How to Make a Small Room Look Larger

So, how do you get people interested in buying your smaller home? There are lots of ways you can make your home appear larger. Consider these experts’ tips for adding visual space.

Expand the Walls

  • Paint walls in light pastels or neutral tones. (Neutrals like taupe, beige, gray, white and off-white will make it easier for a home buyers to coordinate their furnishings with your home.) The lighter the color, the larger the room will seem.
  • Paint woodwork and trim the same shade as the walls but with a higher-gloss finish. Contrasting woodwork draws attention to itself, making a room look smaller.
  • You could also hire a color consultant to learn more about creating space with color. Ask a local specialty paint store or home-decorating shop for a referral, or look for a consultant online at the International Association of Color Consultants.
  • When using wallpaper, choose patterns with lots of open space or small, subtle patterns in light shades without contrasting colors. Then cover furnishings in solid-color fabrics.
  • If possible, build recessed shelves or alcoves into walls. Built-ins deepen the space, while freestanding shelves and display tables use it up.
  • Maximize light. Use high-watt bulbs in lamps and light fixtures and make sure they’re turned on during home showings. Keep curtains, shades or blinds open to let as much natural light in as possible.
  • Paint the ceiling a bright white so it reflects light and seems higher.

Minimize Furnishings

  • De-clutter! The more furniture and objects you have in a room, the smaller it will seem. Pare furniture back to a comfortable minimum. (Place your extra pieces in storage if you can’t bear to part with them).
  • Use small furniture, steering clear of large, overstuffed or high-backed pieces. For example, choose a loveseat rather than a 3-seater couch, a drop-leaf table rather than a full-sized one and a small secretary instead of a large desk. Remember, a room can look larger with just two or three large pieces of furniture in it than with seven or eight small pieces.
  • Place only a few knick-knacks for accents on tables or shelves. Cluster coordinating objects in two or three places rather than spreading them evenly about the room.
  • Upholster (or slip-cover) chairs and couches in small prints or solids, light-colored fabrics that coordinate (but not contrast) with wall colors.
  • Keep area rugs to a minimum—they visually break up floor space. Bare floors or light-colored wall-to-wall carpeting make rooms look larger.
  • Keep window treatments simple, avoiding heavy draperies with busy patterns or colors that contrast strongly with the wall color. Consider using a cornice board or valence with blinds, shutters or sheers instead.

Room Arrangements

  • Place large furniture strategically so that floor space is open near the room’s entrance. For example, place beds and couches on the wall opposite the entry door.
  • Place most of the furniture against walls so it doesn’t protrude into the room’s central space.
  • Create uncluttered walkways. You should be able to pass from one room to another in a straight line. Also, you should be able to move from the door to the main element in the room (couch, desk, bed) without having to walk around something else. Ditch the coffee table!
  • Leave some floor space or wall space unused.
  • Use large mirrors to reflect light and deepen the visual space.
  • Keep doors between rooms open.

We would be happy to look at your small home and suggest practical ways for making it appear more spacious.