Tips to make a small room look and feel bigger

Imagine you live in a semi-detached house where each house is the mirror image of the other. Although the third bedroom in each house is exactly the same size, one may look and feel bigger than the other due to some clever styling. Here’s how it’s done – and the good news is, it needn’t cost you a fortune unless you want to go for a major makeover.

If your spare room looks like this, book the skip and grab some bin bags.


We know, we know, we’re always talking about decluttering – but if you want a spacious-feeling room, it really is the only way to go. If you’re not using the room for a regular, specific purpose such as a bedroom, there’s a temptation for it to turn into a junk room. Take a look at what’s there. Do you really still need that old exercise bike or that computer desk? If not, why not sell them and put the money towards a decorating budget?

Find the walls

Avoid heavy, chunky pieces of furniture and use furniture with exposed legs which will show light under and around.

Lots of big, heavy, tall furniture such as wardrobes and tall upright bookcases won’t do you any favours and will only make the room look smaller. Expose as much of the walls as you can with low, open plan shelves and storage chests. If you do need shelves, put them on the wall as high up as you can cope with to expose a clear section of wall underneath. If you’re hanging artwork, position it a little higher than usual to draw the eye upwards. Portrait shaped pictures can work better than landscape as they have a lengthening effect on the walls. Use any hidden corners you can for storage, such as under the bed. Move furniture slightly away from walls or invest in furniture with exposed legs so you can see light around and under it.

Rediscover the windows

This little attic room features a skylight for extra light and two single beds rather than a large double, so there’s space around them.

Natural light is the single most effective way of visually opening up the room. If you have heavy, floor length curtains in dark colours, replace them with light, gauzy curtains that don’t reach the floor. If the room is used for sleeping and you need to block out light, try a a blind fitted inside the window frame that can be rolled up right out of the way during the day. If you have conventional curtains, consider using a wide curtain rail so that you can pull each curtain right back on either side and not block any light.

If your room is right under the roof, is it possible to fit a Velux or skylight window? Maximise any natural light you do have by positioning a mirror opposite the window and bouncing light back into the room.

Pale imitation

While you don’t have to paint your room pure white if you find it boring, it is better to stick to pale or neutral colours. If you’d like to add some depth and contrast, paint one wall is a slightly darker shade or pick out woodwork in another colour. Keep floors and ceilings paler than the walls to add height to the room.

Decorative arts

Lots and lots of small accessories are not only a pain to dust but are also fantastic at making a room feel cluttered and cramped. Clear the decks, and invest in one or two later, eye-catching statement pieces instead.

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