If you’ve been wondering “how to make a small room look bigger,” you’re definitely not alone. Although small rooms can present many interior design challenges, there are many benefits to compact living: small rooms are easier to keep clean and tidy; Easier to organize and decorate. A well-designed room can feel just as comfortable as a larger space, with all the comfort and warmth you want.
Small room ideas may be limited in size but can be big in style. We’ve curated our favorite ways to make a small room look bigger—with tricks of the trade to help turn that awkward little room into something sophisticated and functional, whatever its shape and proportions.
How to make a small room look bigger
In a small space, zoning and colorful decoration options are key. Make a small room look bigger by planning hard work design, investing in multifunctional furniture and choosing the right color scheme. So whether you’re working with a small living room, kitchenette, or small bedroom in a family home, you can make the space work better for you.
Luxury comes in all shapes and sizes – here, H&G shows you how to make modest rooms feel elegant and spacious.
1. Working with color in the living room
Carefully consider color choices when trying to make a small living room appear larger. Often, a simple and cost-effective solution is enough to visually expand your space.
“When you use one color on both the walls and woodwork, the room suddenly feels larger because the lack of contrast means you’re less aware of the space’s limitations,” says Joa Studholme, color coordinator at Farrow & Ball. (Opens in a new tab). “The eye doesn’t stop to register a second color and it slides right out of the window into the view, blending garden and room together.”
2. Distract the patterns in the children’s room
Salvesen Graham’s co-founders, Mary Graham and Nicole Salvesen, say styling patterns with a similar scale and tone will distract from an otherwise seemingly small room, and ensure it feels comfortable and welcoming. (Opens in a new tab). “Nothing should scream louder than anything else, so the eye isn’t drawn to a single feature and the space won’t feel too occupied.”
“In the smallest bedrooms (above), to make the most of the space, I created a bed nook on the side of the room where the sloping ceiling became very low, says Sarah Bickle, founder and creative director of Studio Peake. (Opens in a new tab). “Then I filled it in with a lively pattern to set it apart from the rest of the room, though the colors used in the fabric, pillows, wallpaper, and furniture subtly echo one another to give a sense of structure to the space.”
3. Be smart with storage in the kitchen
“It may seem counterintuitive if you want to make a small kitchen look bigger, but unless the ceilings are really high, I like to get rid of wall cabinets entirely in favor of shelving,” says Lonika Chande, founder and creative director, Lonika. chand (Opens in a new tab).
It looks much better and opens the field. I’m always on the lookout for vintage store fixtures and premium reclaimed panels that can be reused as shelves. Then I pour what I can put into kellner pots to display, along with piles of crockery, linen, and individual jugs. I love nothing more than to leave her with Kellner Jars and Dymo labeling machine – incredibly satisfying work that’s visually pleasing as well”
4. Introducing good lighting in the bathroom
If you’re looking for impactful ways to make a small bathroom look bigger, consider lighting first. Well-planned small bathroom lighting ideas will make all the difference in a small space, increasing the sense of scale and helping make it appear larger.
`In a small shower room, it’s critical not to underestimate the importance of good lighting,’ say Mary Graham and Nicole Salvesen, founders of Salvesen Graham. (Opens in a new tab). This should always include decorative wall lights on either side of the mirror to provide a softer, flattering light to the face as well as a decorative feature.
5. Choose accessories that visually expand the entrance
‘Entries are often cramped with little natural light, so consider using color and pattern to create a design scheme that brings warmth and light to the space,’ says Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director, Little Greene. (Opens in a new tab).
It is also worth choosing your accessories and decorative ideas carefully if you want to make this small room look bigger. “A beautifully detailed wall of slightly antique mirror can be a great way to extend a narrow entryway,” says Claire Sa, director of De Rosee Sa. (Opens in a new tab). “Putting a large mirror headlights and console in place mitigates the coldness of the mirror material.”
6. Painting the ceiling in the same color as the bedroom walls
“For me, the rule to make a small bedroom look bigger is to paint the ceiling the same color as the walls,” says Joa Studholme, color coordinator at Farrow & Ball. (Opens in a new tab). Who wants to lie in bed and look at a white ceiling? It’s much better to create a space that feels like it’s attached to you, and of course this will make the smallest space feel bigger because you can’t tell where the walls end and the ceiling begins. Cabinets should also be painted the same color as the walls, to avoid them becoming overly protruding.
7. Draw the eye up in the dining room
It’s all too easy for small spaces to feel dark and dingy, so if you’re dealing with a small dining room, focus on lighting as the first port of call. When considering ways to light a dining room, consider not only the effect of the lamps and lamps themselves, but how the placement of light fixtures can help change the proportions of a room.
“A small dining room with high ceilings can be challenging to design, says Emma-Sims-Hilditch, Creative Director, Sims Hilditch. (Opens in a new tab). “I often recommend choosing a low pendant light hanging above the dining table to catch the eye and fill the space.”
8. Enhance the feeling of space in the family room
Getting family room furniture into a small room is one of the biggest design challenges. This should be a practical space, whether to watch TV or to have a good conversation.
“It’s worth noting that two armchairs can often take up more space than a small sofa,” says interior designer Lonika Chande. “Sure, a small sofa without arms, with a small side table to put a drink in, and a floor lamp instead of a table lamp could be a better use of the space.”
Be bold with your small space and use large furniture in moderation to give the illusion that the room is larger than it is.
9. Employing smart design in a small garden
Even the smallest outdoor space can become a beautifully designed garden. The key is to keep things simple and hassle-free if you want to make a small garden look bigger.
“In smaller gardens, my focus is on organizing the space, using levels, framing views, creating social seating options, and working every single millimeter,” says Mandy Buckland of landscape design firm Greencube. (Opens in a new tab).
Track the arc of the sun to optimize the best spots, check any spoilers for viewing and create eye-catching focal points. I love to play by scale, often placing large pots as focal points and choosing interesting planting groups in bold spaces to create a serene green oasis.
The different levels can be an asset and make the space appear larger by creating additional areas. “Use large specimens such as acers and osmanthus, because large scaling creates drama,” Mandy says. Also try incorporating a mirror to create the illusion that the garden is beyond its limits.
What colors make a small room look bigger?
Of course, the use of pale or single color palettes will make a small room appear larger. However, it is not as simple as painting the walls white.
James Thorstan Waterworth, Founder of Thurstan says: (Opens in a new tab). They create a perception of depth and create a cocoon-like feel – welcome in every small room.
For walls in a small room, we suggest a darker dark blue or petrol green, then lift them up by carefully layering a hue, perhaps a burnt orange or a color similar to an earth tone — ocher, terracotta or a softer peach. ”