Home & Gardens Interiors

How To Make Small Room Feel Larger

By Casey McPhail, co-director and furniture designer at McPhails Furniture

Struggling to make do with a small space? Short of tearing it down and starting again, there are many interior design tricks you can use to help lighten and open up the offending room. Plus, small spaces aren’t all bad. Not only are they easier to keep clean, they can also feel a lot more cosy than larger, more imposing spaces. If you’re constantly tripping over your belongings and feeling claustrophobic, though, it’s a sign you may need to rejig the layout and swap some of your older pieces for slimmer, more hardworking options. Here are five hacks to try.

Keep it simple

If you’re working with a small space, you need to be intentional with your furniture choices. Stay away from heavy, bulky pieces that eat up too much room and opt for sleeker, minimalist designs instead. For example, if you have a small bedroom and a king-sized bed, consider whether you really need bedside tables. Could you hang pendant lights instead and use a smaller table for your book or glass of water?

Let the light in

Keep furniture away from windows as much as possible to allow as much natural light in as you can. If you have heavy blinds, consider sheer curtains or plantation shutters instead. Mirrors make a great addition to smaller rooms and can help reflect more light, which helps open up the space. They also reflect the view of the room, which creates an illusion that the room is bigger than it really is. Lighter, neutral shades will also help a small room feel larger, as will clear glass pieces like coffee tables.

Get low

Furniture with a low profile will help make a room feel more spacious. In the bedroom, opt for a mattress and a low base, and in the lounge room, go for couches that sit lower to the ground and maximise the space above them. Pieces with tapered legs and thin frames will also help keep the room feeling airy and not too overcrowded. It’s also a good idea to place furniture just off the wall and away from each other – they should never be touching.

Double duty

Save space with multifunctional pieces, such as beds, bookcases and cupboards fitted with drawers. Some beds even come with a mattress that lifts up completely, giving you access to discreet storage and eliminating the need for an imposing dresser. If you do need more storage pieces, go for vertical options or open-air wall shelving as they have a smaller footprint.

Go large

Although you’ll want to downsize and declutter so that a small room doesn’t feel overcrowded, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to small-scale pieces. Once you’ve cleared some space, invest in one or two statement pieces that will help anchor the room, like a feature artwork, pendant light or a mirror. This will help create a sense of grandeur and keep your eyes focused on the larger pieces, not the size of the room.

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