What Makes a Small Room Look Bigger: Five Decorating Myths Debunked


Is it small Do rooms (white walls, sparse furniture) decorated like a monk’s cell look really bigger than if they were more luxuriously decorated? No, design experts say. “Fabric, Texture-Often with all of this, [a small room] I feel claustrophobic, “said Nicole Salvesen of London’s interior designer Salvesen Graham. “Actually it has the opposite effect. You are making [the room] Feel more thoughtful and give grandeur, small or small. Here, the designer reveals this size and four other truths about designing a small room to disguise that size.

In the living room in Athens, Georgia, everything about small rooms goes against the white paint. Interior designer Monica Stewart generously gave Benjamin Moore’s midsummer night to the walls and ceiling.


Christine Curch

Myth: White (or at least light) paint is a must

truth: The rich colors of the walls and ceiling are deceptive. According to Sindhu Peruri, interior designer in Los Altos, California, using dark paint to melt a defined sense of geometry makes powder rooms and closet-sized bedrooms look bigger and feels closed. It is not. Replaying architectural details is also helpful. Hadley Wiggins, a designer at Peconic, NY, said he was playing with the perception of room size by painting window sashes and trimming the same color as the walls. Of contrast. “

Tori Rubinson, an interior designer in Fort Worth, Texas, ignored the traditional notion of room-to-art scale at the entrance to a house.


David Tsay / OTTO

Myth: Art must not dwarf the room

truth: Forge a view with oversized art. Brandon Schubert, an interior designer in London, says maximizing petite space can even break the law of proportion. “Treat art like a window,” he advised. And look for a picture with a vanishing point while you are in it. “Many contemporary art feels very flat, but more traditional art has a perspective,” he said. He often hangs landscapes, adding visual depth to even the smallest toilets in London. According to Salvesen, this effect can be achieved with either a single substantive work or a gallery installation. As long as the result is “generous in look and feel,” she said so will space.

In a small corner of Seattle’s bedroom, local designer Heidi Kaillier drew a curve. Curves add a sense of movement and are easier to walk than sharp corners.


Harris Kenger

Myth: Choose right triangle furniture to avoid wasting space

truth: Curved furniture adds movement and dignity. Trim floor plans often lead to the tendency to push square elements in a tight way like Jenga to “save” square feet. However, Rio de Janeiro-based interior designer Juliana Basconcellos has suggested that homeowners choose furniture that makes a swoosh. “Usually the rule is to run from a curved sofa, but that gives you a sense of movement and the idea of ​​a larger room,” she said. Rounded coffee and dining tables have the same effect. At the very least, Seattle interior designer Heidi Kaillier will consider seats with scroll arms or gently curved backs, and consider smoothing out the details. “Even if it’s not fat, you can still wind on the couch,” she said.

“This pattern gives a better sense of depth than, for example, a blank white wall,” said Thomas Jane, designer of bedroom wallpaper in New Orleans.


Paul Costello / OTTO

Myth: The pattern makes a small space feel busy and coffin-like.

truth: Shaped wallpaper creates depth. Like dark paint, it prints obscure corners that “produce almost the Trompe-l’Ouille effect,” Schubert said. Choose medium to large motifs. Minute prints can magnify the size of a room while being quaint and cozy. If you want to reduce boldness, even the subtle cross-hatching of grass cloth adds depth to shallow spaces. Similar results can be achieved by laying a striped carpet. “It stretches the floor,” Schubert said. He proposes a carpet over the wall instead of a rug.

This petite bedroom-like luxury layer by Annette Nordstrøm in Best Bee, Norway, makes the occupants feel comfortable and small and makes the room feel more spacious.


living4media / Nordstrom, Annette

Myth: A smooth, modern finish and plenty of breathing chambers help make the small space feel more unrestricted.

truth: The soft furniture and the cosset effect of the layered texture make you feel small and the room feel large. Caillier said he was aiming to create a “jewelry box” and advised against “a lot of clean lines”. Instead, she offers luxurious window treatments, furniture with hand-crafted elements, and layers of supple textiles. “Each piece should sing on its own,” she says, and when everything from cushions to side tables is “cozy and considered,” the room has a enveloping warmth that suggests a larger scale. It takes on. Window drapes play a dual role in low ceiling bargains. Caillier suggests hanging them as much as possible to make the walls longer.

Share your thoughts

What trick did you find to make your small room look more spacious? Join the conversation below.

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On February 12, 2022, the printed version appeared as “Can you make the Weeroom feel spacious?”



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