How to Make a Smaller Space Look Bigger (Much Bigger)

How to Make a Smaller Space Look Bigger (Much Bigger)

If you’ve downsized to a condo or have a tinier room your home to work with, it can be charming yet challenging to “live large” so to speak.

As an interior designer, I’ve worked with many people who want to make a smaller area appear more spacious. Fortunately, there are some beautifully simple ways to create a feeling of openness, no matter what your living situation is.

Here are some unique decor ideas to help you solve your small space problems:

Horizontal stripes are your friend.

Horizontal stripes work by elongating spaces, making them feel wider. They’re also very versatile; go for bold and bright colours, soft pastels or modern black and white. It doesn’t matter if you choose skinny stripes or fat ones; the effect will be the same.

Some of the ways you can use horizontal stripes are on:

  • Walls
  • Bedding
  • Pillows
  • Window treatments
  • Rugs


Get to know the tonal decorating technique.

Tonal (or tone-on-tone) decorating takes one or a few colours and uses different saturations of that colour. The less contrast in the space will create a softer, quieter room. The more you contrast the colour, the bolder your room will look.

For example, you could paint a wall in your bedroom a dark purple, then paint another wall two or three shades lighter. Then, you could use variations of the colour in your bedding, draperies and artwork (violet, lavender, eggplant etc.)

It’s also fun to play around with textures and finishes: matte paint and glossy wallpaper, or fuzzy pillows and smooth, silky sheets.

Try out transom windows.

You know those little windows over windows and doorways that you don’t know the name for? They’re called transom windows, and they’re ideal when you’re working with a small space. They’re usually a half-moon shape over the window or door, and for such a little window, they let in a surprising amount of light that makes everything look bigger and brighter.

Natural light is one of the most beautiful ways to make a room feel larger and taller, and transom windows also give you a glimpse of the sky.


Opt for floor-to-ceiling drapes.

By hanging draperies close to the ceiling and letting them sweep the floor, you draw the eye upward and create the illusion of a more spacious area.

If you want curtains to block out light in your bedroom in the morning, you might want to add black out lining or a roller shade. However, if you’re changing things up for summer in your living room or want the natural light in the kitchen to shine through, sheers or lighter cotton or linen fabrics would be your best option.

Here’s an idea: choose floor-to-ceiling drapes with horizontal stripes! The stripes don’t have to be bold, just evident.

That’s the beauty of interior decorating…. the options are endless. You can mix and match as much or as little as you want.

And, I have many more tips I can share with you. Why don’t we start with a colour consultation so you can see how tonal techniques could transform a smaller space in your family home? Or, contact me to talk about a bathroom or kitchen remodel project. Whatever your needs, I’d love to help you refresh and renovate so you get the most out of your home.

I have had the opportunity to work with Barbara on 4 different projects over the past few years. She has been amazing, she has taken old spaces and made them modern, fresh and inviting.

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