How To Make A Small Room Look Bigger

How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger on a Budget

Wondering how to transform your cramped lounge room or bedroom into a visually expansive sanctuary?

31/01/2024 – Update

In a Nutshell:

To make a small room appear bigger, focus on color and lighting. Paint walls in light, neutral tones to create a sense of openness. Use mirrors to reflect light and create the illusion of more space. Opt for multifunctional furniture with exposed legs to minimize visual clutter. Maximizing natural light is key; keep windows unobstructed. Utilize vertical space by installing shelves near the ceiling and choosing tall, slim furniture pieces. Opt for large-scale art or a statement piece to draw the eye and create a focal point. These strategies trick the eye into perceiving a more spacious room.

15 Ways to Make a Room Look Bigger on a Budget

One simple solution to try first – move your furniture around! Moving your furniture will change the feeling of the room completely, giving it an openness that many people find desirable.

But aside from the obvious, here are 15 of the best tips to make a living room, bedroom, or even gaming room feel larger.

Ways To Make A Room Look Bigger
Image: Natasha Srivastava

1 | Paint Everything the Same Color

Painting everything the same color in the room makes it look bigger instantly. The key to making your space appear larger is contrast, and you should ideally avoid darker colors.

You want everything in the room to be similar in terms of soft tones so that your eye doesn’t stop at any borders and can instead move around freely. There are varying opinions on what color to use, but generally, using a neutral grey or white is best.

Paint Everything The Same Colors
Image: Anna Haze

2 | Use High Gloss Paint

High gloss paint tends to make a room look more open, which is why high gloss is a very popular choice for bathrooms. This is because of the way it reflects more light, and particularly so with lighter colors as of white’s reflective qualities.

Pro tip – You could always try painting an accent wall high-gloss for even more of a cloud-like effect to help bounce light off of any reflective objects within a smaller space.

Use High Gloss Paint
Image: Carolyn Co. Interiors

3 | Hang a Large Scale Wallpaper Pattern

Wallpapers are great at making rooms look bigger, but not all wallpapers are good for small spaces. How to make a small room look bigger?

How about using a large-scale pattern that gives the illusion of height? You can start by sticking with neutrals though, as bold colors may overwhelm the room. Although, something as brash as what’s below will most certainly add some flare to your home. 

Hang A Large Scale Wallpaper Pattern
Image: Caroline Andréoni

4 | Put Up a Beautiful Wall Mural

An exquisite Muraqqa wall hanging is a traditional Indian form of art that dates back to the Mughal era. How about adding one of these gorgeous pieces of wall art into your home?

You can start by mounting it onto a nice piece of plywood and painting over it with high gloss paint to give it an extra pop! The bold patterns will open up space while giving off beautiful colorful reflections. That said, if you’re less interested in going the DIY route for a wall mural, you can always make an investment that will leave a lasting impression. 

Put Up A Beautiful Wall Mural
Image: Nicole Varga Interiors 

5 | Hang Curtains Close to the Ceiling

A classic trick to making a room look taller is by hanging the curtains close to the ceiling. The higher they are, the more space there is between them and the floor!

Make sure, though, that you’re not blocking any windows with your curtains – this will make your room even smaller than it already was! Some people suggest hanging your curtains at least six inches below the ceiling, but I would say that, if possible, try not to go past two feet.

Hang Curtains Close To The Ceiling
Image: Megan Molten

6 | Don’t Block the Natural Light

Natural light opens up any space visually, so you should take advantage of large windows in a small space. A small bedroom will benefit from this by helping absorb light, and especially so with the assistance of cool colors.

Make sure to avoid positioning bulky pieces of furniture directly in front or blocking any natural light that comes into the room. If you feel like you need artificial light during the day to brighten up the space, keep it minimal so as not to distract from all of the wonderful sunlight coming through.

Don’t Block The Natural Light
Image: Colours of Number One

8 | Take Advantage of a View

Wherever possible, position furniture and other items so that they face a view, especially if you have a glass-top coffee table, as this will help reflect light making the room brighter. I’d recommend making this a priority in a dining room where a bulky dining table is a focal point.

Don’t be afraid of using something different either – why not turn that bare wall into an Art Wall with the right piece of artwork? Have fun with it, too – framing photos are always great, but painting or pasting them onto the wall is even better!

Take Advantage Of A View
Image: Rafael Ramos Arquitetura

9 | Hang a Large Mirror

A large mirror is another trick that can make anything – including your small room – look bigger instantly. Use two of them to separate the space into two different rooms!

Also, a large mirror across from a window will create the illusion of an expanded view and more so in a room with light colors. Mirrors can also be used to expand the look of a room by reflecting the light in the room and creating even more volume.

Hang A Large Mirror
Image: Home Actually

10 | Buy Furniture With Legs

Furniture with legs is considered to be more stylish than most pieces of furniture. They give the illusion that they’re floating, making it seem as though there’s a lot more open space in the room!

A good way of getting around this problem is by using a different material for your table or coffee table – perhaps glass or wood? You can also add multi-functional furniture with legs to a small space which will fool the average eye by appearing to showcase more floor space within a room.

Buy Furniture With Legs
Image: Black Mango

11 | Use Benches and Smart Storage

Benches and smart storage are a great way to get around the idea of having to fit everything into a small room.

Items such as extra seating can instantly make a room look bigger than it really is too. Bench seating, in particular, has been growing in popularity, so why not go for that style? Storage benches, wall benches, and corner benches are all excellent choices here!

Use Benches And Smart Storage
Image: Jeff Andrews

13 | Get a Large Floor Space Rug

A floor space rug is an absolutely essential way to make a room look bigger. If you have a bare floor, it can be very difficult to imagine that your room is any bigger than it actually is. However, by adding a quality rug to your wood floors, you can instantly create the illusion of more space in your home without having to change anything else!

Floor rugs are great for this because they are so versatile – there are so many different kinds of them that you will almost certainly be able to find one that matches both the style and the color scheme of your home’s other furniture or decorations.

Get A Large Floor Space Rug
Image: Cher Guminey 

14 | Pay Attention To The Flooring Direction

When you are rearranging the room, pay attention to the way that you arrange your flooring plan. If possible, try not to have all of your furniture face one side of the room. This can make it look like a small space which will definitely affect the overall design of the room.

By laying it out in an L shape, you’ll not only be making the most of your space but you’ll also give off that open feel that’s perfect for any type of home!

Pay Attention To The Flooring Direction
Image: AGI Interior Styling 

15 | Install Built-Ins Bookshelves

Built-in bookshelves or wall-to-wall bookcases are a brilliant way of making the most of your space by providing more room. Mirrored cabinets and storage options that blend seamlessly into your wall will make any room look bigger instantly!

Ideally, you should install built-in bookshelves around the perimeter of the room, bookending them with something more decorative, such as a mirror or artwork. It’s also worth considering installing some floating wood shelves too if you have an extra corner somewhere – these can be great for lots of purposes!

Install Built-Ins Bookshelves
Image: Beata Heuman 

How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger On A Budget FAQ

How Do You Visually Enlarge a Small Space?

A small room can feel cluttered, cramped, and closed-in. Luckily, there are several quick tricks to make your small room appear significantly larger than it is.

Apart from keeping windows uncovered, a few simple furniture arrangement tips will help you conquer the issue of space in no time! Apart from furniture arrangements, interior design elements like paint colors should be considered.

A dark or heavy color on the walls can make a room look smaller. Keep walls light and bright to reflect as much natural light as possible. In addition, the use of paint or wallpaper with a pattern will trick the eye into seeing more depth, thus making the room appear larger.

Furniture Arrangement Tips for a Small Space

It helps if you know how to arrange furniture and decor items in order for them to appear like they’re giving the illusion of taking up more space.

When it comes to living rooms, putting couches directly across from one another will make it seem like a larger space, while arranging them diagonally can make a room feel cozier. A few larger pieces of furniture with exposed legs in a dining area will give the space an airy look.

Also, arranging furniture in a U-shape is another way to open up the feeling of your living room or other main rooms in your home.

Avoid placing extra chairs and couches directly against the wall because this will squash any sense of openness that you’ve worked so hard to create; instead, place them at an angle to make the walls appear further away than they really are.

What Colors to Make a Room Look Bigger?

When making a small room look bigger, color is one of the main tools you have in your arsenal. If you’re going to paint a room with the intent of making it look bigger, choose a lighter color.

Picking the right wall color of the same shade throughout the room will go a long way to providing the appearance of a bigger room in a smallish zone.

Preferably white and light green are good choices because they make a room look brighter and larger with the right sheer drapes selected. Pale blue can also be helpful if that’s what looks best in terms of matching with existing decor.

Paint Everything The Same Color
Image: Hutomo Abrianto

What Colors to Make a Room Look Smaller?

If you’re trying to make your cramped space appear smaller than it is, try choosing dark colors like navy or eggplant for painting the walls.

Bold red might also work well; however, keep in mind that this could overpower other elements in the room if not done carefully- think twice before painting an entire room crimson red.

No matter the DIY projects you’re considering, consulting an expert (even when it comes to painting) can save you time and money.

What Patterns Make a Small Room Look Bigger?

Another way of tricking the eye so that a room appears larger is by choosing patterns. Heavy textures give the perception of more space, while lighter or plain textures make it seem like there’s less distance between objects placed next to each other.

If you do choose to add some texture to your painted wall, be sure not to confuse this effect with too many lines and elements placed in one area; this could end up feeling cluttered rather than expansive.

Do Windows Make a Room Look Bigger?

One of the easiest ways to make a room look bigger is by incorporating large windows into your design. Opening up a wall with two or more windows can have a powerful effect.

If you have high ceilings, placing your sofa under a window will create the illusion of height and space while allowing warm sunlight to fill each room.

If you don’t have a lot of outdoor space in front of your house but do have an open floor plan, making sure that natural light flows through every room has great benefits.

Do Windows Make A Room Look Bigger

The Bottom Line

The key to making a small room look bigger is understanding how furniture can be arranged, the color choices you make for your walls, and the use of patterns. When it comes to choosing colors, bright whites are preferred over darker shades because they reflect light better.

Key Takeaways:

  • Utilize Color and Light: Painting everything in the room the same light color, like neutrals or whites, can instantly make the space feel larger. High gloss paint is beneficial for its light-reflective qualities. Additionally, ensuring that natural light is unobstructed can significantly open up a room.
  • Strategic Furniture Placement: Choose furniture with legs to create a sense of openness and use benches for smart storage solutions. Large mirrors can create the illusion of depth, while large-scale wallpaper patterns can give a sense of height. Also, placing curtains close to the ceiling can give the illusion of a taller room.
  • Floor and Wall Considerations: Opt for a large rug to create an illusion of more floor space, and pay attention to the flooring direction to enhance the room’s perceived size. Incorporating built-in bookshelves can maximize space usage, effectively making the room look larger.

If you want more depth in your painting but don’t have any specific design or pattern preference, consider using navy blue or eggplant instead of reds which may overpower other elements in the space if not done carefully.