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14 Easy Hacks to Make Any Tiny Room Instantly Look Bigger

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14 Tiny Room Hacks Great For Any Home

Living in a small space can be fantastic! They’re cozy during the cold months and ideal for intimate gatherings with friends. Small rooms also make it easy to keep your place clean, which is always a nice bonus!

add a bookcase to the upper half of the wall
Historiska Hem. Photography by Anna Malmberg

Small spaces are great, but nobody actually wants to feel like they’re lacking space… if that makes sense… there’s a fine line between cozy and claustrophobic!

The trickiest part of living in a small home or apartment is picking out furniture that fits without making things look cramped. It’s also important to find ways to create the illusion of more room than you have available – mainly so that people don’t feel like there’s not enough breathing room.

Luckily, I’m here today with my top tips on how you can take any tiny space from looking chaotic to expansive. All while providing plenty of comfort and without breaking the bank!

1. Make sure there’s enough space between furniture 

With tiny rooms, of course, every inch of space is at a premium! But that doesn’t mean that you should be cramming in furniture to make the most of the little space you have. (Or keeping the same amount of furniture you had in your larger home, if you’ve just downsized!)

TIP: Stick to slightly smaller, more compact pieces of furniture where you can, to keep your room streamlined. For example, this may mean using a loveseat instead of a “standard” size sofa.

You want to make sure there is enough space between not only the different furniture pieces you have in your room, but between your furniture and walls too.

A minimum of 18″ to 24″ inches between your individual pieces will give you a clear walkway and reduces the chances of you bruising your shins every time you get up from your sofa. And try to keep a 3/5″ clearance between your sofa and the wall if you can (and if it makes sense for your setup).

Doing this will make your room look more spacious and means you don’t have to do parkour over your chairs and tables every time you have to leave the living room! 

2. Get clever with white paint

Like nachos and guacamole, white paint and small rooms can be a match made in heaven! But only if your tiny room gets a lot of natural light. Without natural light, it can actually be more effective to use dark paint in a small room (more on that below).

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if your room is already tiny, painting it white isn’t going to just magically make it look twice as big. A small room is a small room! Especially a poorly lit small room!

But, if you have large amounts of natural light, for example if your tiny room is south facing, then white paint is going to do a great job at reflecting the light in your room, helping to make it look airier and larger. The room may not be very exciting once the sun goes down though!!

There are a few rules to bear in mind before you run out to the paint store:

  1. be sure to paint the whole space the same color white for the best effect (so walls, trim, doors and ceiling should all be the same shade of white – I love Benjamin Moore Simply White), and …
  2. when you’re picking your white paint, be mindful of the undertone – an overly cold white can make your room feel more like a doctor’s surgery than a space you want to hang out in.

Want to know more about the dos and don’ts of white paint? Check out this guide.


3. Bring out the dark paint!

‘Okay’, I hear you say – ‘Vivien’s lost it. She told me to paint my room white, and now she’s telling me to paint it black. What gives?!’ 

Trust me, there is method in the madness!

The common belief is that darker colors make a room look smaller because they absorb light instead of reflecting it. While this IS true, there is a lot more to it…

Dark walls can actually make the walls recede into the background, so they seem farther away from you. This is especially true at night, when there are only artificial light sources illuminating the room. Imagine you’re in a theater looking at a stage – the only light is on the actors on stage. Everything else melts away.

What’s more, the edges of a small dark room will be blurred into the shadows as well. These optical illusions can 100% help make a small room look bigger.

So yes, long story short: contrary to popular belief, dark paint can actually add depth to a room. If you’re hesitant but curious, test out this theory in a small powder room.

A dark teal, deep green or soft charcoal can look gorgeous in a small space. It can turn an otherwise tiny room from compact to cozy as heck.

4. Keep your flooring the same throughout the house

Sticking to the same type and color of flooring across your home tricks your brain into thinking that your rooms are one continuous area, and larger than they actually are.

Having several types of different flooring is visually distracting and chaotic – which does not help our cause in a small room!

You can add color, depth and texture to specific rooms by using rugs and mats. Stick to simple rugs in colors that match (or are similar) to your walls for the best effect. Leave the jazzy rugs for your larger rooms!

Fashion 101: We all know that vertical striped clothing can make you look taller (or wider!). The great news is that you can apply this principle to your flooring too! Try a striped rug to elongate your room and make it look *stunning!*. 

5. Skip the curtains

If you have a small room, not using curtains can open up your room and make it feel bigger. This might be one of my favorite tiny room hacks!

When you’re used to hanging curtains or blinds in every room of the home, it may feel weird going curtain-less for the first time. Give it a try though, it does make a real difference!

Are curtains a deal-breaker for you? If the answer is yes, try matching your curtain color to your wall color for a seamless blend that tricks the eye. 

Alternatively, sheer curtains can keep your room feeling light and airy, while still providing a layer of privacy between inside and outside.

(Keep reading – I have another cool curtain tip for you later on!)

6. Hang mirrors to enlarge your space

Yep, it’s the oldest trick in the book when it comes to making a small room look lighter and brighter! But it’s one of the classic tiny room hacks for a reason: it works!

A strategically placed mirror in your room reflects the light and tricks your eye into thinking the room goes further than it actually does. 

Try hanging or leaning a large mirror against your wall, opposite a door or a window. Your room will look like it goes on for miles!

And while I *personally* would not use mirrored furniture, if you like that look then you COULD incorporate mirrored pieces of furniture into your space to create the same effect.

7. Use transparent furniture

You may have already known about the mirror trick, but did you ever consider using transparent furniture? If you can work lucite furniture into your decor, there is a very good chance that it will help make your space look bigger than it actually is.

Simply being able to “see-through” certain elements in the room can instantly increase the feeling of expansiveness because you’re literally removing certain visual barriers. The best way to incorporate this tip is through lucite chairs and end tables. You can also incorporate a glass coffee table for the same effect.

8. Cut the clutter

With small spaces, you need to be as brutal as possible with potential clutter before it starts to clog up your surfaces and makes your room look messy. Find a permanent home for it or if you don’t really need it, donate it to Goodwill.

For example, take your kitchen. You may think that it’s convenient to have all your gadgets on your countertops, so they are there when you need them. 

Be honest though… when was the last time you used that sandwich toaster?

By clearing your gadgets away and storing them, you’ll save space and make your kitchen look a lot larger and cleaner. Your kitchen counters and tabletops will thank you!

9. Enhance the verticality of your room.

Got a small room with high ceilings? It’s the perfect opportunity to build upwards!

Floor to ceiling bookcases, shelving and tall closets will make visitors look up rather than across, making your room look larger. The added bonus is that you’ve got lots of additional storage for your books, clothes and shoes too!

If you’re looking for a stylish way to enhance the dimensions of your room, shiplap is amazing! Install it vertically and it will make your room look taller, install it horizontally and it will make your room look wider. The lines of the wooden boards trick the eye into thinking your space is bigger than it is.

You can also hang curtains from your ceiling to make your room look more spacious. Find out more about handling curtains like a pro in this guide.

Even if you don’t have tall ceilings in your small space, don’t underestimate the power of using the vertical space in your room!

10. Invest in a statement light

A large statement light in a small space creates a focal point that draws the eye towards the ceiling. 

Don’t be afraid to go big or go home when it comes to investing in a light for your room (okay, you are already home, but you know what I mean).

Try a big sculptural pendant to instantly make your small room look elegant! Or a sculpptural wall sconce, like in the photo above.

And while we’re on the topic of lighting, I would also recommend skipping floor and table lamps almost altogether in small rooms. Stick to pendant lights and wall sconces to keep your floor and surface areas (like side tables) clear.

11. Use fewer, but larger items

Having fewer, larger items will stop your room from looking too messy, making it feel cleaner and bigger.

Lots of small items close to each other creates fewer smooth lines in a room, is distracting the eye, creates clutter and makes your space look even smaller than it actually is. 

The good news is that your small space doesn’t have to look bare and boring! By making the switch to fewer, larger items, you can trick your visitors into thinking your room is a lot more spacious, all while keeping things visually interesting.

12. Mount whatever can be mounted

Keeping the floor as clear as possible will really help create a feeling of spaciousness in your room. 

Use the walls to your advantage and mount what you can to them. Shelves, bed side tables, lights, TV consoles and televisions can all be hung on the wall, freeing up your floor and opening your space up.

Just make sure that whatever you hang is supported properly!

13. Embrace multipurpose furniture

Downsize your furniture in a tiny space by opting for pieces that serve more than one purpose. For example, look at how the homeowners in the photo above cleverly transformed a console table behind the sofa into a computer station/work space! Brilliant.

Got a small bedroom? Look for a bed that offers additional storage below it, or an ottoman that you can sit on, and also store accessories in. 

Got an office that does double duty as a spare room? A sofa bed means that you have a comfy spot for working on your laptop, and a sleeping space for when friends stay over!

Need storage space in a little living area? Try a coffee table or side table with built-in shelving! It may not seem like a big deal, but having an extra shelf here and there can make a HUGE difference in a small space.

14. Use big art instead of small

It may seem counterintuitive, but in general, bigger is better when it comes to artwork in smaller rooms. Try and stick to one focal piece rather than lots of smaller pieces. This will stop your already small room from feeling too chaotic visually.

From neon signs to large poster prints, the world is your canvas (excuse the terrible pun). Heck, you can even pull a Bob Ross and paint your own!

And just to prove that I live by my own tips, 😂 see how I did that in this video:

Looking for quick and simple ways to decorate a large wall? Here are some fab ideas.

Give these tiny room hacks a try, and you’ll be able to turn any room from cramped to absolutely captivating in no time at all!

Don’t forget to share your own tiny room hacks in the comments – what are your tried-and-tested ways of making the smallest rooms of your home look larger?

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One Comment

  1. Also buy a multifunctional bed, a built-in bed with drawers will also make the whole room bigger.