How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger And 5 Mistakes to Avoid

“Good things come in small packages”? Yeah right, say we small-space dwellers. But gals, there are in fact ways to maximize your modest square footage. Here, we coach you through exactly how to make a small room look bigger and the five most widespread space-shrinking decor mistakes.

The One Trick for An Infinitely Prettier Kitchen

too small rugs

Problem: Floating Rugs

We know—it can be tempting to make an old or small-scale rug work when you travel from home to home. (They’re so damn expensive!) But if your rug is so small that its floating in the middle of the room, the floor plan looks squashed, choppy and fragmented.

chic boho living room
Designer: Shannon Tate; Photographer: Joyelle West; Courtesy of Homepolish

Solution: Large Rugs

See? A scaled-up rug is the worthiest of splurges. Large floor coverings literally trick the eye into imagining more square footage. A good rule of thumb when buying: Rugs should reach at least six inches beyond the edges of your furniture.

too low curtains

Problem: Low-mount Curtains

Putting curtains right at the top of your window frame visually squishes your windows themselves—and makes your ceiling look shorter.

chic eclectic livingroom
Designer: Paige Morse; Photographer: Lauren Logan; Courtesy of Homepolish

Solution: High-mount Curtains

How about them apples? Hang curtain hardware 6 to 12 inches above your windows to make ceilings feel bigger and give the room instant grandeur.

too bright table

Problem: One Light Source

Dining table or dentist’s chair? With just a single light source—in this case, overhead pendants—there’s little sense of dimension.

chic beachy dining room
Designer: Louisa Roeder; Photographer: Sean Litchfield; Courtesy of Homepolish

Solution: Layered Lighting

Lighting concepts are often overlooked as a final stage in a room’s design—but they’re a powerful tool for creating space and warmth. Add layers: task, ambient, accent. In the ever-tricky-to-light dining room, the addition of buffet lamps or even a floor lamp can add so much depth.

too small furniture

Problem: Petite Furniture

Small room, small furnishing, right? Wrong. Undersized furnishings create weird dead space and play up the overall small vibes.

chic neutral living room
Designer: Jae Joo; Photographer: Nick Glimenakis; Courtesy of Homepolish

Solution: To-scale Furniture

While it may sound counterintuitive, choosing large-scale pieces that really fit the room will make it feel bigger.

too dark hall

Problem: Dark Paint

Yes, you want to make a design statement. But in a small or otherwise boxed-in space, that statement reads: “The walls are closing in on me.”

chic neutral foyer
Designer: Orlando Soria; Photographer: Tessa Neustadt; Courtesy of Homepolish

Solution: Light Paint

Voilà: Instant airy vibes. A quick note: Bright white works best as an enlarging agent in spaces with lots of natural light. Most often, you’d do better using a dimensional neutral, like ecru, dove gray or ivory.

Grace Beuley Hunt

Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.
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