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How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger

Many people have a small room and no matter what they do, they can't make it look any bigger. While we may not be able to add extra square footage, with a few short cuts, tips, and creative decorating it is possible to visually expand the dimensions of a small room.

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Ditch the Cluttermarekuliasz/Shutterstock

Ditch the Clutter

Learning how to make a small room look bigger starts with the clutter. Too much clutter overpowers the square foot and will make the room look smaller. The adage less is more, holds true when there's too much stuff taking up precious space. A quick way to make room is spending the day decluttering. Do this by reducing the number of decorative accessories, knick knacks, artificial plants and flowers, or any other items you have on display that serve no purpose. Reducing the clutter has a positive impact on the visual size of the room.
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Small Room Ideas: Monochromatic ColorPlusONE/Shutterstock

Small Room Ideas: Monochromatic Color

Choose a paint scheme using one color with varying shades and/or textures. Choose pale colors such as ivory, cream, white, pale blue, or yellow and light grey. Lighter colors give the appearance of being open and airy. You can use a few dark accessories, such as a sofa throw, pillows or vase to highlight the light-colored walls and accentuate the texture without posing a negative effect.
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Small Room Ideas: Sheer Window TreatmentsJodie Johnson/Shutterstock

Small Room Ideas: Sheer Window Treatments

Stay away from window treatments that are bulky, heavy, and ornate. They may look pretty but drapes, valances, cornices, and curtains made of heavy material subdue too much natural light. Use the window(s) in a small room to bring light into every corner. Along with light-colored walls, the sunlight will make the room seem larger. Consider slatted window blinds, very sheer lace curtains, or, bamboo shades. Slatted blinds provide privacy when closed and bamboo shades offer semi-privacy when closed (but also allow sun to filter through the woven material).
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Use Smart SpacingAtiketta Sangasaeng/shutterstock

Use Smart Spacing

Too much furniture jammed into a small space puts a drain on the available square footage. The more furniture, the less room to visually expand the space. Consider a glass table, whether it's an end table, coffee table, or a dining table. This keeps the room open and removes the overstuffed feeling of too many furniture pieces. Think about a loveseat versus a full-size sofa. If paintings are your thing, use one large piece that is in balance with and complements the room (rather than multiple smaller paintings). If your walls are too busy or overwhelming, the room can appear smaller.
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Small Room Ideas: Create an IllusionJR-stock/Shutterstock

Small Room Ideas: Create an Illusion

Work your magic with mirrors. They are an ideal accessory for making a room appear larger. Mirrors can be installed on sliding closet doors or as a covering for an entire wall (preferably near a window). Mirrors serve two beneficial purposes: First, images, accessories, wall hangings, furniture, and light from lamps or recessed lighting will be reflected into the room. Second, during the day as natural sunlight pours in through the window(s), it reflects off the mirrors making the room brighter and lighter.
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Small Room Ideas: Choose a Light Color SchemeYuganov Konstantin

Small Room Ideas: Choose a Light Color Scheme

Dark colors are a no-no in small rooms. As suggested, lighter color palettes cast the illusion of a larger area. Dark color schemes, although trendy and design-friendly, are best used in larger areas. When dark color schemes are used in smaller rooms, it can create a suffocating feeling as though the walls are closing in on what is already a space-challenged room.
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Small Room Ideas: Incorporate Multifunctional FurnitureArtazum/Shutterstock

Small Room Ideas: Incorporate Multifunctional Furniture

To utilize the space in a small room to its maximum potential, decorate with furniture that can serve a dual purpose such as a sofa with pullout storage space, an ottoman that opens for extra storage, or a steamer trunk that can also double as a coffee or end table. Furniture that can be downsized is a great way to create space, too. Remove the leaf from a dining room table until it's needed, replace a full-size recliner with a medium-sized chair and footstool, or replace a traditional bed with a pullout sofa or a daybed that can also serve as a sofa.
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Recessed LightingFamily Handyman

Recessed Lighting

During our recent bathroom makeover, my husband replaced the outdated bath fan. That meant turning off the power to the bathroom, so he hung his new cordless LED work light between the joists and got to work. After installing the new fan box, he put up new drywall, taped, primed and painted. The bathroom looked fantastic.

His next project was in the basement and one day I found him searching frantically for the work light. So I asked him the standard question: 'Where did you use it last?' I could see the 'LED' flash on in his head. He had left it in the ceiling above the drywall!

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Small Room Ideas: Utilize the CeilingYarlander/Shutterstock

Small Room Ideas: Utilize the Ceiling

Create an illusion of your small room being much larger than it is by installing a band of small molding, about a foot down from the ceiling around the entire room. Paint the ceiling above the molding a color different from the wall area below the molding. Keep in mind the suggestion about using lighter color paint. In this case, the ceiling could be white or cream with the walls a lovely pastel like pale yellow or blue.
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Small Room Ideas: Light-Colored

Small Room Ideas: Light-Colored Flooring

As with color schemes, choosing a light-colored flooring can create the illusion of a larger space. If you don't have the option of replacing dark wood floors or carpet, use light-colored rugs to cover as much of the area as possible. Whether you use area rugs or able to install new flooring, choose colors that will complement the wall paint. Check out these tricks to make your home décor look more expensive than it actually is.