Decorating small rooms is a challenge whether you’re an experienced interior designer or a first-timer. It’s easy to overfill an area in an effort to make it functional. Have you ever found yourself staring into the depths of your room unable to identify the design problem? Sometimes all you know is that something feels off.

Maybe you’re someone with a good eye for design, and you’ve purchased several unique items for your space. You love every piece of furniture. The vases, pillows, and rugs all have a story. The wallpaper was a splurge, but the pattern is bold and brightens your mood. And yet, you feel claustrophobic when you walk in the room.

If you want to revamp your space, but you aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry! We have some tips and tricks to help you identify what’s shrinking your room.

Secrets Of A Spacious Room

Focusing on simplicity and cleanliness in your design can make a small room feel more spacious. A few smart design choices like maximizing light, eliminating clutter, and employing optical illusions can take your room from cramped to comfortable.

Maximizing Light

Color and lighting choices can make a room feel airier and more open. One of the most impactful things you can do to update a room is to refresh the paint color. White or light neutral wall colors will reflect natural and artificial light better than dark or bold colors.

an impactful thing you can do is refresh the paint color

 Choose light colors for your furniture, rugs, and flooring for the same effect. Bathing a room in bold patterns and colors can make it feel smaller. If you crave colors and patterns, add accent pieces like pillows or vases to give the room dimension without overwhelming it.

If the only lighting in your cozy space is from an overhead fixture, the dark edges of the room can seem to creep toward the interior, shrinking the space. You could try adding a few small lamps to the room, but they’re better suited for evening ambiance than for fully illuminating a space.

Recessed lighting is an excellent option for small spaces because it effectively brightens more areas of a room than lamps. Adding recessed lighting may require help from a professional, but it’s a great option if your budget allows for it.

If you decide to change the lighting, pay attention to the color temperature of the new bulbs. Color temperature refers to how warm (yellow) or cool (blue) a light appears. Bedrooms are better served by warmer bulbs to preserve your natural sleep patterns, while offices can benefit from cooler temperatures to invigorate you while you work.

Bulbs that are overly warm or cool can alter the appearance of wall colors, wood tones, fabrics, and accent pieces. Test out different temperatures to find one that makes your décor appear the way you intend.

Not Sure Which Type of Lighting Is Best For Your Space?

Eliminate Clutter

You probably know that too many knickknacks can make a space feel cramped, but have you thought about how your furniture could also be adding visual clutter?

If you assess the overall area taken up by your furniture, you might discover that one modestly-sized couch occupies less space than multiple overstuffed chairs. Furniture with visible legs is also a smart choice. The more open-air you reveal in a room, the larger it will seem.

the more open air you reveal in a room the larger it will feel

Try changing your window dressings to let in more natural light. Heavy drapes block light and add heft to a room. Instead, preserve your privacy with sheer curtains or blinds that mount inside the window frame. If you feel daring, leave your windows undressed!

Rather than keeping a bulky ceiling fan with a light, install recessed lighting. Compared to overhead fixtures, recessed lighting is the most effective lighting solution for eliminating visual bulk. Nothing hangs down from the ceiling and, unlike lamps, you don’t need furniture to set it upon.

Gallery walls are trendy in contemporary décor, but they don’t always work well in a small room. Instead, try using one large statement piece; it’ll give the room some pizzazz without overwhelming an entire wall.

If you crave a dramatic focal point, consider doing wallpaper or bold paint color on just one wall. Keeping the rest of the room simple and clean will preserve the light and openness you’ve added to your space.

Create Optical Illusions

Interior designers often employ optical illusions to make a room feel more spacious. Do as they do by drawing attention up to the ceiling and down the length of the room. Installing shiplap is a great way to trick your eye. Mount it vertically to make the room appear taller, or horizontally to make it look longer.

If your room is rectangular, install laminate or hardwood floors that span the length of the room rather than the width. Lush rugs add bulk to an area, so limit yourself to just one.

A tall bookshelf can draw the eye upward and give the illusion of a higher ceiling. When styling the shelf, resist the urge to stuff it full. Be liberal about editing what you place on it, or you’ll reintroduce clutter. Empty spaces on the shelves are okay!

a tall bookshelf draws the eye upward giving the illusion of higher ceilings

If you have a favorite piece of art in the room, highlight it with an accent light. The accent will provide a focal point for the eye, drawing it across the length of the room. As a bonus, you’ll get an additional light source. Consult a professional to determine the proper wattage and color temperature to make your piece look its best.

You might be surprised at how low-profile furniture can change a room. The openness above the furniture will make the room seem taller, giving the illusion of more space. You could also consider placing a large mirror in the room. The reflection will intensify nearby lighting and make the room appear deeper.

Open Up Your Space

It’s not necessary for you to follow every recommendation on this list to make your small room feel more spacious. If you have decorative items that you adore, keep them!

Your room doesn’t have to be barren to feel open. Trying just one of our suggestions will be impactful. It’s all about balance and finding the right changes for your taste and your space.

not sure with type of lighting is best for your space? Download the lighting color and temperature infographic