Ways and Tricks to Make a Smaller Room Feel Bigger and More Open

Decorating small areas, whether in a house, studio apartment, or dorm, can sometimes be challenging. Here are some decorating hints and tips to help with those rooms and areas that are smaller than we'd like.

These tricks are all about optical illusions and attracting the eye to what you want it to focus on. The end result is a room that feels larger than it is and more spacious as well.

As a general rule, dark colors will make a space feel more cozy and intimate, while light shades make a room feel more airy and spacious. Choose white or light neutral shades for best results.

If you really fall in love with a darker paint color, use it as an accent color and just do one wall in it. Accent walls can look great and really make a statement when done as a focal point!

A high gloss oil based paint can provide a glass-like finish that can be almost as reflective as a mirror. You will want to make sure you're aware of the considerations before using an oil base paint though.

Vertical elements, such as moulding, will draw the eye upward and make the ceiling appear higher.

Horizontal elements below the waist will draw the eye downward and make walls seem farther apart.

If you have a chair rail and want to paint the wall in two different colors, place the darker color on bottom.

Picture rails and moldings typically lower the perceived wall height. If you wish to have them, picture rails should be painted the same color as the wall.

Baseboard and crown moldings should be kept thin.

To increase the vertical feeling of the room, paint the ceiling in a shade lighter than the walls (lighter colors recede). The white or off-white standard is effective.

Drapery rods for curtains should be mounted as close to the ceiling as possible.

Vertical striped curtains from ceiling to floor will make the walls seem taller. (Match one of the stripe colors to the wall paint if possible.)

Sheer curtains will allow more light to enter the room, and the more natural light in a room, the better.

Ceiling lighting casts the light downward and creates shadows which can make a room feel smaller. Wall sconces and accent lighting that reflects up can heighten a room.

A pedestal sink and wall-mounted fixtures can help to make a tiny bathroom feel less cramped.

Large patterns should be used in large spaces; use smaller, more open patterns in smaller areas.

Reduce visual clutter — too much stuff is too much. Clean and clutter-free is best. Think "minimalist".

Accessories should be small in scale (remember the clutter rule above).

You can go full size with your furniture, just use fewer pieces of it and go for "open" designs, versus bulky ones, for maximum effect.

Make sure your furniture placement and arrangement is open as well.

Use mirrors to help to reflect light and expand the room. Tall mirrors can help draw the eye upward and make a ceiling feel taller. Be sure to consider what the mirror is reflecting for best placement.

Open the room's view to include other rooms or the outdoors if possible. The further the eye can travel, the larger the space will seem. (Pair this with the mirror trick above and you will be amazed what can be accomplished!)

Decorating small rooms can sometimes be challenging. But challenging can be fun. Hopefully these ideas will help in your interior decorating task!

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