How do you make a small room feel spacious? It’s a problem most people face at some point in their lives. From bedrooms that are barely big enough to fit a bed to living rooms that have to accommodate a dining table, a bookshelf and a TV, fitting everything you need into a small space definitely isn’t an easy task.
Sure, there are some obvious things to try – bringing in natural light and choosing neutral tones – but it’s how you make all these elements work together that is the key to success.
That said, there are plenty of easy solutions which will help make your small space look more inviting, increasingly multi-functional, and utterly chic, all at the same time.
With the help of interior stylists - Mumbai-based Sayani Bose and Mallika Jain from Kolkata, we show you that a small space doesn’t mean you have to be cramped. Try these 20 easy room-expanding tricks to bring a spacious feel to a room of petite proportions.
1. Buy furniture that will fill an entire room, like a large bed that takes up an entire bedroom, and then build custom shelves around it. Half of the battle of making a small space work is thinking outside of the box.
2. When adding drapes to a room, make sure they’re the same colour as your walls. Sticking to the same colour will make your space look bigger. Another trick is to go with sheer drapes. Hanging curtains high and letting them fall all the way to the floor gives the illusion of height.
3. Internal doors and cupboard doors can eat into valuable space and, sometimes, removing a door altogether is a great solution. If that’s not an option, “sliding doors work really well too,” says Jain. Every centimetre counts.
4. Consider adding floor-to-ceiling (or wall-to-wall) bookcases. This trick will expand how high your ceilings look, plus it’s a great way to add storage.
5. Buy multifunctional furniture, such as ottomans, which can be used as both a coffee table and extra seating, all at once.
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6. De-clutter relentlessly if you live in a small space. If you haven’t used something in a year - or wouldn’t buy it now - get rid of it. Seriously.
7. Think in a colour palette that’s light and neutral, which will expand your space visually. “It’s well documented that pale shades make a room seem bigger and brighter. Light-coloured walls are reflective and this will maximise the effects of natural light in the area. As long as the floor and walls are in the same tonal family, the area will feel harmonious and balanced,” says Bose.
8. Mirrors are the obvious choice to take what sunlight you have and bounce it around the room. “A wall covered in mirrors is a classic solution,” says Bose, “but two or three over-sized mirrors resting on the floor will work just as well and are a less permanent option.”
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9. Make your ceiling pop by painting it in a bright colour, which will drive the eye upward, and create the illusion of high ceilings.
10. Go for fabrics and rugs in small prints or plain colours. Unified colours will visually expand a small room.
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11. Furniture that can be folded, stacked, or wheeled away is your friend. Simply push it out of the way when it’s not in use.
12. Don’t automatically place your furniture against walls. Sometimes placing a piece at an angle or surrounded by open space, will make a room look bigger.
13. Installing either a built-in desk that takes up the entire length of a room or expansive countertops in your kitchen, will create the illusion of a long room.
14. Buy some of your furniture in the same colour as your walls, that way it simply blends in and will widen your space.
15. As someone once said, one man’s knickknack is another man’s clutter. Or they should have. If your home is already lacking in space, showcasing your collection of inherited figurines isn’t going to help. Decide on a handful of items you really love and pack the rest away. “Placement is important,” says Jain. “The key is to create a balance between a visual feast of your favourite things and a calm area.”
16. Colour coordinate your knickknacks and books, which will make your space look streamlined.
17. Opt for a dining table that can be made smaller or larger with removable or drop leaves to make the most of the space that you do have.
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18. Don’t fill up every exposed shelf in a room. Leaving some empty space will give your small space an airy look.
19. Leave your windows uncovered, to create a sense of depth in a small space.
20. Take advantage of natural light as much as you can, which will open up your space.