They say bigger is better, but we happen to think there’s something quite special about small spaces. While they do have their challenges (likewhere to fit all your stuff), they can be just as open and inviting as a home with more substantial square footage. And with a few foolproof tips, a small space can even look (and feel) larger than it actually is – and we’re showing you how.
Embracing a few essential elements is the key to making your small space feel much more spacious than its modest footprint. Even the smallest studio can have a look that defies its square footage! And it’s as easy as adding one item to a room, changing up paint colors, going vertical, or even scaling things down.
Keep scrolling to see all our tips to give your small space a big presence.
Want even more tips for living big in a small space? Check out our posts Small Space Living: 5 Affordable Solutions To Help You Live Smarter (and more organized) and Small Spaces, Big Problems: Your Most Asked Questions
Mix In MIRRORS
Mirror mirror on the wall. Are you what I need to make my space feel less small? Yes! Mirrors are perhaps the easiest way to bring in lots of light and trick the eye into thinking a room is larger and more open than it actually is. Try a mirror in a narrow entryway, over a console in the diminutive dining room, or a full-length version in the bedroom to add valuable visual inches.
A round mirror works well to soften a space and break up the vertical and horizontal lines in a room.
Go VERTICAL (OR HORIZONTAL)
Whether up and down, or all around, emphasizing the height or width of a room is another trick for making a space feel more spacious. If you’ve got a room with high ceilings, focus on the vertical space, whether through a tall bookshelf, vertical artwork, or slim pendant light fixture, and you’ll increase the feeling of openness. While a wide room with lower ceilings will benefit from highlighting the horizontal aspects of the space (like horizontal paneling or stripes). It also moves your eye around, giving the illusion of more room.
A vertical stripe peel and stick wallpaper is an easy way to add height (and can be changed out just as easily).
SCALE Things Down
Sometimes in a small space, you do have to think smaller to look bigger. So when it comes to furniture, scaling down the size of your sofa, coffee table or dining table can make a petite room feel proportional and (you guessed it) bigger! Loveseats or apartment-sized sofas, round dining tables, and armless side chairs are all good options for keeping things sized just right.
Choose furniture that has narrow legs or glass tops, as it will feel lighter and take up less visual weight in a small space.
TRICK Your Eye
Paint isn’t just for adding color: you can also use it to play some tricks on your eye and expand a space. Darker colored walls can actually make a room feel wider while extending your wall color several inches onto the ceiling creates the illusion of more ceiling height. You can also paint your walls, molding, doors, and ceiling the same shade to make the corners of a room visually recede.
Always test out your paint colors by applying a 12″ x 12″ sample on the wall (and reviewing it at different times of day) before committing to a color.
Excelente tips. I love the strip wallpaper. I’m having lots of trouble resolving how to add warmest uso g the walls to my private foyer which of course has been turn down to a mud room. Thanks for any tips and suggestions.
I just inherited my parent’s house. The living room is small to medium sized. It is longer but not wide. I was thinking of painting it a rustic orange but there is a chair rail … for a room that is not too big should we leave the chair rail up or take it down? If we leave it up should we paint 2 different colors or keep the walls 1 color?
Overall, I would say a chair rail and walls in 2 different colors is not going to make a room look bigger. You’d be breaking up a space and making it feel less continuous. But if your space doesn’t have any other architectural details, I would leave it up and paint the room one color. Hope that’s helpful to you! xx -B
I loved this article and all the super tips. Just the ideas I need for our small space home and wonderful product suggestions too covering all budgets ?love and happy wishes to you and yours XX
We live in a small space – currently 48sqm and moving soon to a new 78sqm Townhouse. I’ve heard that including an oversized feature eg large lamp or pendant light in amongst smaller sized furniture (as suggested here) can also create a ensemble of spaciousness. Is this true? I’m looking at the photo of the Monochrome room with the large paper light shade – is that what they did?
Sometimes an oversize feature can make a room look bigger, but it really depends on the room. A large paper lantern could work if you have higher ceilings or a large bookcase. Just make sure it doesn’t feel massively larger in comparison to your other furnishings. Thanks so much for reading. xx -B
I bought my first home and the living room is giving me some troubles. It have 3 walls and each of them have something on it. My bedroom door is in the middle of one wall (left side) , a big patio door is on the other wall and there’s a big window on the third wall (right side). I don’t know where and how to place my television and my sofa.
Hope you can see my message! Tanks for all the tricks you give us! It really help! ❤️
Sounds like you may need to place your sofa in front of the big window and perhaps mount your TV on the opposite wall. It really depends on the length of the room. Check out this post and this post for even more useful tips. Best of luck and thanks for commenting! xx -B
Thank you so much! Sending lots of love xx -B
I live in a small space and have the basic furniture in my living room – loveseat, side chair, mirrors and a couple plants. I have wooden floors and would like to make my living room cohesive. I read not having a rug underneath furniture makes it look like they are floating, but Im not a big fan of rugs since I’m hyper sensitive to dust. If I add a rug or a throw will it make my living room look smaller? Also, is there an alternative to rugs, something that can be easily thrown in the washer machine?
No, a rug won’t make your space feel smaller. Just make sure it is sized properly to your space, with a border of at least 12″ of floor around the rug. As for rugs, All the options from Ruggable are all machine washable and come in some great patterns. Thanks for commenting! xx -B
Hiee there!!! All of these tips are so amazing!!!!!! thank you so much?❤️✨i have to move in to a new place in a months and all tips i look are from you! You are literally the best!! and oh btw i wanna be an interior designer too , You’re my role model?thanks love ya!❤️
Thank you so much for your support! Stay safe & inspired. xx -B
We are moving to a new home with a decent sized living room under normal circumstances but it’s tricky because the kitchen is separate and closed off from the living room but has no room for a table. So we want to put our table in the living room, however the living room is somewhat centered around a beautiful old fireplace so I want our couch to face that. Any advice for incorporating a dining room table into that type of space? I love your blog and Instagram! Thank you so much for all your helpful tips!
I would suggest going with a drop leaf dining table. That way you can save space and simply bring up the leaves when you are using the table, and lower them when you’re not. Ideally, I would try and separate the room into two more distinct spaces, maybe by placing the dining table behind the sofa if you can. Hope that helps you! Appreciate your comment. xx -B
These are amazing tips. Will be really useful for decorating my apartment. Always looking forward to read your posts.
Thanks so much for your comment! Hope you stay safe and inspired in your space. xx -B
We recently renovated a small townhouse and to make the room appear more loft like, I removed all the overhead kitchen cabinetry. It’s beautiful but now I have nowhere to put the kitchen glasses and setting them by the side of the sink is not the best. Since there are windows, there’s very little room for shelving. Q: What Would Bobby Do?
Perhaps a countertop shelf would solve the issue? You could place the glasses on the shelf and still keep counterspace open. xx -B
I am buying a Isabella grey (just a dark grey) sofa and loveseat. Any color palette suggestions? Any suggestions for what color to paint the walls? I am having a hard deciding what route to go. Our living room is somewhat narrow. Here is a link to a picture of the sofa/loveseat: https://www.beckerfurnitureworld.com/item/1780-sofa/1008176708
Dark greys pair really beautifully with warm tones like caramel, tan, and ivory. I would recommend an off white for the walls, like Benjamin Moore White Dove. You also want to balance all that dark color and smooth texture with lots of softness in the form of a rug, pillows, and throws. xx -B
My husband and I down sized to a small house. The main area is a combination kitchen and living room.
The kitchen is all white cabinets and white quartz counter tops the island is our table.
the walls are slightly off white.
We have a sectional in the living room which is a dark kind of taupe/olive color. I have accented with olive throw pillows and curtains.
I am looking to paint the wall behind the TV which is over a white electric fireplace.
Any suggestions on color?
A terracotta color could be an interesting accent wall and would pair nicely with shades of olive and white. You could also go for a more subtle light green for a more tonal look. xx -B
These are great suggestions! They show what a deep knowledge Bobby has of design principles. I love that he pairs his tips with shopping suggestions.
Thank you for your comment! Hope these tips help with your space. xx -B
Bobby, where did the woven chair come from? thanks Micki
I didn’t design that space, so I don’t have the exact info. But you can find a similar option here. Thanks for reading ! xx -B