors are another great way to make rooms look larger and brighter. They can also bring more light into the room if you place them strategically to reflect a window or light fixture. That’s not limited to the walls either—mirrored tables or cabinet doors will provide a similar effect.

Even glass and lucite items can help reflect light and keep the space looking more open. That can be as big as glass tabletops and see-through “ghost” chairs, but it can also be tabletop items such as bowls or vases.

Overall, you want to let the eye keep moving across the space as much as possible, so your best bet is to keep the room light, open and clutter-free.

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