How To Make a Room Look Larger

Design of modern bedroom
If you live in a mobile home, apartment, have a small house, or just have a small room then you know what it is like. A small room can leave you feeling cramped and uncomfortable. Whether you are just moving in or trying to make a change in your decor to make the room feel bigger it can be done with a little work and a few good choices. Small rooms don't have to feel small and you don't have to start knocking down any walls.

Step 1

Choose your paint and flooring options carefully. You can influence how big a room looks with the colors you choose to paint on the walls and the flooring options you choose to give a room. These can be fairly inexpensive changes and can make a huge difference.

  • Ceilings - Starting at the top is best. You should paint your ceiling stark white to make it look like it is far away and give the room an airier feel.
  • Walls - Wall colors should be light. It doesn't mean you have to live in a white world. You can choose any number of light-colored neutrals or pastels. You can also choose a semi-gloss or other option with some shine to it which will give the room a bigger feel. Choosing cool colors such as green, blue, and purples will give a bigger feel then warmer colors. 
  • Trim - Trim should be painted the same color as the room or a lighter shade. Having trim be darker will make it feel like the walls are coming at you. While painting the trim the same color or, better yet, a lighter color will make it feel like they are receding.
  • Flooring - If you have the option, choosing the right flooring can make a huge difference. Wood options should be light in color, wide (8-10"), and diagonal if possible. The light color will continue to keep things feeling larger. Wider width boards will make the place less busy than smaller ones and laying them on a diagonal will make the room feel lots bigger (diagonal lines are longer than straight walls). Tile choices should be light in color, consist of a solid color and avoid patterns, and they should be larger (10-12"). Laying them on a diagonal can also help make the room feel bigger. Carpet should be solid in color and fairly light. Tan is an option that works well. 

Step 2

Clear out the clutter. It is true that the smaller a space, the harder it is to find places for everything. However, clearing out the clutter is a very important part of getting a small room to feel larger.

  • Get organized - Find a home for all the things you just don't seem to have enough space for. If you don't use it, get rid of it. If you don't use it often consider storing it elsewhere.
  • Get rid of unused furniture - A chair might be comfy in a bedroom, but if it isn't used get rid of it. The same goes with getting rid of unused sofas, tables, and other furniture items to open up the space.
  • Keep things off the floor - We have a lot of things that we end up putting on the floor. Maybe it is an large plant, stereo equipment, books, or other items. Now is the time to work on finding some space for them that will let us keep them off the floor. Using floor space is something that easily adds clutter to a space.
  • Use your wall space - Often times wall space goes unused. Adding shelves that can also be used for storage lets you use the wall space up to the ceiling. Add baskets for collecting small to medium items and store away your stuff. Adding bookshelves can also add storage up the wall.
  • Multitask with your furniture - Storage is so important in a small room. Adding corner furniture such as bookshelves or an entertainment center can give extra storage for a portion of the space. Having end tables that store things can help. So can cabinets at the bottom of the book case. 

Step 3

Furniture. Choosing furniture for a small room is a very important task. Additionally, the placement of the furniture can make for a difference.

  • Choose furniture of the right size - You want a piece of furniture that will get the job done, but smaller is better. It is better to choose a large couch rather than several chairs, but picking out a piece that is made for apartment living (or mobile homes) is best. This will give you a smaller piece to work with.
  • Choose solids and think about color - A solid piece is better than a patterned piece because the patterns will make the room busier. Colors should be light. Choosing pieces that match the walls will help them blend in with the walls and make it feel like they take up less space.
  • Move large and or tall furniture out of the way - Walk ways and spaces that flow into other rooms should be left open. Move large or tall furniture toward the walls. Short pieces, short tables, and open spaced chairs can be moved into those spaces.
  • Turn the furniture on an angle - Turning your furniture on a slight angle from the wall can make the space seem bigger. Use the space created behind the furniture for storage. 

Step 4

Add light. Everyone knows light can make for a huge difference in a room. Light paint works because it reflects light better. But you can use this effect with other elements as well.

  • Add natural light - Use lightweight airy curtains to add natural light. Pull them back with fancy ties or hooks to let light in during the day. Choose blinds that are easy to work and light colored.
  • Add lighting wherever possible - Add lighting whereever possible. Choose table and floor lamps that don't take up too much space and have small light colored lamp shades so that you can get the most out of your space and light. Where possible add track and recessed lighting. Where this isn't possible, go with wall sconces and lamps. This will keep them off the table and the floor, help raise the eye some, and still add light. 

Step 5

Choose your decor options. Decor is important as well. Some options will make your room feel larger while other choices will make it feel smaller.

  • Use mirrors. Mirrors reflect light and fool the senses into believing the room is larger. You have a lot of options. Floor length mirrors are good for bedrooms. Mirrors added to closet doors can also be great. Large framed mirrors can also make a big difference in any room.

    But it can go further than that. Decorating with small mirrors also increases light and make it feel bigger. Adding cut mirror to furniture such as end tables, coffee tables, and dressers helps make the place feel larger as well.

  • Use items that are see-through. Choose glass items, acrylic, and other see-through or airier pieces for a larger look. This can be glass desks, tables, end tables, or even lattice!
  • Skip patterns and go for texture instead. Patterns can make the room look busy. This can cause it to look cluttered and closing in on a person even if it isn't. Textures can add appeal to the room though.
  • Keep it simple. Don't go overboard on the decor in a small room. Keep it simple, keep the color scheme simple with one or two colors. Go with shades rather than new colors.
  • Keep it down to one or two. Whether you have one or two pictures, one or two pillows on the couch, or even one or two magazines on the coffee table, limit the number of items you have. This will keep down clutter, help you keep it simple, and make the room feel larger. 

You may have to live in a small room, but you don't have to feel like you live in a small room. You can choose your colors, flooring, furniture, light, and decor for a larger feeling space. Get organized and you will feel right at home (even in a small apartment, mobile home, condo, cabin, or other small home).


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