How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger

Color & Decor Ideas to Make Small Rooms Look Bigger

Decorating a small room can be a challenge, but you can get the look you want and create an open and inviting home in the process. Whether you’re decorating your first home or a studio apartment, space-saving designs and decor for a small room are essential. Using bright colors, practical furniture and stylish accents, you can decorate a small living room, bedroom and dining room with ease.

Overview

Redecorating or moving to a new place and want to know how to make a small room look bigger? Before you dive in, consider small room decor ideas such as:

What Colors Make a Room Look Bigger?

When designing a compact space, select colors that make rooms appear bigger than they are. White and other pale paint colors reflect both natural and artificial light, creating a bright, open effect even as the lighting changes throughout the day. Lighter paint colors for small rooms also contrast with dark furnishings and decor for an extra level of depth.

In addition, painting walls and ceilings the same bright color creates the illusion that the ceiling is much higher than it really is. Feel free to experiment with popular colors for small rooms or consider the following classic small room color choices:

  • Crisp White: Porcelain white walls have a clean, ultra-bright look that makes a room appear bigger. You can pair white walls with other materials and accents such as natural wood floors, dark blue or black shag area rugs and white finished end tables or servers.
  • Off White: Subtle shades of cream and other off-white wall colors create a cozier atmosphere than stark snowy white. Arrange a beige sofa and some arm chairs among ivory walls for a quaint yet comfy living room look.
  • Light Brown: Earthy browns and soft tans used as accents throughout the home, including curtains, throws, pillows and rugs, lend warmth to small spaces. Also, a natural brown color palette that includes beige or pale almond walls and light or dark wood finishes fits a rustic or small farmhouse look perfectly.
  • Pale Green and Blue: Powder blue and light green are cool colors that promote a calm, collected atmosphere. Charming pale aqua or chartreuse tints add character and make a room a lively place to entertain guests. Great for nurseries and kids’ rooms, these two hues are ideal for small spaces and relaxation.
  • Grays: Popular in minimalist design, urban apartments and modern decor, solid gray walls combined with darker furniture instantly make rooms feel chic and elegant. Paint the trim white and leave ceilings bright while choosing charcoal bedding or black leather seating as contrast.
Open up a small space with a light brown living room set paired with neutral walls and subtle blue and green color accents that look bright and airy.
Open up a small space with a light brown living room set paired with neutral walls and subtle blue and green color accents that look bright and airy.

Multifunctional Furniture for Decorating Small Spaces

While you might feel limited when square footage is at a premium, being short on space can be a positive thing. Thanks to a host of small room furniture options, compact bedrooms, living rooms and studio apartments are often easier to decorate than their larger counterparts. A few upsides to using these convenient pieces include:

  • Saving Space: Having less room to work with encourages you to think about your furniture in a practical way. For example, instead of oversized sectionals and armchairs, you might consider sleeper sofas that double as a bed and a cozy seating solution.
  • Keeping Your Room Organized: Keeping clutter at bay is crucial when it comes to smart small room ideas. Storage ottomans hold everyday items like blankets, clothing and even electronics, keeping your space neat and orderly.
  • Thinking Vertically: Choose small room furniture that fulfills its purpose without taking up precious floor space. Bunk bed sets with built-in desks, tall bookshelves and entertainment stands fill blank walls without overcrowding your layout.
Kids need space in their bedrooms, so a loft bunk bed with an attached desk leaves more room for other furniture.
Kids need space in their bedrooms, so a loft bunk bed with an attached desk leaves more room for other furniture.

Decorating Small Spaces in your Home

Any small room in your home can appear more spacious once you learn a few tips and tricks and understand how to decorate a small room to look bigger. Light and neutral color palettes are appropriate for foyers, mudrooms, bathrooms and your main living spaces, too. Use small room decor ideas and multifunctional furniture to maximize your space.

Small Bedroom Ideas

From guest rooms to kids’ bedrooms and even a studio or apartment suite, decorating a small bedroom is all about design touches like coordinating color schemes and useful accents in addition to adequate storage. For cozy, stylish small bedroom ideas, keep these techniques in mind when upgrading your look and scaling down for space:

  • Complete Sets: Furnishing your room with a complete bedroom set, especially one made for small bedrooms, makes for quick, convenient and stylish redecorating. These small sets often include dressers, nightstands and twin or full beds as well as bunk or loft beds for kids.
  • Must-Have Storage: Storage is essential to keeping your bedroom clutter-free and organized. A chest of drawers takes up vertical space with plenty of room for your outfits, while a storage bed holds extra bedding, off-season clothing and more.
  • Strategic Accents: Using decorative yet functional accents creates an illusion of a much bigger space. A large mirror leaning against the wall reflects natural light and expands the view of the room. Meanwhile, wall-mounted sconces save floor space and brighten up corners.
To decorate a small bedroom and make it look larger, choose a bright color palette and take advantage of vertical space by using tall chests or dressers with stackable drawers.
To decorate a small bedroom and make it look larger, choose a bright color palette and take advantage of vertical space by using tall chests or dressers with stackable drawers.

Decor for Small Living Rooms

When furnishing a small living room, first consider how you will use it. Do you enjoy family movie nights on a cozy reclining sectional, or do you want to create an intimate conversation space to share with a few friends? Whatever your entertaining plans, check out these chic and practical small living room ideas:

  • Seating to Scale: Make sure you have enough seating to suit your needs and fit the space in your small living room. Loveseats, small couches and two-piece sectionals are popular in studio apartments and small family rooms.
  • Modern Design: Streamlined furniture designs make small rooms look bigger because the walls and floors are visible above and below each piece. Look for couches and chairs with a low or slender profile and long tapered legs.
  • Make Pathways Clear: Your layout should direct the flow of traffic while making the most of your square footage. Float large furnishings in the center of the room to establish an intimate focal point and create pathways for easy movement.
  • Versatile Features: Living room furniture with features like USB ports, storage and built-in cup holders are ideal for space-saving organization. A storage ottoman or window bench makes a cozy footrest, seat and hiding place for throws and pillows when not in use.
  • Play with Display: With a small living room, avoid adding too much decor. A luscious plant or a painting above the mantel makes a lovely focal point or statement piece. Glass top tables, mirrors and sheer curtains also make a room appear larger and filled with light.
Small sectionals are a perfect fit for tiny living rooms, while the modern look of plush cushions above chunky tapered legs is chic and cozy.
Small sectionals are a perfect fit for tiny living rooms, while the modern look of plush cushions above chunky tapered legs is chic and cozy.

Small Dining Room Decor

A small dining room with the right layout, furniture and decor can seat a surprising number of dinner guests. Small dining sets, like neat, round tables paired with two or three chairs, make the most of open-plan studios and tiny eat-in kitchen nooks. You could also swap the chairs out for backless counter or bar stools to conserve more space.

These small dining room ideas apply to homes without designated dining areas, too. If you’re outfitting a studio apartment or dorm room, try adding a large coffee table to the center of the sitting area to serve as a makeshift dining table. A nearby bar cart with a wine rack, cabinet space, shelves and casters makes a great substitute for large buffets and servers.

A round dining table can serve as an elegant bistro set in a loft apartment as well as an intimate gathering space in your family's townhome.
A round dining table can serve as an elegant bistro set in a loft apartment as well as an intimate gathering space in your family's townhome.

Small Room Decor Ideas

Once you’ve figured out your color palette and furniture, you can make a small room look bigger and more stylish with a few pieces of decor. While decorating small spaces includes personalizing the room’s look and taking up as little space as possible, using the right placement strategy to avoid cluttering your space is important.

Wall Decor for Small Spaces

When it comes to wall decor, plot your layout with even spacing between pieces of similar sizes, colors and shapes to create a clean, cohesive look. For smaller items, arrange them in groups of three to five on a single wall to mimic the look of a gallery display and keep your small room walls looking neat and organized.

It’s important to know how to fill empty walls without adding clutter. For starters, instead of populating them with a mix of picture frames at every corner, opt for one or two larger pieces. A single oversized print has a much greater impact, while collage frames with multiple photos look a bit more curated.

A large print or canvas adds character and has greater visual impact in a small seating area.

Make a Small Room Look Bigger with Mirrors

Another popular trick to open up a small room is the use of decorative mirrors. Whether you arrange a large circular mirror over the sofa or a collection of small rectangular mirrors in the kitchen, reflective surfaces expand your lighting as well as the view. Combine a large mirror with white wall paint to give tiny spaces some much-needed depth.

Lighting for Small Spaces

A well-lit space is essential when you want to make small rooms feel larger. Reconsider overhead lighting and opt for multiple, strategically placed table lamps. This approach allows you to adjust individual light levels in rooms with little natural light. Alternatively, try wall-mounted lamps or track lighting to free up space at ground level.

Define Space with Rugs

Decorative rugs warm up cold floors and separate different aspects of a small room. For instance, a round medallion rug under a dining room set creates a visual border as well as a guide for centering the table and chairs. Play with rugs of different colors to center your space, too. A pink rug under a kid’s white bed is bright and playful, while a beige rug with a white sofa set looks airy and light.

With a living room set, an area rug beneath the coffee table establishes walkways, while the furniture resting on the carpet prevents it from bunching or shifting.
With a living room set, an area rug beneath the coffee table establishes walkways, while the furniture resting on the carpet prevents it from bunching or shifting.

Get Rid of Drapes

Heavy drapery limits a room’s natural light and adds visual weight to your layout. Consider replacing them with blackout shades and mini-blinds so you can control and adjust the natural lighting in bedrooms without adding bulk to your design. Translucent curtains let light pass through, making rooms feel brighter and bigger. Choose from neutral, white and pale color options to fit your palette.

Avoid window treatments with heavy fabrics in small rooms. Opt for light, breezy options like sheer linen curtains or light-filtering shades instead.
Avoid window treatments with heavy fabrics in small rooms. Opt for light, breezy options like sheer linen curtains or light-filtering shades instead.

Choosing furniture and decor for a small room in your home involves a good deal of planning, starting with choosing color palettes and finding space-saving solutions with furniture and accents. With our detailed guide, you can use your general understanding of color and the importance of storage and multifunctional furnishings to kick-start your small room decorating ideas.