Making Small Rooms Seem Larger

May 25, 2018

Clients often ask me to make their living rooms or dens seem larger. I follow some (or all) of these techniques in the process of making small rooms look more spacious:

  • Place an area rug in the room to create a space within a space.
  • Paint the walls with lighter colors, such as rich neutrals, and ensure that the paint complements the furniture and window treatments.
  • Go vertical. Make the room look “taller” by installing drapery panels high on the wall, or by using pendant lights, art, or wall sculptures with vertical lines. Wallpaper with vertical lines will also make the ceiling look higher. (Conversely, make the room look wider by using horizontal lines.).
  • Use appropriately sized furniture. Oversized furniture tends to overwhelm the room and make it look smaller.
  • Create a focal point at the ceiling – such as a chandelier, or draperies and fabulous drapery hardware that extend all the way to the ceiling – to help draw the eye up. Also consider painting the ceiling with a little darker tone than the wall – or even consider a mirrored ceiling!
  • Remove a piece or two of furniture and keep accessories to a minimum.
  • Use glass-top tables to help open the room and create the illusion of more space.
  • Install mirrors to duplicate the space and make it look twice as large! Place a large mirror behind a sofa, or have one wall open (without any furniture or accessories) and lean large mirrors against it.
  • Use solid colors – rather than prints – to give the room a clean, open look. You can use prints for pillows and small pieces of furniture, such a side chair or an Ottoman.
  • Keep the draperies to the sides of the windows to allow more light in.
  • Paint all window trims and baseboards the same color as the walls.

These are some general tips and guidelines, but, of course, there are many more ways to remedy “small room syndrome” – and each project is different. I often find inspiration in the room itself and, working with my clients and taking their needs and desires into consideration, together we create new approaches to solving design challenges!