Small living room? Simple decorating techniques that fool the eye will make your space look larger.

If you feel a little cramped in your living room, you can use some easy design techniques to open up the space.  It is all in the perception of the eye.  Just change lighting or color, clean things up, arrange furniture to optimize space or use the old mirror trick to make your living room look larger.


Natural light expands the room barriers.  Uncover those windows and instead of keeping the outside out with heavy drapes or blinds, let it in with light weight curtains or no window covering at all.  Use curtains that are made of sheer fabric or pull curtains back to the sides of the windows to let in more light.


Deep colors tend to make a small room look even smaller, so opt for light, crisp color.  This doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to whites or off white.  Try a light sage green, buttery yellow, pale blue or a light gray.  Some may even enjoy a lovely lavender or pretty pink. Avoid wall paper unless it is one color and no busy figures on it. Sometimes painting the ceiling a bright color and the walls a pastel will enlarge a room. Try a bright blue with pale blue walls and carpet. This will draw the eye up and out. Dark colors on the ceiling make the room look squashed and short, but a white ceiling is always good. Chose a monochromatic theme by painting the ceiling and walls the same color and covering the floor with a similar color. Some of the furniture can even be the same color as the walls.  This fools the eye into seeing more space.


Filling a room with nick-nacks is good for a Victorian look, but in a small room it is much better to get rid of all that clutter and go for a minimalist design.  Not having so much to see tricks the eye into thinking the area has more square footage.  You may want to keep only a few pieces of furniture in the room so that it does not look as crowded. Many people like to put multiple pictures and artwork on the wall.  In a small room it is best to use just one painting and that is it.  This fools the eye into thinking the room is bigger than it really is.


Avoid overstuffed furniture and opt for a more sleek design. Also get rid of any essential items. The more floor you can see, the more square footage the eye records. You do not have to line up all the furniture against the walls. Instead you can put a sofa at an angle or in the middle of the room with a skinny table behind it.  Leave space around all of the furniture so you can see the flooring and avoid putting things on the floor like throw rugs, baskets and floor lamps with large bases. Another way to keep the room looking large is to use a clear acrylic coffee table that lets you see the flooring beneath.

Using Mirrors

It is a proven fact that mirrors make a room look larger.  Mirrors reflect light and make the room seem brighter, even at night.  Put a mirror on a wall opposite a window to let nature in on both sides of the room. The area will look limitless. Any mirrored wall or door can make a small room open up and seem much larger to the human eye.

Using these tricks to make your living room look larger will astound you.  That cramped, claustrophobic space will widen and miraculously create more depth.  The room will seem much more comfortable and airy.


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This post is adapted from the May 10, 2014 episode of Home Wizards that was released on iTunes May 14, 2014. You can find this segment during hour one of the podcast.