How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger

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With some clever decorating hacks, even the tiniest studio apartment can transform into a seemingly spacious home. While many people choose minimalism in smaller spaces, you can still go all-out. Just because a room is small, that doesn’t mean its furniture and decor has to be vanilla. These tips from Pottery Barn can help you determine how to make a small room look bigger and get the most from your small space.

Creative Stripes

Stripes are a great way to add a crisp, modern look to the room. Vertical stripes on drapes create the illusion of height, making the ceilings look higher. Go for a tone-on-tone color scheme for a classic look. A contrasted color scheme, such as black and white, can give a more powerful look. It’s also an opportunity to introduce an accent color you love, paired with a neutral for the alternating stripe color.

When it comes to floor coverings, horizontal stripes can also help create the impression that a room is longer or wider than it is. Arrange the rug so the stripes run parallel to the shorter wall that you want to lengthen. Consider the scale, too. Very thin stripes won’t deliver a lengthening effect. Try a rug with stripes that are at least several inches wide.

Simple Window Treatments

You might feel tempted to use elaborate window treatments in a small room. These have the potential to distract the eye and give a heavy or darker feel to the room. Use simple window treatments to keep the room light and spacious. Are you still wondering how to make a room look bigger? Consider leaving the areas around the windows bare. Use simple pull-down fabric shades or matchstick roller blinds for privacy.

Clear Furniture

Clear or see-through furniture is excellent for making spaces look larger. It lets plenty of light through and looks airy, no matter the style. Choosing clear acrylic dining chairs is a helpful option in a dining room, where a grouping of solid chair and table legs can look heavier. You can achieve a similar illusion by using furniture pieces that are in the same color family as your walls.


Strategically placed mirrors are a classic way to elongate a space. Try placing a mirror opposite your living room window to reflect natural light and expand the room with brightness. If your kitchen is on the smaller side, consider placing a mirror behind your stove. This creative idea lends brightness to an area that tends to be darker. Having a mirror beside or behind the dining table is another classic way to brighten the room. This also gives you the option to use softer light, as you’ll be able to use reflection to your advantage. Over the holidays, when your table is looking especially festive, a mirror in your dining room will double the sparkle. If you’re wondering how to make a small bathroom look bigger, choose a larger mirror above a pedestal sink.


If you have a large bookcase and lots of books, consider organizing them on the shelf by color. This gives a streamlined look to a large bookcase. It also provides a more spacious feel to the room. You can also choose several shorter bookshelves instead of taller designs. This keeps the top half of the space open and airy.

Opening Up a Smallish Bedroom

If you’re working with a small bedroom, get creative. Choose the pieces that are most important to you. Focus on working those into the room. Don’t underestimate the difference a clear and tidy nightstand can make at your bedside. While it may be tempting to have a pile of books on the table for your evening reading ritual, keeping this table clear can give the illusion of more space in the room. The space under your bed can be perfect for storing out-of-season clothes, luggage or other items that you may not use regularly.