Effective Hacks to Make a Small Room Look Bigger

Many people imagine their dream home will have plenty of living space while others prefer a smaller, more minimalistic approach. Unfortunately, not everyone has the means or opportunity to obtain the place they envision and may need to settle for something smaller than they’d like.

Whether you’ve chosen a simplistic lifestyle by choice or by necessity, small rooms don’t have to be destined to feel claustrophobic or unorganized. There are a number of ways to trick the eye into believing an area is larger than it actually is. By using a combination of decorating and renovation techniques, you can easily make your small room look more spacious.

Check out these effective hacks to help you make your space look and feel bigger:

Remove the Clutter

While it’s nice to personalize your home with furniture and accessories, the secret to making a small room look bigger is to remove any unnecessary items. It’s time to clean house by removing excess furniture pieces, decorative accessories, artificial plants, newspapers, magazines, clothing, shoes, and non-essential items laying around on the floor or the table.

It’s important to scrutinize every room and decide which items to remove, such as:


  • Clean up countertops by hanging canisters on a shelf or rack in front of the backsplash. Keep mail in an organizer, recycle newspapers, keep clothing put away, and store away any shoes or boots that you’re not using every day.
  • Remove any unnecessary furniture to make your small room appear more open and airy.

Custom-Shaped and Made-to-Order Windows

The experts at Ecoline Windows identify a few key elements to creating the illusion of more space:

  • Bring more natural light into your home with extra windows, sidelites, transoms, custom-shaped, bay or bow, skylights, sky tunnels, or other made-to-order windows.
  • Improve the window-to-wall ratio by adding more windows. This, in essence, brings the expansive outdoors in. Keep windows high and walls low.

Artificial Lighting

Although we’ve all become accustomed to trendy overhead, recessed task lighting, the reality is this kind of harsh lighting can make your room look even smaller. All the light pools in one space and draws the eye to one little area. Use several smaller, wall-mounted lamps to spread light throughout the entire space and free up floor and table space to make the room look less cluttered.

Bare Windows or Hang Curtains High

Remove window treatments completely to allow the maximum amount of natural light into your home.

If you prefer some type of window covering, use light-coloured sheers or hang curtains higher than the window casing (close to the ceiling) to elongate the window so the room looks more spacious. Vertical stripes will also draw the eye up and make the wall space look larger.

Use Curtains to Frame the Bed

An interesting way to trick the eye into looking taller than it is involves using wall curtains to frame a bed. Hang the curtains on either side of the bed from the ceiling to the side walls. No window is required as this provides a unified effect that gives the room structure and depth.

Hang Crate Book Holders

This hack works great as one of the reading nook ideas for kids. Maximize the use of empty walls and make your room look bigger by mounting lightweight, wooden crates to walls. Paint them in bright, glossy colours and let your kids load them up with all their favourite books. This eliminates clutter and empowers kids to both read and clean-up.

Hang Floor-Length Mirrors High

A similar concept to oversized window curtains, by installing two floor-length mirrors on either side of a bed (high on the wall) light will be reflected and create an exaggerated sense of space. Dot mirrors throughout your home to provide reflective illumination that creates depth of field and virtually enhancing the space.

Corner Wall Shelf with L Shape

Use a corner wall (hug it close to the ceiling) to build in tiered “L-shaped” shelving. This is a clever way to make guests look up while freeing up valuable floor and countertop space. The shelves should be painted white for an elegant look or bright colours for a fun-filled way to make the room look bigger.

Laundry Organizer

Most laundry rooms are small, so making them look and feel larger is essential to their efficiency. Install a shelf above the sink to keep detergent and other laundry essentials within easy reach. Keep laundry baskets off the floor by building in an open, floor-to-ceiling basket holder. Space painted wooden shelves just enough to fit four or five baskets. This will draw the eye up and give you more room to do this necessary chore.

Keep the Floor Visible

A key rule of thumb to follow for small spaces is “the more floor space you can see, the bigger the room appears.” Try these ideas to free up floor space:

  • Choose furniture with legs vs. furniture that sits directly on the floor or has a skirt along the bottom. This allows you to see the floor underneath and the furniture appears less bulky.
  • Look for clear, glass-top tables or clear acrylic furniture to make the room feel more open.
  • Pull furniture away from walls for a roomier atmosphere. Keep it out of walkways and choose short items like a low table, ottoman, or armless chair to make the room feel larger.
  • Hang your flat-panel television on the wall for more floor space and clear sightlines.
  • Replace a traditional bookcase with wall-mounted shelves. This will open up more floor space and provide more storage space.
  • Installing a modern wall-mounted, floating desk instead of a bulky, old-fashioned one is a great home office idea to improve your productivity and free up more floor space.

Murphy or Retractable Bed

This space-saving concept is the ultimate idea for making a small room look bigger. Fold-down or pull-down beds allow you to use your bedroom as a living room during the day and back to a bedroom at night.

Expandable/Multi-Functional Furniture

You can easily make your dining room feel larger by using a table with removable leaves or drop-leaf sides. Keep it at the smallest size for everyday use and expand it when entertaining.

If you’re a great multi-tasker, you’re going to love the concept of multi-functional furniture. Why have two or three extra pieces of furniture when one will do the job?


  • An ottoman that doubles as a table or extra seat.
  • Three-piece stacking tables that convert to a 3-tier shelf unit.
  • A futon—a sofa by day and fold-down bed at night.
  • A wall bed and fold-down desk combo—the bed tilts down at night and flips over as a desk during the day.

Paint Tricks

You can use paint to create a light, airy space with the following ideas:


  • Divide the wall into two different colours horizontally—use the lighter colour on top.
  • Paint the ceiling white or a light colour to draw the eye up and make the room appear bigger.
  • Choose light, reflective shades for walls and flooring. Use soft blues and greens for optimum effect. Painting the trim, the same colour as the walls will draw the eye up.


The size of a room is in the eye of the beholder and you have a lot of control over what that eye sees. Try some of these innovative hacks to make your small room look bigger, and you’ll be surprised just how much space you really have.



Serge Bojinski – Editor and writer at RenoHood community. Curious DIYer and home improvement enthusiast. Active and healthy lifestyle advocate. Dreamer and doer. Connect with him on Twitter.

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