Skip to main

How to make a small room feel big

How do you make your less-than-large living area feel comfortably spacious? Here’s 10 simple tricks from the experts.

How to make a small room feel big

20 September 2019

How do you make your less-than-large living area feel comfortably spacious?

Here's 10 simple tricks from the experts 

1.     Avoid bulky pieces

It's a no brainer that in a small room, furniture needs to breathe.

Look to slimline pieces to furnish the space.

"Thanks to Scandinavian design, slim, mid-century furniture design is on trend," says Ross Clayton, founder of Vast Furniture and Homewares. "Use those athletic lines to keep it airy." 

2.     Go for symmetry

Fact: A balanced room is technically more beautiful and is therefore more sympathetic to smaller spaces.

Try placing a lamp and a plant stand of similar heights on either side of the room, a lounge in between, cushions on either side of the lounge and a rug in the middle. 

3.     Choose white and light

Paint all the walls white and only use light timber. The space will feel instantly larger, says Ross.

Cherie Barber, founder of Renovating for Profit, says dark and warm colours advance, where as light and cool colours recede.

"That means a dark colour will tend to close in a small space, especially if it gets no natural light", Cherie says.

"It doesn’t mean you have to go for stark, clinical white. Any light neutral colour will help make a space look bigger." 

 1._Lefty Kasdaglis 
Picture: Lefty Kasdaglis

4.     Add pictures

Drawing the eye upwards will detract from the size of the room.

"Try hanging a picture or painting of an outdoor landscape – a panoramic beach or bush shot can trick the eye into thinking about faraway places," Ross says.  

5.     Invisible(-ish) furniture

Lightweight and durable, rattan furniture is easy to shift around the room – and thanks to baby boomer trend forecasters, it’s cool again.

Ross explains: “For very small rooms, nothing beats rattan furniture. Because it’s not upholstered, you can see right through it. In the furniture game we call it 80% air.”

2._Nathan Van Egmond 
Picture: Nathan Van Egmond  

6.     Add plants

Filling your tiny space with plants may seem counter-productive, but it can help blur the lines between the indoors and outdoors, Ross says. 

7.     Go monochrome

It’s not for the fainthearted but decorating with the same colour is a sure-fire way to add space and dimension to a small room. 

8.     Add mirrors

Another tried-and-tested method to make a room appear larger is to fool the eye with mirrors.

3._Milada Vigerova 
Picture: Milada Vigerova

9.     Try feature lighting

Again, focus on drawing the eye upward with feature lighting.

A pendant light, for example, can force people’s attention away from eye-level and give a real sense of the entire room. 

10.     Make use of vertical space

Low on storage? Go up."Use your wall space smartly,"says Jessica. "Floating storage and shelves will take your storage upwards."

Originally published on as ‘16 simple tricks to make a small living room feel big’.

You might also like

Common building defects16 November 2023 | Blog | 2minRead
12 ways to add value to your home21 June 2023 | Blog | 3minRead

Speak to a home loan specialist