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Living Room. Photo: Mymove

If you have small-ish rooms in your home that you’ve been challenged with, I hope these tips for fooling the eye can help. And if you look at the photos in this post and think, “That is not a small room,” you’ve officially been visually tricked.

From simple touch ups to complete room redesigns, read on to find solutions that work for your space!

#1 Cut the clutter

Keep your room tidy and organized. There’s nothing that makes a small space feel cramped more than having too much stuff. With things neatly arranged and out of sight, the space that is in view will feel orderly and open. A cluttered room equals a smaller room. Don’t cover your walls with a lot of pictures. One large painting works better than a group of small paintings.

If there’s too much going on, all clamoring for attention, it can make the room feel busy and crowded. When decorating a small room, create a focal point — one area or feature that will draw the eye. In the dining room, this will probably be the table. Make that focal point the star of the room. Arrange the furniture so that focus is drawn to that area, and keep the décor in the rest of the room to a minimum (limit the number of accessories). Keep the floor as clear as possible. This is one of the most important ways to maintain a sense of spaciousness. Take out large rugs to create the illusion of more floor space.

#2 Use light colors and clever contrasts

It is a generally known fact that light colors make a room look bigger and brighter. Light and bright walls are more reflective, making a space feel open and airy, which helps maximize the effect created by natural light, according to My move.

Dark colors, on the other hand, tend to absorb light, making a room look smaller. For an optimum effect, select soft tones of off-white, blue and green, and always remember that brighter rooms look bigger and more inviting. Try painting your wall trim and moldings in a lighter color than your walls. By doing so, the walls will appear farther back, making your living room seem bigger.

#3 Utilize glass and lucite

By using materials that you can see through, anything beyond will appear farther away. For example, in a tiny bathroom, get rid of an opaque glass shower enclosure and substitute a clear, frameless one. The room is the same size but it will look bigger. Now you can see all the way to the wall at the back of the shower––it may only be three extra feet, but the difference it makes is dramatic. You can also use glass or lucite for tabletops. With a sturdy base of wood, stone, or metal, the space around the table will open up the view beyond.

#4 Hang Mirrors

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Hanging Mirror Makes Your Room Look Bigger. Photo: Remodelista

Every bedroom needs at least one full-length mirror so you can check out your outfit from head to toe, but the small bedroom can use more. Mirrors are one of the easiest ways to fool the eye into thinking a room is bigger than it is, and there are so many ways to work them into the bedroom:

  • Mirrored closet doors.

  • Ornate mirror over the dresser.

  • Starburst mirror over the bed.

  • Small, fancy-framed mirrors grouped on the wall.

  • Mirrored or chrome-finished lamps, furniture, and decor.

Choose two or three from the list, and watch your bedroom magically "expand" as the mirrors bounce light around the room.

#5 Choose furniture with legs

Give your furniture a lift with legs to create an airy, open feel in the bedroom. Not every piece needs to be legged, but try to have at least one piece with some height, whether it’s your nightstands, dresser or bed. The midcentury modern decorating style is especially good for small rooms, as most of the furniture is elevated on thin legs, as said from The Spruce. The more floor and wall that shows, the larger your room will appear. Notice the dresser in this bedroom – the legs aren’t especially tall​ but add just enough height to help enlarge the space.

Above all, keep it simple!

Small spaces are all about editing. The more pieces, possessions, and patterns you have in a room, the more cluttered it will feel. Avoid too many knickknacks or at least group them so they read as an installation. Ditto with art; concentrate your framed pieces on one or two walls. Avoid busy patterns and overwhelming colors. Or, if you absolutely must have that William Morris–esque wallpaper, consider placing it on one accent wall. Same with color, try painting just one wall or a door and stick to a single shade. Now is not the time to embrace the whole spectrum.

The bottom line is you need to be strict with yourself (actually, this concept applies to all spaces) and intentional about everything that goes into the room. If you go for the wallpaper accent wall, then keep the rest of the room simple. If you need that huge oil painting in your living room, try having it be the only art in the room.

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