Are you tired of feeling cramped in your own home? Do you wish you had more open space, but don’t have the budget for a renovation? I’ve got good news for you! There are plenty of ways to make your existing space seem larger without breaking the bank. I have 13 ways to make spaces seem larger.
Most of us want more living space. Every day I’m thankful I have an office and every day I wish it were larger. Oh, well.
I’m always on the lookout for ways to make our spaces look and feel larger and function better.
We recently made a few changes to our living room that made a huge difference in the way the room functions and feels. It’s like the room has more space to breathe.
13 Tips and Tricks to Make Your Spaces Seem Bigger
Short of a remodel, here are 13 great ideas to make your spaces seem larger, lighter, and brighter.
These ideas are ones that you can easily put to use over time. Pick the ones that fit your space, your budget, and your home.
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Tip #1 – Maximize Natural Light
As someone who loves bright and airy spaces, I know how important natural light is in making a room feel larger.
- Keep windows unobstructed. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget to keep windows clear of furniture, curtains, and clutter.
- Position furniture away from windows, if possible, and choose light, sheer curtains that won’t block the light. Consider removing curtains without sacrificing privacy.
- Install skylights. If your space doesn’t have enough windows, consider installing skylights to bring in more natural light. These can be especially effective in dark or windowless rooms like bathrooms and closets.
- Opt for translucent materials. When choosing window treatments or room dividers, consider translucent materials like frosted glass or sheer curtains. These will let in light while still providing privacy.
Several years ago, I removed the plantation shutters from our dining room. The change was immediate. More light made the room appear larger and definitely brighter.
I replaced with shutters with sheer curtains and beautiful curtain rods. At night, I can pull the curtains shut if I want.
We are fortunate to have two large windows in our living room/breakfast room area, which we recently converted into a sitting area. The drapes in both areas are purely decorative. They face the backyard. We have full privacy so there is no need for shades. I love all the natural light and the views of our backyard and creek area.
Tip #2 – Use Light Colors
When it comes to making small spaces seem larger, one of the most effective tricks is to use light colors. They reflect more light and make a space feel open and airy.
Here are some ways I use light colors to make my spaces feel larger:
- Paint the walls: Paint colors such as white, cream, grey, pale blue, or yellow can make a room feel more spacious. Lighter colors reflect more light and make the walls seem farther away, creating the illusion of more space. Don’t forget to paint the trim light.
TIP: All the painted surfaces in our home are light tones of blue, green or grey. We used tints (50%) to lighten the ceilings and that lightens all the rooms, too. Remember, your ceilings are like a fifth wall.
- Choose light-colored flooring: Light-colored floorings such as light wood, beige carpet, or light-colored tile can also make a room feel larger. Dark flooring can make a room feel smaller and more closed-in.
Although we have brown hardwood floors throughout our downstairs, we just replaced our rugs with a light cream and beige custom rug. It is light but has plenty of texture. It really brightens the space.
- Use light-colored furniture: Choosing light-colored furniture such as white, beige, or light gray can help a room feel more open and spacious. Dark furniture can make a room feel heavy and closed in.
The most significant change we made this year was to bring in a new white sofa and two swivel chairs. What a change that made.
Tip #3 – Declutter Your Space
Decluttering your space is one of the easiest ways to make it seem larger. When you have too much stuff in a small space, it can feel cramped and cluttered.
- Use vertical space: When you’re short on floor space, use your walls. Install floating shelves or hang items.
- Minimize furniture: Having too much furniture in a small space can make it feel cramped. Consider getting rid of unnecessary furniture or replacing it with smaller pieces.
One of the biggest changes we recently made in our living room was to remove our sofa table. Then we switched the sofa and the two swivel chairs. Here’s the before:
After removing the sofa table, we gained 2 feet of walking space between the chairs and the bookcase. The area is now more spacious.
Tip #4 – Choose the Right Furniture
When it comes to making a space seem larger, choosing the right furniture pieces is crucial. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
One of the best ways to maximize space is by choosing furniture that can serve multiple purposes.
- An ottoman can be used as a footrest, coffee table, or a place to store extra blankets or pillows. It can also provide extra seating.
- In a tiny bedroom, a Murphy bed can instantly transform a room into an office.
- Use floor lamps when you need light but not a side table.
- A dining table with leaves can be expanded for entertaining but then collapsed to save space when not in use.
When choosing multifunctional furniture, consider the following:
- How often will you use each function?
- How easy is it to switch between functions?
- Is the furniture comfortable and durable for each use?
Scale and Proportion
Another important factor when choosing furniture is scale and proportion. Choose furniture that is appropriately sized for the room.
A large sectional might be comfortable, but it can overwhelm a small living room. On the other hand, a tiny accent chair might get lost in a large room.
To choose furniture with the right scale and proportion, consider the following:
- Measure the room and create a floor plan to determine the best layout.
- Choose furniture that is proportional to the room and other pieces in it.
- Consider the visual weight of each piece. For example, a tall bookcase might feel heavy in a small room, while a low bench might feel light and airy.
Color and Material
Finally, consider the color and material of your furniture. In a small space, it’s best to choose furniture that is light in color and visually lightweight. Dark or heavy furniture can make a room feel smaller and more cramped.
Consider the following when choosing furniture color and material:
- Light colors reflect light and make a room feel brighter and more open.
- Glass, lucite, or metal furniture can be visually lightweight and won’t take up too much visual space.
- Avoid busy patterns or large prints, which can be overwhelming in a small space.
Tip #5 – Hang Curtains Higher
One simple trick to make a room appear larger is to hang curtains higher than the window frame. This creates the illusion of a higher ceiling, making the room feel more spacious.
Make sure to install your curtain rods as high as possible. You can see in the images of our dining room and sitting area that our drapes are hung as high as they can be.
In our living room, the drapes are hung above the tall windows.
I recommend going for floor-length curtains. This helps elongate the room and creates a sense of vertical space. If your curtains are too short, they can make the room feel cramped and small.
Additionally, extending the curtain rod a few inches on either side of the window can also make the window appear larger. This is because when the curtains are open, they won’t block any part of the window.
Overall, hanging curtains higher is a simple and effective way to make a room feel more spacious. Just make sure to choose the right length and extend the rod a few inches on either side for the best results.
Tip # 6 – Use Mirrors
Mirrors are one of the easiest and most effective ways to make a space seem larger. They reflect light and create the illusion of depth, making even the smallest room feel more spacious. They bounce light around a room and make it feel larger.
Here are a few ways to use mirrors to make your space seem larger:
Hang a Large Mirror
A large mirror on a wall is one of the simplest ways to make a room seem larger. A full-length mirror or a large, decorative mirror reflects light and creates the illusion of more space. Hang the mirror on a wall that receives natural light to maximize the effect.
Use Mirrored Furniture
Mirrored furniture is a great way to add a touch of glamour to your space while also making it seem larger. Mirrored coffee tables, side tables, and dressers reflect light and create the illusion of more space. They also add a modern, sleek look to any room.
Create a Gallery Wall of Mirrors
A gallery wall of mirrors can add depth and interest to a room and make it seem larger. Choose a variety of mirror sizes and styles and hang them in a grid on a single wall. This will create a focal point in the room and make it seem more spacious.
In our powder bath, which has no natural light, I use a gallery wall of mirrors to reflect light.
Place Mirrors Opposite Windows
Placing a mirror opposite a window can reflect natural light and make a room seem brighter and larger.
Tip #7 – Create a Focal Point
When designing a room, it is essential to create a focal point to draw the eye and make the space seem larger.
A focal point can be anything from a piece of artwork to a fireplace or even a unique piece of furniture.
- Use color. Painting one wall a bold color or adding an accent wall with wallpaper or a wood treatment can create a visual point of interest. You can also use contrasting colors to create depth and dimension in a room.
- Use lighting. A well-placed light fixture or lamp can draw the eye and create a sense of space. Consider using a statement pendant light or a floor lamp to create a focal point in a room.
- Furniture placement. Arrange furniture around a unique piece such as a fireplace, a picture window, or a coffee table. This will draw attention to the center of the room and create a sense of space.
- Use accessories. Hang a large piece of artwork or a statement mirror on the wall to draw the eye. A bold area rug or a unique decor piece can create a point of interest in a room.
Tip #8 – Add Vertical Stripes
Adding vertical stripes to a room can help make it seem taller and more spacious. This is because vertical stripes draw the eye upwards, creating the illusion of height.
Our living room curtains are a solid shade of butter yellow. But they have a vertical fabric trim that draws the eye up.
When adding vertical stripes, it’s important to choose the right colors. Lighter colors work best, reflecting light and making the room seem brighter and more open. Darker colors can make a room feel smaller and more closed in.
One way to add vertical stripes is to use wallpaper. There are many different patterns and colors available, so it’s easy to find one that fits your style.
Another option is to use paint. Use painter’s tape to create straight lines, or you use a stencil to create a more intricate pattern.
It’s important to keep in mind that adding too many stripes can be overwhelming. Stick to one or two statement pieces, such as a wallpapered accent wall or a striped rug. This will create a focal point in the room and help draw the eye upwards.
Tip # 9 – Use Large Art Pieces
One of my favorite ways to make a space seem larger is to use large art pieces.
When you use a large art piece, it draws the eye upward and creates the illusion of a higher ceiling. This, in turn, makes the room feel more spacious. Plus, a large art piece can serve as a focal point.
Don’t go out and just buy any art piece. Make sure it’s the right size for your space. A piece that’s too small will look lost, while a piece that’s too big will overwhelm the room.
Last year, we purchased a new piece of art for our mantel that is 4 inches larger than our previous one. It fills the place better and is a better focal point.
The before . . .
If you’re not sure what size to get, use the following guidelines:
- For a small room, choose a piece that’s at least 24 inches wide.
- For a medium-sized room, choose a piece that’s at least 36 inches wide.
- For a large room, choose a piece that’s at least 48 inches wide.
Of course, these are just guidelines – you should choose a piece that you love and that fits your style.
Another tip is to hang the art piece at eye level. This will make the room feel more balanced and cohesive.
Tip #10 – Invest in Good Lighting
Investing in good lighting is a crucial step. The right lighting can make a room feel more open and spacious, while poor lighting can make it feel cramped and claustrophobic.
Incorporate natural light whenever possible. If you have windows in the room, make sure to keep them unobstructed and use light, sheer curtains to let in as much natural light as possible.
This will not only make the room feel brighter and more open, but it will also help to create a connection between the inside and outside spaces.
In addition to natural light, it’s also important to consider the type of artificial lighting you use in the space. Artificial light is crucial.
Recessed ceiling lights provide practical all-around illumination. Avoid overhead lighting that can create harsh shadows and make the room feel smaller. Instead, opt for softer, more diffused lighting that will create a warm, inviting atmosphere.
Use sconces where you can. They can be used in place of recessed lights, pendants or table lamps to brighten up enclosed spaces. They give the same function as adding a lamp but don’t take up tabletop space. Or they eliminate the need for a table.
Here the mirror on the wall reflects the light of the sconces.
Another great way to use lighting to make a space seem larger is to incorporate reflective surfaces.
- Mirrors, for example, can be used to reflect light and create the illusion of more space.
- Glass or metallic finishes bounce light around the room and create a brighter, more open feel.
- Use light-colored lampshades with metallic interiors.
- Consider using lighting to highlight certain room features, such as a piece of artwork or architectural detail. This will draw the eye to these elements and create a sense of depth and interest in the space.
Tip #11 – Opt for Transparent Furniture
When it comes to making small spaces seem larger, every little bit helps. One trick to consider is opting for transparent furniture, such as glass, acrylic or lucite.
Clear furniture, such as a glass coffee table or a lucite chair, can help make a room feel more open and spacious.
Transparent furniture has several benefits:
- It allows light to pass through it, eliminating any visual barriers in a room. This can make the space feel more open and airy.
- Transparent furniture can be visually interesting without being overwhelming. It can add style and personality to a room without taking up too much visual space.
When it comes to decorating with transparent furniture, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Balance out the transparency with some solid pieces. Too much clear furniture can make a room feel cold and sterile.
- Consider the placement of your transparent furniture. Placing a clear coffee table in front of a patterned rug can create an interesting visual effect.
- Don’t be afraid to mix and match different materials and textures. A clear acrylic chair can look great paired with a cozy wool throw or a plush velvet cushion.
Our coffee table and two side tables are glass with metal frames. They definitely make the room seem light and airy.
Tip #12 – Add Light-Colored Accessories
Adding light-colored accessories reflect more light and can help create the illusion of more space:
- Throw pillows, curtains, or rugs in light colors can make a room feel larger.
- Fabrics with a natural sheen such as velvet or silk throws or metallic woven threads reflect light.
In general, I try to keep the color palette of my living spaces light and airy. This creates a sense of openness and makes the space feel larger than it actually is.
Tip #13 – Keep the Floor Visible
One of the easiest ways to make a space seem larger is by keeping the floor clear of clutter.
- Instead of bulky bookcases or cabinets, opt for floating shelves, leaving the floor space clear.
- Invest in storage solutions to keep belongings out of sight.
- Choose furniture with legs: furniture with legs, such as sofas, armchairs, and side tables, can create the illusion of more space by allowing light to flow underneath them.
When we were customizing our new sofa, I originally wanted a skirt. At the last minute, I chose exposed legs. The sofa looks lighter and the eye can travel further.
By following these 13 tips and tricks, you can create the illusion of more space in any room.
- maximize natural light
- use light colors
- declutter your space
- choose the right furniture
- hang curtains higher
- use mirrors
- create a focal point
- add vertical stripes
- use large pieces of art
- invest in good lighting
- opt for transparent furniture
- keep the floors visible
Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative! There are many unique and innovative ways to make a small space feel larger. With a little bit of imagination and some careful planning, you can transform any small space into a cozy and inviting oasis.
Did you find this post helpful? I really hope so. Then, be sure to PIN It to revisit these 13 ways to make spaces seem larger.