These days, living in a smaller square footage is extremely common. We actually love the charm that a small space can provide, though at times it can be challenging to work within those four tiny walls. The exciting thing about it is that our perception of space comes from how our eye travels through it, and lucky for us, our eyes can be tricked! In order to do that, they need light, places of rest, and good movement.
Want to know more? Here are our 10 tips for making a small space feel instantly bigger.
1. Clear Away the Clutter
The best thing you can do to make a space feel instantly bigger is to take away the unnecessary clutter. No space should ever feel like it’s filled to the brim. We need some breathing space and a place for our eyes to rest in order for a room to feel open and expansive. So, anywhere you have a place full of books, kitchenware, open shelves, or storage, take a minute to pare it down. Plan for a little bit of empty space and your room will thank you!
2. Layer in Lighting
There’s nothing worse than a room with a single ceiling fixture as the only source of light, especially if it’s a poor lightbulb. Did you know that having pools of light to guide you around the room will make it feel bigger? In fact, we want varied light layered in any space, and doing that will help guide our eyes throughout the room and invite us in. Allowing as much natural light as possible to filter in will also help a space feel open and airy — so ditch those heavy drapes!
3. Add in Mirrors
We know mirrors can change the feeling of a space simply by reflecting more light, but they also help by allowing your eye to travel through them. What’s especially great is that you can find really beautiful, affordable options through many home brands, so it becomes a really inexpensive way to add more dimension and space to a room. Think of a dining space: you can dim the lights, make it extra cozy with candles, and then bounce all of that delicious lighting around with a statement mirror.
4. Choose Your Furniture Wisely
If you want to create the illusion of a larger space, consider low-profile pieces, like low-to-the-ground, mid-century sofas or a low platform bed. This really creates a feeling of openness. In the same breath, you can also opt for pieces that are streamlined and show a bit of leg! Think of a large, chunky couch with a full, slip-covered base compared to a sleek sofa with tapered wood legs. Which one will create more movement and a better flow?
5. Pull Away Your Furniture
For some reason, we really love to push all of our furniture right up against the walls of a room, when in fact, this makes it feel more cramped. If you pull your sofas, chairs, consoles, etc. away from the walls, even just a few inches, it will make an enormous difference. This also applies for furniture pieces themselves — always make sure to leave a bit of air in between your items.
6. Look at Adding Built-Ins
Sometimes traditional furniture, even if it’s apartment sized, isn’t quite the right fit for a room. In this case, consider looking at built-ins to help create that enlarged feeling. Some great examples would be a built-in banquette in a kitchen nook, a floating bookshelf installed on the wall, or even floor-to-ceiling built-ins that surround a fireplace. Even a bed frame can be the perfect opportunity to create some storage and build it in to look like it’s part of the room.
7. Draw the Eye Up
Emphasizing the vertical line of a room will always help make it seem bigger. Whether you paint the ceiling, add a high shelf, or install vertical shiplap, it’s about tricking the eye and forcing it to move upwards. In doing so, it enhances the feeling of movement and flow.
8. Be Purposeful with Decor Items
The more you have in a space, the more cluttered it will feel, so be purposeful when you want your room to feel bigger. Keep decorative items to a minimum or group them together to create a stylized vignette. Think of their size and scale: the more small items you have, the busier it will become.
The same goes for artwork: if you concentrate on only one or two walls and then choose one large-scale print, it will help create a focal point and give the illusion of grandeur. In the end, try to be intentional with what you have on display — this will definitely change the feeling drastically.
9. Texture Time
If possible, avoid overly heavy fabrics in your space. Keeping the textures lightweight will absolutely help to create more openness. If your space is on the smaller side, you might want to consider ditching curtains altogether. If you still need some privacy or light control, consider roller shades or cellular blinds that can be a lot more minimalistic and retractable.
10. Will White Be Best?
Sure, painting all of your walls white will help to create a sense of airiness. Sure, it will probably change the way the space feels. But we don’t necessarily think that painting a small room a darker hue is the wrong choice — it can be extremely inviting and cozy to do so. What we do suggest, regardless of which side of the spectrum you land on, is to have contrast. All of your efforts to make a space feel bigger will benefit from some pops of the unexpected.