Small Room Basics: Dos and Don’ts of Making a Space Look Bigger

Furnishing a small room can be overwhelming, with the limited options you have on furniture colors, sizes, and types. You may think that light colors and all sorts of space-saving furniture are enough to do the trick, but your little space can handle much more than those. With the right space planning, color palette, and lighting, you’d be surprised at how even big furniture and decor can look magnificent in your small room.

DO: Use a monochromatic color scheme

Painting a small room can be tricky. Sticking to white or muted neutrals may make it look bland. To make the most out of the space, choose light and cool colors such as soft tones of blue and green. If you want something more flexible, opt for pewter gray instead of white. As for other neutrals, choose warm ones instead of the muted tones. Use the white on your trims or accents, and your room will be brighter. The key is to use colors in the same family, even on the upholstery fabrics, drapery, and textured wall finishes.

DON’T: Paint it red

Red is bright and lively, but in a small room, it can look gaudy and overwhelming. If you love the color, use it on accent decor pieces, instead, but try to stick to toned-down versions such as rust or russet.

DO: Use furniture with hidden storage

Selecting furniture for a small room is crucial. To maximize the space, choose the ones with exposed legs, low heights, and, most importantly, hidden compartments. Ottomans, open shelves, console tables, and side tables, are all essentials that can store your belongings and knickknacks and display your collections at the same time. Couches with pullouts are also smart choices. While they may not provide additional storage, they can at least help you accommodate guests.

DON’T: Omit large decor

As mentioned, big decor can also look magnificent in a small space. Put in a few big decors instead of several small ones. Coffee tables, dresser tops, dining tables, and nightstands are fine to be large, as long as you don’t overfill the room with those. You don’t have to put accent pieces on every tabletop and surface—let the room “breathe.” Openness and airiness are what a small room needs to look larger. To emphasize those, mount a large-framed mirror to the wall to reflect more space and light.

shutters attached to the window

DO: Let in natural light

Window treatments are also crucial in small rooms. Either use simple window shutters or floor-to-ceiling drapes from Fair Haven, New Jersey or other metropolitan areas. Remember to choose colors in the same family as your wall paint to create an illusion of a larger space. Always draw the curtains or raise the shutters during the day to let the sunlight in.

DON’T: Leave out empty corners

As much as we need to promote space, leaving some corners empty will look awkward. Utilize this space by putting something functional in it, like an additional seat or storage unit. If this corner is right by a window, then a seat would definitely be more appropriate. Consider making it your reading nook.

DO: Use vertical bathroom cabinetry

In a cramped bathroom, verticals will do the trick of making it look bigger. Select tall freestanding units to have all the storage space you need. If your bathroom has a countertop, consider placing the vertical cabinets on top of it.

With these tips and tricks, your small room will look more spacious than you would have imagined. Don’t hesitate to follow your heart, too, while you furnish it. Sticking to the rules may limit your creativity. So if you strongly feel like a certain “unconventional” element will work, go for it!

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