When you have a small space, sometimes it seems impossible to work with. It looks endlessly messy and cramped. Plus, you can’t work out a style that complements your tastes and the space, right? Well it doesn’t have to be like that.

We’ve put together twelve of our favourite tricks for a small space to make it look infinitely bigger – and the solution isn’t an extension.

Embrace your beautifully cosy small space for what it is and use these tips to make it the best it can be!

Embrace That Small Space

Spacious Furniture Adds Room

When you have a small room or apartment you want to make the most of the space you have.

Because of this, people tend to squish things like sofas and coffee tables right against the wall so you have more visible floor space and a larger looking room, right?


Move that furniture out. If you have a space between the sofa and the wall it prevents everything from looking so cramped. Giving the impression that there really is room to spare for behind the furniture. It’s a little trick that works against what you (and everyone else) believes to make a room seem larger.

small space room with fireplace and blue rug and one long sofa with plant behind it

Add Depth With Images Of Outside

A trick to help add depth to a room is to add features which make it look like the room continues beyond the walls.

Refrain from using curtains on a window so that the outside is visible and the room doesn’t look quite enclosed.

If you’re not quite lucky enough to have a lovely, large window – cheat with photography. Use large prints of realistic landscape photography. Try images of forests and woods – with clip frames so it looks like a window to outside.

small space with a large window and long style sofa

Lighter Colours Emphasise Light And Space

Use lighter colours to really open up your small space. Using pastel colours and floaty, light curtains will help emphasise light. If a room is reflecting more light and looks bright and airy it will instantly look larger!

small space with neutral colours to help create the idea of space

Use Clever Furniture To Work With The Small Space

It’s not all tricks and optical illusions to help expand that small space – use practical things too. Using an ottoman’s chest or trunks in a small space can be so valuable at hiding away all that clutter. As well as acting as a coffee table or centrepiece.

If it’s not just a small room you’re trying to open up, but a small house or flat – try foldable furniture. Using a table that is foldable and on wheels creates the instant practicality. So you don’t have to choose between eating from your laps or a huge, cumbersome table.

Read some of our tips about how to reimagine and decorate your small spaces.

small space with an ottoman chest in dark brown wood in a living room with dark brown wooden floor and white sofas

Simply Declutter A Space

This may seem like a simple one, but it can quite often be forgotten – especially if the room is a box room.

Rather than dumping everything, use smarter storage so your room doesn’t look overly cramped and busy.

Taking a minimalist approach in a small room really opens up the room and makes it look so much bigger. When it comes to knick-knacks or vases, use larger and less items to create a classier and more sculpted look rather than an informal feel.

a small space living room with lots of storage space in a light coloured room that's very tidy

Tactically Use Shelves For The Illusion Of Space

People really underestimate the use of shelves in a small space. As well as being good to declutter the room, they can be helpful to making a room look taller.

Use a floor to ceiling bookcase to draw the eye upwards. This makes people really notice the height of the walls and makes the upwards space of the room instantly useful – making it seem so much more spacious.

If you’re not sure on such a potentially invasive bookshelf – try a singular long bookshelf high up on the wall. This works in a similar sort of way – drawing the eye upwards to the shelf as a feature and elongating the walls.

small spaces using shelves to make the room larger

Use Mirrors Cleverly To Extend A Space

A small space can really benefit from the use of mirrors. This works similarly to the open windows and photography – it helps to add depth. If you use a large mirror, it makes it look like the room is going on and on.

It’s not just mirrors, using other sort of reflective surfaces such as a glass table or shimmery sofas and rugs can help bring out the light in a room and make it brighter and larger looking.

a small space using a large mirror in a living room space with white sofas

Use Rugs To Section Off A Room

Use small rugs to help section off a small space. Using rugs to section off a room that isn’t square can help it seem bigger with the illusion that there is enough area space to be segmented up.

Use natural fibres like sisal and jute as they’re in a light colour and work well as smaller pieces to help section the room.

Traditional style rugs work well too – just make sure you opt for a flat-weave or this trick can make the room look cramped rather than spacious.

a small space that is separated by rugs

Use Stripes To Elongate A Room

This trick is used in fashion, with the fear of horizontal stripes to ‘widen you’ but use vertical stripes to make it seem like you have legs that go on for days.

This is the same concept – with stripes guiding the eye along and using visual illusion to elongate the room.

Use on the floor or on the walls – but make sure you go bold with this. It really has to be a main feature of the space to work rather than with accessories.

a small space with black and white striped walls to make it seem bigger

Use Statement Art To Open A Room

In small spaces, using something like art on the wall can really make a room seem much more spacious. The trick is to use on, large, oversized piece of art like a canvas to do the same trick of drawing the eye upwards.

Using a large feature on a wall makes the wall itself seem larger as it’s hosting that piece of art and makes the room instantly more expansive.

collage of a small space with large statement art pieces on the wall of a living room

Show Off Your Sofa’s Legs

When choosing a sofa for a small space, choose one that doesn’t have a skirt. Opt for one that has the sofa legs on show.

This helps with the spaciousness as it shows off the floor under the sofa, and blocks out less light for a bright and airy feel.

It’s also a good idea to opt for one, larger sofa piece than a few smaller ones together. This goes back to the minimalist idea – having more of something squished in together creates a cluttered cramped feeling.

Going for a beautifully minimalist piece with vintage legs would work beautifully in a small space to help create simple spaciousness.

small space with a bright floral rug and a pale grey sofa with legs exposed

Paint The Ceiling For An Expansive Feature

If you’re missing that unique spark from your minimalist and light coloured small space – paint the ceiling!

Use a bright colour to add a wonderfully unique but simple feature to your room. Again, this helps to lead the eye upwards to the feature and elongates and widens out a room.

collage of small space bedrooms and dining rooms with a painted pink and black ceiling to make it look larger

When it comes to small spaces, people often go into the idea of decorating it with pessimism with what they have to work with. But it shouldn’t be like that! Don’t let that box room get cluttered up with rubbish or your cosy flat look unloved because it’s small.

Small doesn’t have to mean no style and these simple tricks will help you on your way to transforming that bland and forgotten small space into an expansive breath of fresh air for your interior.

So, what do you think? Is it time to renovate and truly appreciate your small spaces?


Updated November 2021