10 Tips to Make Your Small Room Feel Bigger

How to make a small room feel bigger pin

Making a small room feel bigger is not as difficult as it may seem, and hiding clutter is a great way to make it happen.  Living in a small home poses its challenges, especially when it comes to making it feel bigger and brighter. But fear not! As an interior designer, I have a few clever tricks and some strategic planning for you to transform your cozy corner into a spacious-looking dream.

So how do you live in a small space without it looking small? Let’s dive into my 10 practical tips to help you declutter, maximize natural light, and create the look of more space in your small room.  

1. Declutter and Purge

Reducing clutter is the first step to making your small room feel bigger.  It doesn’t take long for your home to feel smaller and smaller with every purchase you make. But finding storage in your home can be a real challenge if you have a lack of space.  

The number one most important thing you can do is to purge things you don’t need to free up valuable space!  I know you really want that new purse, but do you need to hold on to the other 20 you already have?  Go through your belongings and donate or sell at least one for every new purchase you make. Preferably more than that… at least until you have enough room for what you have.

You can buy new toys for the kids, but you must learn to clean out toys they no longer use, are broken, or have missing pieces.  I would do this when they are not home.  You’re aware of what items are favorites and which ones haven’t seen the light of day for a while.  Believe me, you don’t want to do this with them because every item you pull out, they will want!  If you feel too guilty about doing this, then put the items in a box, out of sight, for a couple of weeks, and see if they miss them.  If they don’t ask for them, they go.  Out of sight, out of mind.

This simple yet effective strategy will help you create a more open and inviting environment and give you the illusion of space you don’t have.

clearing toy clutter-how to make a small room feel bigger

For more detailed information on how to get rid of your “stuff” read my post “How to Declutter”

2. Utilize Hidden Storage

Once you have purged your belongings you will need to find places for what’s left.  One way to make your space feel bigger is to hide as much as possible out of sight.  Lots of small items in your view will make your room look and feel even smaller than it is.  This is one reason that real estate stagers remove a lot of their client’s belongings.  It just makes the space feel bigger and brighter. So, hide as much as you can to visually make the space feel bigger while making the most of smaller spaces.

Below are some great ideas to hide clutter.  By putting items behind a curtain, or in a closet, will make your home feel much bigger.  Try some of these ideas for a quick and inexpensive fix.

multi functional furniture - how to make a small room feel bigger
Photos by: BHG and plumberrypie.blogspot.com

3. Embrace Multi-Purpose Furniture

Using furniture that can do double duty does a few things for your small space.  First, whenever you can use less furniture, you will save actual floor space in the room.  Second, as I’ll explain below, using fewer pieces will visually make a small space feel bigger.

Using a multi-use coffee table like the first picture below, gives you three purposes in one. First, it functions as an ottoman to put your feet up or for extra seating, second, as a lift-up table for eating or working, and third, for extra storage, all in one small space!

The bedroom unit also has many functional aspects in one small space.  A bed, a study space, a bookcase, and storage drawers.  All of these items only take up the space of one bed!  That’s a huge space-saving piece of furniture that would work wonders in a small bedroom!

The third photo is one of my favorites. You can make your small room look bigger with this one genius tip. Don’t have room for an end table next to your sofa?  Just add one to the arm of your sofa! You have saved using an entire piece of furniture but it can still be functional. And this is a great DIY project!

A compact dining table in your dining room or kitchen can also serve as a workspace or homework area when needed.

As you can see, using furniture pieces that offer double, or triple duty, can save you much-needed floor space and still provide lots of additional, hidden storage. So, opt for multi-functional furniture pieces to not only save space but also add functionality to your room. 


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Here is a great post teaching you how to arrange your sofa in your living room.

functional furniture - how to make a small space feel bigger
Photos by: modgojekgrab.com, traciconnellinteriors.com, and crate and barrel

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If you like this post you may be interested in my post “How to make a king size bed work in a small room

To learn everything there is to know about decorating, read my post How to decorate like a pro” and get all my insider tips and tricks.

4. Elevate Off-Floor Storage

Keep the floor clear to create more usable square footage and create a more open feel in your room. The goal for this tip is to be able to see as much floor space as possible.  When you have lots of things hanging around on the floor it makes the space feel cluttered.  

For example, in your home office or craft room, you have a trash can, cords, some books, a couple of short shelving units with craft supplies, some bins of work stuff, and maybe your computer deck on the floor.  It would look busy and messy.  So instead, what if you moved the trash can and the computer deck under the desk and taped up the cords to the bottom of it?  Then put the books, work stuff, and craft supplies all on one tall bookcase? Huge difference!

Utilizing wall-mounted shelves and built-in storage cabinets to store items vertically will free up valuable floor space and make the space look and feel much larger. 

uncluttered office - how to make a small room feel bigger

5. Choose Larger Pieces Over Smaller Ones

Opt for larger furniture pieces over smaller ones to prevent your room from feeling cluttered. When it comes to furniture, less is often more in smaller rooms.I know it sounds funny to tell you to put large furniture pieces in a small room, but it all comes down to the number of items that are in the space rather than the size of them. 

Ever notice when you visit an elderly person’s house, (that is full of knickknacks and pretty much everything they ever purchased), how cluttered and dark it looks?  The biggest reason for this is because of the sheer volume of the items in the room.  I’m not judging.  My parents, as well as many other people from our older generation, held onto everything they could simply because of the times.  But, imagine if they rotated items in the room instead of having everything they owned out all at once.

Choosing to use a few large pieces of furniture and larger accessories, rather than a bunch of smaller pieces, will dramatically change how big the room looks and feels.  Look at the examples below.  Both rooms are approximately the same size but look at the difference in how big they feel.

cluttered living room - how to make a small room feel bigger
uncluttered room - how to make a room feel bigger
Festoon Lighting Brisbane

6. Harness the Power of Walls and maximize vertical space

Make use of vertical wall space to free up floor area and enhance the feeling of spaciousness. Vertical stripes on walls can also elongate the room and make it appear larger. A tall headboard or a large art piece can serve as a focal point and draw the eye upward, creating the illusion of more space.

We already talked about how freeing up floor space is a good way to make the space feel larger.  Try these ideas and use some of the available wall space you have.

  • Instead of having a long dresser in your master bedroom, use a taller, thinner one instead.  You have the same amount of storage space but less floor space used.
  • Hang your television on the wall over the fireplace instead of having a separate entertainment center on the floor.
  • Instead of having a lot of items on your kitchen counter how about installing a wall shelf to hold some of it?
  • In your tiny bathroom use an over-the-toilet organizer instead of a separate floor cabinet.

Just remember, you don’t want to fill up your walls with lots of “stuff”.  Use only what you need and what looks good.  Put the rest behind doors, cabinets, drawers, in a window seat, etc.  You don’t want your space to look like your grandparents do you?  😉

7. Organize Small Items Effectively

Inevitably you will have some small items that need to stay visible.  But you can arrange them in a way that will not make your room look cluttered.  The first idea would be to corral similar items together in a basket or bin.  I would use this idea for items that maybe shouldn’t be on display, but you still need access, like the remote control or paperwork on your desk.


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Speaking of small rooms, you can learn how to decorate the ultimate small room…the dorm room. Read my post “College Dorm Room Decorating Ideas” for some more great small space decorating ideas.

When you are accessorizing with smaller items that you want to display, you will also want to corral these. By placing these items on a tray, or top of a book, it will give the illusion that the grouping is one large item, rather than a bunch of smaller ones.  Don’t forget to swap out accessories rather than displaying them all.

Imagine the items in the image below just scattered on a table.  It wouldn’t make sense and would just look cluttered.  By grouping them on the tray it gives the illusion that it is one larger display.

Another idea is to keep like items together.  Displaying a set of something, or a group of items that are the same color, or theme, will again make the items feel like one.  Books are a great example because you can have an entire wall of books neatly lined up on a shelf but it doesn’t feel cluttered.  Imagine that same shelf with a plant, 10 random knickknacks, some books, magazines, and a bunch of framed photos in all different styles.  It does not have the same effect for the same space.

I was picturing my parent’s home while coming up with that list of items.  My dad is famous for not using this rule.  If there is a blank space somewhere in the room, he finds something to put there.  Whether it’s his baseball hat collection hanging on the wall by the kitchen table, or the photo of a cat that he found at the thrift store. He got that photo because there was a blank space on the wall in the living room that needed something. LOL He doesn’t even have a cat! There is not one space left in his home without something on it.  The decorator and OCD in me is freaking out…but I love you Dad. 🙂

corral items - how to make a small room feel bigger
image by Vibekedesign via Pinterest

So, gather small items in baskets or bins to prevent visual clutter and maintain a tidy appearance. Consider using wall-mounted organizers or hooks to keep frequently used items within reach. This will all help create a more streamlined and organized look in your room.

9. Use a monochromatic color scheme

Just like a lot of physical items can make a room look smaller, so can a lot of different colors.  When you use different colors in a room, whether it’s on your walls or with your furniture and accessories, it forces your eye to move from one color to another.  This creates a sense of chaos in the room.  Don’t get me wrong.  You want to add different colors and textures to a room to create some interest, but when you are working with a small space it is best to stick to one color.

A monochromatic color scheme doesn’t mean you have to use all neutral colors.  What it means is that you want to keep whatever colors you choose in the same hue.  Hue is the color, such as blue or yellow.  So by choosing just one color, you will allow the eye to rest in the room instead of being overloaded with different things to focus on.  Using window treatments in the same color as the walls will help make the room feel larger as well.

But you will want to add interest by using different values, or shades of that color. That being said, in the case of small spaces, using light colors will help to make the space feel bigger. But it’s usually the lack of light, (smaller room, fewer windows) rather than the size of the room that makes using a darker color difficult.

Learn more about choosing colors for your room in my post “How to choose the right color the first time.”

If you choose a monochromatic color scheme, you will also want to keep busy patterns to a minimum.  However, incorporating lots of different textures will help to keep the room from looking dull and boring.  In the photo below they used patterns in the pillows and an accent chair but kept those patterns neutral like the rest of the room.

monochomatic scheme - how to make a small room feel bigger

9. Use the right mix of lighting

As I mentioned above, a lack of light in a room can make a space feel small.  This is why using dark colors in a room can make a room look small.  It’s the lack of light. So, if your room lacks sufficient natural light, you will need to add some artificial lighting.  

There are 3 kinds of light sources.  Task, general, and accent lighting can dramatically change how a small room feels when used together. 

First make sure the room has a good general lighting source such as natural light, recessed can lights, a chandelier, or other ceiling-mounted fixture. Maximize natural light by keeping window treatments minimal and opting for sheer fabrics. 

Then you will want to add task lighting.  Task lighting will be any light source used for improving tasks like working at a desk, watching TV, reading, or eating. Lamps are probably the most used task light.

Then lastly is accent lighting.  Accent lighting is lighting that is used to accent a feature in a room such as a fireplace, artwork, or uplighting on a plant to name a few. This type of lighting is what will give the room dimension and interest.  Just think of a spotlight on the star of the show. It makes you focus on them.

Incorporating a mix of lighting sources, including overhead fixtures, task lamps, and accent lights, will create depth and dimension in your room. You can also use mirrors to reflect light and make the space feel brighter and more open.

use lighting - how to make a small room feel bigger

10. Look at tiny homes and campers for inspiration

If you really want to know how to make a small room feel bigger then take inspiration from tiny homes and compact living spaces for innovative storage solutions and space-saving ideas.   Builders of tiny homes and RV campers are geniuses when it comes to finding storage in the smallest of spaces.  They use every nook and cranny to the fullest to make sure that every square foot is usable space.  They also figured out how to hide these spaces to make the space feel as big as possible.

Some areas they often utilize are under the bed, beneath benches in the kitchen, under the sofa, and above windows. And they put built-in shelves anywhere there is an unused area.  You can incorporate these ideas into your small space as well.

tiny house - how to make a small room feel bigger
Image from Tiny House Blog

And there you have it—ten simple yet effective strategies to unlock the full potential of your small room. By decluttering, maximizing storage, and harnessing the power of natural light, you’ve taken significant steps toward creating a space that feels open, airy, and inviting. Remember, making a small room feel bigger is all about creativity and resourcefulness. Whether you’re embracing multi-purpose furniture, organizing small items effectively, or experimenting with a monochromatic color scheme, every little change adds up to make a big difference. So go ahead, put these tips into action, and watch as your small room transforms into a cozy retreat that you’ll love coming home to. 

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  1. Simple Home elevation design in India is not only about aesthetics, but also functionality. High ceilings will make your home look wider because it gives a high illusion. Not only that, the high ceiling of the house also allows air circulation to run more smoothly so as to provide a cooler atmosphere in the house.

  2. YES! The difference between good design and clutter is that you give your personal items purpose. Grouping like items, like colors, or themes, can make otherwise random items work! Good Job Leah!

  3. I love what you said about keeping like items together. I came to that conclusion over Christmas and it helped so much. Even though I have a lot of different Christmas decorations I kept things that where similar color and theme together. Once I did that it all worked together and I felt like I had way more Christmas decorations then I did because they complemented each other and didn’t distract.