16 Tricks To Make Your Small Rooms Look Bigger + Mistakes To Avoid

Post updated August 22, 2022

It’s funny. Well, maybe not funny. But there’s often a lot of talk about how to make the most out of your small rooms.

However, I think that in a lot of ways, decorating a very large, cavernous room is far more difficult.

Still, if space is tight–and it often is in large cities where small cramped spaces can be a problem. And some free-standing homes may be lacking in space, as well.


The first thing I’d like to say regarding small rooms is…


Unless a room is insanely small, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Small rooms are cozier and more intimate. But still, we need places to put all our stuff.




I know. I know. It’s a bloody drag. And I know about the konmari book. The only thing I have to say is, it’s better to start doing it before it comes time to downsize. Otherwise, the task can be quite difficult.


Annouchka Engla - pretty pink dining room and kitchen with high ceilings - Make small rooms look bigger

Annouchka Engel

Very pretty apartment with a fireplace. Open, but not too open.




Cove ceiling in my living room with moulding on the ceiling makes the ceiing height look taller - Make small rooms look bigger

my living room

We’ve been through this before.

here is where you can see more ceiling mouldings.




Mirrors are wonderful to expand space AND light. In fact, if you put a mirror directly across from a window, it’s like having two windows.





Hiding the stuff is always a good idea.


under bed storage - Make small rooms look bigger




Yep, we know that one. If you are lucky enough to have a high ceiling, even if the foot-print of the room is not so big, it will give a sense of space.


Fawn Gali - pretty living room - Make small rooms look bigger

Fawn Galli

Yes, it’s a gorgeous room. Great bones! But perfectly done. The upholstered furniture is just the right scale. The tall lamps look perfect because the ceiling is so high.The large scale art adds the right amount of drama. And the light, but large plant adds a note of chic.






Yeah, we already know that one. But also finding creative ways to find space such as an office that can disappear when necessary.



But going high can also mean creating storage situations, especially in closets that make use of every bit of space.


Beautiful vignette with black walls by William McLure - Make small rooms look bigger

William McLure


I just have to interrupt myself. Anyone notice anything?


dining room home library by William McLure - with red lamp small rooms look bigger

Yes, it’s our yummy William McLure lamp. In the first image, it looks like it’s covered with primer before they were sprayed with red lacquer. haha. Very possible!

Moving along…




So much can be done with paint.


Dark paint will lift the ceiling. Even a pale grayed down blue-green will make the ceiling appear to float higher. Here is a good post for ceiling colors.

The entire home is gorgeous! It’s the same one as the dining room at top with the mirrors.


William McLure

Do you really think that he’s painting on his rug? haha. And with the dog right there? So cute they are! And talented. But William changes his entire decor as frequently as some women change their hair styles. And he paints EVERYTHING. He painted the stripes on the floor. That’s a great room expanding trick.

William McLure - cool slightly funky kitchen - painted stripes on floor - Make small rooms look bigger

He painted the stripes on the kitchen floor too!


It was a black and white linoleum floor (see below) before he got his paint brush and tape out.


That’s lovely too!


I understand that he moved a few months ago, so we’ll be seeing a lot more from him, I’m sure.




William McLure - fabulous artist and designer - Make small rooms look bigger

William McLure


It may seem counter-intuitive but a large piece of art can make a room feel far more expansive than a couple of dinky pieces. But if doing an art-wall, like  the ones below, you can still cover the wall. I really hate it when the art feels to small for the wall or the composition feels too small.


Habitually Chic - Charming vignette by Heather Clawson - Make small rooms look bigger

Heather Clawson


Heather’s style is incredibly charming, and she makes the most of her small New York apartment.

If you don’t already read her wonderful blog you can check it out here.


James Klein and David Reid - via Lonny - cool artwall - Make small rooms look bigger

James Klein and David Reid via Lonny

I’m sure that for some people this is “busy,” but I think it reads as personal and homey in a sophisticated way.




Anthropologie’s Edith Wallpaper

It reminds of a cross between Timorous Beasties and the book matched stone.   I’ll be doing small kitchens soon, but I wanted to get this one in because I think it’s so cool!


This mural is only $298.00! It’s nine feet high x twelve feet wide.


My apartment L Bern - Make small rooms look bigger

I’m seriously thinking about it for my entry and hall. Thinking, I said. :]

An important thing about wallpaper is that the pattern need not be ditsy because the room is small. Larger scale patterns look great in small spaces.




Alex Reid and Cole Wilson


Alex Reid and Cole Wilson - Make small rooms look bigger

Alex Reid and Cole Wilson

Just watch that the art isn’t butting  up against the moulding. I would’ve put the bottom piece of art over the chair. Sometimes things show up in photos that don’t show up in real life, so much.



Uh oh… Great idea, but what happens when someone tries to come through the front door?

“Oh, sorry Aunt Edith, I hope you’re okay!”

Guess, that’s why the chairs are covered with that thick piece of animal skin. It’s one of those trends that annoys me. Sorry if you feel differently. It’s okay, I’ll still be your friend. :]


This entry is lovely, and I love the Pembroke table. Alas, it’s a little too big for the space. Furniture should not overlap door and window casings. Poor pooch looks like he’s wondering what the milk-bone is going on with these strange folks in the house.

Ari Hershey - Make small rooms look bigger

Ari Hershey

Everything is in scale, and there’s even a little place to hang up a coat and put keys. This is a very tiny apartment!



sectional fits perfectly in a small space - Designed by Jeannette Whitson via House Beautiful - photo - Simon Watson


Jeannette Whitson

Fabulous library in Farrow and Ball Hague Blue. The rest of the house is awesome too!




Lots of examples already on this page.

It keeps things lighter and more airy to have the legs on upholstered pieces. One exception would be if you need a sleep-sofa.

And bench cushions (seat cushions in one piece) are a great alternative to having two cushions on a smaller sofa.




Elizabeth Bauer - attic bedroom - Make small rooms look bigger

Elizabeth Bauer


It’s a great solution when the night tables are very small. And here, we can see that they are the kind that doesn’t require a box in the wall.




Make small rooms look bigger - charming girls' or guest bedroom

via OKL

I love the idea of having a little work space between two beds. It would work out well, I think for a kid’s bedroom too.

Do you have any great tips for small rooms? Please share! I’m sure that there are many more.



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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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