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Easy Interior Design Secrets to Make a Small Space Look Big

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

Small rooms have a certain charm to them, and they come with several benefits; they are inexpensive to decorate, easy to clean, and feel ultra cosy. But a lot of us — especially us city dwellers — are forced to live in a small space. And after a while, it can start to feel super congested and claustrophobic.

Fret not! We have a list of easy and effective interior design secrets that will make your small room look and feel big.

Go On A Decluttering Drill

If you have the tendency to hoard, we have some bad news for you — the first step is getting rid of clutter. Nothing makes a space more claustrophobic than unnecessary items scattered about!

Take a couple of rounds of your room with a wastebasket in hand. Pick out unwanted clutter and categorise it into three groups:

  1. Items you don’t need anymore but are still in a good condition — find them a new home by donating them

  2. Unneeded items that are in a bad condition — send them to the waste and recycling bins

  3. Items that you still need but can be tucked away — place them in concealed storage cabinets

Once you’ve removed all the clutter, you’ll instantly notice a visual increase in space.

Hang Curtains Higher Than Usual — Or Not At All

A very smart secret to making a small room look big is by installing curtains multiple inches higher than the top edge of the window. Floor-to-ceiling curtains make the ceiling look higher than it actually is, making the room feel more spacious.

But even better than that is not hanging curtains at all! Curtains block the view from outside and just feel like “extra stuff” in the room. If you value your privacy, consider lightweight mesh or shutters. The same applies to rugs — ditch them when you can to keep the overall look minimalist.

Use Neutral Tones

Credit: Our very own Interior Design Guru, Dimitar

Using neutral colours, especially for the walls and furniture, creates an illusion of more space. This is because light tones, such as monochromatic greys and bright whites, reflect light and make the walls appear as if they’re receding. This visually opens up the space and makes it look bigger than it actually is.

On the other hand, dark colours do quite the opposite. Instead of bouncing off light, they absorb it, making the room appear small. If you’re fond of colour, try incorporating pops of colour through decor items and soft furnishings rather than overwhelming your small space with deep- or bold-coloured walls or large furniture pieces.

Focus On The Furniture

Credit: Our very own Interior Design Guru, Peter

This is one of the best secrets to making a small room look big. Choosing the right pieces of furniture and placing them in the appropriate spot is often overlooked.

Whilst purchasing furniture, choose chairs and sofas that have legs instead of skirted bases. Pick out a table with a low height and use low-heighted furniture pieces, such as ottomans, wherever you can. Such furniture choices allow more area of the floor to be visible and low heights mean less aerial view blocked, creating a roomy impression. Oh, and multipurpose pieces FTW, as they actually help free up space and make rooms more spacious — more on that in a minute.

While placing the furniture, keep it away from the absolute fringe of the room, as this can make the inner space feel cavernous. Instead, place it at a slight distance from the walls, but make sure it isn't blocking walkways. This makes spaces feel bigger because it creates a sense of balance and openness. The rule doesn’t apply to large, tall pieces (such as bookshelves) though; these are better placed along a wall, as they block the view, thus creating an illusion of lesser space when placed in the open.

… And Utilise Multifunctional Furniture

Credit: Our very own Interior Design Guru, Bronwyn

Multifunctional furniture pieces serve more than one purpose and add to the aesthetic of the space. Plus, they provide hidden storage compartments, so all your items are out of sight but close to reach!

For example, you can introduce light-wooden storage cabinetry and top it with a vase of flowers and other ornaments instead of placing these decorative objects on a mounted shelf. It will seem as if you’re decorating the space with the items, while your undercover purpose also includes tucking away items beneath. Shhh... they’ll never know.

Storage ottomans, sofa beds, shelf lamps (yup, they’re a thing!), and sliding mirrors with sneaky compartments — there are a variety of multipurpose furniture pieces to choose from.

Minimise The (Visual) Attention-Seekers

Using monochromes or colours that blend in well don’t seek much attention, preventing the space from feeling cluttered. Similarly, transparent pieces allow you to see through them and make anything beyond appear farther away.

To serve the purpose, you can use lucite or glass for tabletops and clear acrylic chairs. Such items are functional (and obviously take up physical space), but they don’t seek attention visually. This enhances spaciousness by a great degree.

Leverage The Magic Of Mirrors

Credit: Our very own Interior Design Guru, Dimitar

When it comes to being space-savvy, there’s a reason why mirrors are the go-to solution. They bounce off plenty of light, creating instant depth and a more airy ambiance. Additionally, they reflect the view in front of them — another factor that tricks the eye into perceiving more square footage.

Attach a large, framed mirror — or perhaps three diamond-shaped ones for an extra classy look — along a windowless wall of your room. The best-case scenario would be mounting it onto a wall that receives plenty of bright, natural light, but using it on low-light walls will do the trick as well.

If your walls are occupied, you can use mirrored cabinets and drawers for double the space-optimising effect!

With the interior design secrets discussed above, you can expect to create a more roomy impression without actually extending your space. Be sure to try these in your tiny room and watch it feel bigger and brighter as you tick off each step!

If you’re struggling with how to optimise your space, we have plenty of spatial planning experts at HiiGuru. Just book one of our Interior Design Gurus here! They can look at your space over video chat and give you tips, ideas and guidance on how to achieve your dream interior.
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