Small, boxy rooms can sometimes make you feel as if the walls are closing in. But the way you decorate a small room can make a big difference. A light touch generally works best for creating a more open feeling—lighter colors, fewer big objects, simpler patterns and window treatments. If a tiny space has you pining for the wide-open prairie, keep the following guidelines in mind when decorating to make a small room look larger.
1. Paint the walls a white, neutral, or pale shade.
Use the same color on the ceiling. Avoid dark colors, which absorb light and make the room feel smaller.
2. Think continuity.
Choose either a monochromatic color scheme or closely related hues. Linking together the room’s largest areas—walls, floors, dominant furnishings—with variations of the same color will let your eye travel around the room with less interuption, creating an atmosphere of calm and serenity rather than one of claustrophobia. Combine different textures and work in brighter-colored accessories to add interest.
3. Avoid wallpaper with big, loud, or busy designs.
This goes for slipcovers and bedcoverings, too. Bold designs will overpower a small space.
4. Think about scale.
Choose smaller furniture that reflects the scale of the room. Don’t overwhelm a small area with a huge sofa that blocks traffic or takes up most of the available space. You’re better off with a greater number of smaller items because you’ll have more flexibility to create interesting arrangements. Include a sofa or chair with legs—they look less bulky than pieces that sit directly on the floor.
5. Keep clutter to a minimum.
Instead of displaying photos and knickknacks on tables, mount them on walls or arrange them on narrow shelves.
6. Give your windows some breathing room.
Use airy curtains, sheers, simple shades, or blinds. Or if possible, leave the windows bare. Stay away from elaborate window treatments and heavy drapes. Grommet drapes that can be pushed completely off the window will let in more light than traditional pocket drapery, making a small room appear bigger.