Best ways to make a small space feel bigger

by Christopher Davis February 07, 2022

Guy in small room unpacking

Whether you live in a cramped studio apartment downtown or a spacious tract home on the outskirts of suburbia. Chances are you have a space in your dwelling that feels a little claustrophobic. These rooms serve a purpose and require a level of functionality, whether it’s an office or a bedroom, usefulness comes before décor. So, now that the room has a purpose, how do we expand on it, without tearing down walls? Fortunately, we’re here to offer some outside-the-box tips to open up your space and give it a little personality in the process!


Small room with window desk and chair


Everything should be to scale.
If you are furnishing a small room, smaller items will make the room feel bigger. It also saves space to add more functionality and versatility.
Go up!
Tall lamps, skinny bookcases, thin plants. These will all draw your eyes up, giving the illusion of a taller space
Less is more
Steer towards furniture that has an exposed frame, glass tops and anything with legs. This will allow you to see more of the room from any angle. Enclosed, boxy furniture will fill your space and close it in.


Window Frames & Moldings

Go as high as possible and extend down to the floor. This will give the illusion of a much taller window, again, drawing your eyes up. You can skirt down to the top of the window for a more finished look if you prefer. 
Let in the light
Make sure to allow as much natural light in as possible. Dark rooms feel much smaller.
Mold it
Crown molding will not only give your room a more finished regal look, it will lend dimension to your space. Large ceiling and window moldings have a powerful and dramatic impact. We suggest sticking with white or light hue.


window with crown molding and hanging lamp


LED recessed lighting is cost effective, easy to install and sits flat with your ceiling. The days of large, recessed lighting cans are gone. LED lights typically only extend an inch or two past your drywall, with a small transformer that’s about the same thickness, and can be tucked away in your ceiling. We suggest you add lights to all points of the room. Dark corners will close in your space. A grid of lights might seem like over-kill; just add a dimmer and you’ll have full control. Four points of light turned down to 50% will give you even light around the room and eliminate harsh shadows you would get from a cluster of bulbs at 100% in a ceiling fan in the center of the room. 
There’s a reason every ceiling is matte white. It opens the space and softly reflects light back down on the room. The days of heavy textured ceilings are gone. If possible, scrape this out and replace it with a smooth or light textured surface, like an orange peel or knockdown texture. Make sure to have the existing ceiling tested for asbestos before attempting to remove. This if asbestos is found, we suggest you have it removed professionally, as the material is toxic.
This is a fantastic way to draw attention up while adding some personality to your space. We offer dozens of mural themes that give the illusion of no ceiling at all! If your ceiling is smooth and flat, the adhesive backed vinyl prints go right up, no glue necessary.


Ceiling wallpaper mural of palm trees and blue skies


Carpet over wood flooring
The style and material are all up to you, but the rule will forever be lighter shades in smaller rooms. Avoid white, unless you enjoy moping daily. We suggest that rectangular, plank flooring be oriented toward the short side of the room. If you have a large window or an opening to another room this would be another preferred direction of flooring. The floor should act as a guide.
Go big! Even if you’re covering some amazing flooring. Use a rug to plot an area within the space, like a sitting area or a runner to define a path through the room. Go with lighter shades to help reflect light. This is also an easy way to improve acoustics. If you have an echoey room, add a large rug.



If your goal is to elongate the room, we suggest adding stripe patterns. If you want your room to appear wider add a horizontal runner at eyeline. If you’re looking for height, vertical patterns are the way to go. Your eyes naturally follow lines, so use a pattern to tell them where to go. We say, be bold, but not busy! You can use some striking colors, just lean towards a simpler design.
Vertical and horizontal abstract and geometric wallpaper patterns 
We say, ditch the paint brush! If you’re set on solid color walls, we suggest using a textured vinyl, peel & stick wallpaper in the solid color of your choice. The best part about this, it’s easily removeable by just peeing away, with no damage to the walls. Returning them to their original color and condition. This is ideal for rental spaces. Color panels also give you a perfectly even texture and color. Corners are cut straight with a razor, eliminating the mess of trimming with paint. Vinyl wall coverings are much easier to clean with no discoloration.
When it comes to picking a color, we suggest leaning towards lighter pastel shades. Find a color that compliments the furniture or flooring, or vice versa.
DecalsWhite bamboo tree wall decals
This is a great alternative to the standard picture frames or bulky canvas. If you're happy with the condition of your existing walls, this is a creative and inexpensive way to add settle accents. When choosing your decals, you should follow the same rules we’ve discussed. The decal should expand your view out or up. White vinyl decals on a light-colored wall will give a more settle effect, but there are many colors available to match your decor.
This is hands down, the best way to expand your room and give it life! Murals can transform your wall into a portal to another space. Certain murals can have astounding depth. An image of a winding path, river, canyon, or ocean can seem to carry on forever. There are also many abstract illustrations that give a 3D perspective. Murals can tie in a specific theme or place, like the canals of Venice or Swiss Alps. The goal is to replace the wall completely, with an image that draws your eyes in.
Peel & stick material makes for easy DIY installation. 


Venice canal in living room behind couch

For more creative ideas, check out our other articles on wall art and interior design.

Christopher Davis
Christopher Davis

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