How to make a small room feel larger

39581387 - mess in spacious living room in the morning

// by Annie Black

Small rooms can be a total headache. For those of us not enjoying lives of luxury in palatial homes, it’s almost inevitable that a small room will leave you scratching your head. “How do I make this space feel bigger?” you ask yourself. Scouring Pinterest and binging on HGTV can only get you so far. Oftentimes it’s best to heed to an expert’s advice. To turn a space from claustrophobic to spectacular, Jacksonville-based interior designers Liz Studer of Decorator Girl and Troy Spurlin Interiors’ Candace Glosson have some fabulous tips.

DO Brighten Up the Room With Lighter Colors
Unless you’re absolutely daring, dark walls are generally a no-go for a small space. The same rule that applies for making yourself look thinner also applies for making rooms look larger: dark colors make things seem smaller, light colors do the opposite. According to Studer, some rather unexpected colors can be detrimental to your open, airy design scheme. “You want to avoid colors on walls and things such as reds and oranges and very warm colors,” she says. ”Those colors tend to advance and close down space.”

Don’t Pick The Wrong-Scaled Furniture
Just because a room is small doesn’t mean it needs tiny furniture. “Usually when you put in small furniture it means you want a lot of pieces,” Glosson says. “A lot of people tend to clutter rooms with small pieces and that just makes the room seem even smaller.” Studer agrees that in this case, size does matter. She says that oftentimes, “[clients] choose the wrong scale of furniture for their workspace.”

Do Heighten Your Room with Strategically-Placed Curtains
Both Glosson and Studer agree: Where you place your curtains can affect the feel of your small room. While it may seem a bit peculiar, hanging your curtains higher than your window frame will make your room appear larger. “It’s going to give you an illusion of lifting the ceiling up higher,” says Studer. Glosson agrees. “If you do a longer curtain, hang it as close to the ceiling or the crown molding as you can get and as close to the floor. That’s going to heighten that space.”

Don’t Limit Your Lighting
While too many lamps can make a room feel like a lighting store, selecting the right fixtures and using natural light makes a room feel more spacious. Glosson vouches for layered lighting—the use of light at different heights. By using table and floor lamps, she says that the use of ambient lighting in lieu of direct lighting gives a room a larger feeling. Of course, if you have access to natural light in your small room, use it. Sunlight opens up a space to make it effortlessly breezy.

Do Use Mirrors to Your Advantage
As you’ve already learned, light makes a room appear larger. And, you know what mirrors are good at? Reflecting light. A seriously easy fix is to position mirrors strategically to reflect light. Studer says mixed metallics and glass can have the same effect. In a living room, for example, “a glass coffee table is much lighter in a space, scale-wise, than something that’s heavy, dark and one piece.” As far as decorating a small space goes, these are merely guidelines to get you started. However, when it comes down to it, it’s your small room, so decorate it to your heart’s content. Make the space your own and you won’t worry much about the size.