How to Make a Room Look Bigger (without Renovations)

When you were touring your home or when you first moved in and the place was empty, it felt so spacious. Suddenly though, as soon as you live there, it feels like the walls are caving in on you. What kind of trickery is this?

The problem is that your furniture and your decor has a major impact on how large a room feels. If you make the wrong choices or if you bring in your furniture from a larger room to a smaller one, your new room will feel much smaller than you thought.

If knocking down walls or building an addition isn’t exactly practical, there’s still hope. Here’s how to make a room look bigger without renovations.

1. Keep It Light

Colors are useful for far more than making a room match your style. They also trick the eye into thinking a room is large or small.

To make your room look larger, go for light colors like white. Light bounces off these colors, which makes the space appear larger to anyone’s eye. Dark colors absorb light, on the other hand, so the room looks more closed-in.

A simple way to do this is by repainting the room. If that isn’t an option, focus on light colors for your furniture, drapes and other major design aspects.

This isn’t to say that your room needs to look white and sterile. Feel free to play with color, but make it an accent rather than the basis of the whole room.

2. Mix Up Your Levels

Levels are among the most essential elements of any great interior design, and they’re easier to use than you think.

In your design, place your accent pieces at different heights in the room. Have something attention-grabbing on or near the ceiling. Place something else eye-catching around mid-height and something else on or near the floor.

This strategy draws the eye around the room more efficiently. Guests see the full scope of the room right away, so it looks larger to them.

Put more focus on the accents that are higher in the room. This draws the eye upward so guests notice the vertical space, making the room feel more open.

3. Let the Sun Shine In

It’s no secret that natural light is a gamechanger when you want to make a room look larger. If you already have windows, look at where the light falls and move or remove anything that blocks it from filling the whole room.

It may also be helpful to look at how obtrusive your window treatments are. If they’re blocking part of the light or taking up too much space, they need to go.

If you have minimal natural light, there are ways to optimize it. Add a mirror that reflects the outdoor view and lets the light bounce around the room. You can add other light fixtures throughout the room too, using bulbs that mimic sunlight.

4. Choose Your Furniture Wisely

Furniture is a big expense when it comes to decorating your home, but the wrong choices can make your expense work against you.

In a small room, less is more. Choose fewer pieces and make sure they’re size-appropriate. There are plenty of tricks you can use to find the right size of furniture for a room.

When in doubt, opt for furniture with plain, light colors. It’s easy to add more color with throw pillows or blankets on the back of a sofa, but you can’t take away color that’s already in the sofa.

It’s also helpful to select furniture that serves multiple purposes. For instance, choose an ottoman that offers storage or converts into a coffee table. Try a TV stand that also includes closed storage.

5. Add Well-Placed Mirrors

We mentioned this briefly when discussing natural light, but the way you place mirrors in a small room can make a world of difference.

On top of placing mirrors so they reflect the space outside your windows, place them in an area where they’re visible from the moment someone enters the room. This creates an immediate impression of more space.

Don’t go overboard with mirrors, though. It’s better to opt for one or two large mirrors than a cluster of small ones. Make sure the mirrors are modern enough to complement your decor too and find out more about modern mirror styles.

Whatever you do, though, don’t cover a wall or half of a wall in mirrors. That may be the fastest way to make your home look like a musty portal to the 1980s.

6. Get Rid of Clutter

As much as we all love fun design accents in a room, there are limits. Too many accessories and items will make your room look cluttered, and clutter instantly makes a room look smaller.

Instead, use this as an opportunity to get rid of items you don’t need. For items you do need, everything should have a home in some type of closed storage.

This doesn’t only apply to knickknacks, but to wall decor as well. Less is more. For an open wall, one large design piece is better than a frenzy of many small ones.

7. Go for Simple Elegance

You’ve heard the saying that “the devil is in the details,” but when it comes to making a room look bigger, the devil is the details.

Avoid excessive details like fringes, tassels, and beadwork on your decorative pieces and accessories. These might not take up more space, but they create the illusion of extra clutter.

Instead, embrace the beauty of simplicity. Choose items with block colors instead of intricate and complex pieces.

Mastering How to Make a Room Look Bigger

When you’re designing or staging a home, there is so much you can change but there is so much you can’t change as well. You might not be able to change your home’s footprint, but these tips for how to make a room look bigger will fool the eye into thinking you have changed it.

For more masterful tips on optimizing any home, check out more articles on our blog.