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In a small space, everything counts. This is the main idea behind this article, which will teach you how to make a small room look bigger by simply applying a few clever tricks.

Small rooms can feel confining and uncomfortable. But certain design concepts fool the eye and make interiors seem much more spacious than they are.

Color techniques, furniture arranging and smart lighting are just some of the topics we cover in this post. We hope these ideas will inspire you.

1. Use light colors and clever contrasts.

A while back, we had a post on room color and how it affects your mood. Here’s how to use color to make a room look bigger. (Hint: It is all about optical illusion.)

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. 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.

2. Lighting is a key element in opening up a space.

Allowing natural light inside the room opens up the interior and makes it look larger. If you do not have a lot of natural light, you can add some creative effects using lighting fixtures. You will be amazed at how this small addition can make a big difference.

If you have access to natural light, bringing it into your home through large windows will instantly connect the room with the outdoors, no longer limiting your space. Use sheer window coverings, or pull them back completely, to allow more light in. If the view is bad, put plants or flowers near the windows and use lamps to brighten the space.

3. 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. In the bedroom, it will most likely be the bed. 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.

4. Well-placed mirrors can do wonders.

Mirrors can make your room look larger. Use a focal point and angle your mirrors toward it to give the illusion of depth. Mirrors also reflect both natural and artificial light to make a room brighter during the day and night. They bounce light deep into the room, making it appear larger.

Placing a mirror near a window to reflect the outdoors is especially effective. Mirrors on the walls and glass tabletops will give your room a more open feel. You can also use mirrored cabinet doors to make spaces feel larger.

5. Maximize your furniture arrangement.

Sometimes furniture can take up a lot of space. To avoid that, use multi-functional furniture, such as a chest that can be used as a coffee table, a sofa bed or a bed with drawers for storage underneath. Use an expandable dining table, folding tables and nesting tables, which can be tucked away when you don’t need them.

Place larger pieces of furniture against the walls to maximize the open space. Scale your furniture to fit the size of the room, and don’t block pathways. If furniture and accessories block the view into a room, it will look cramped. By moving furniture out and away from walkways, you’ll open up the space and make it feel larger.

At least some of the furniture should be the same color as the walls. Even bigger items such as armoires and chests will begin to blend in, expanding the room.

The longest straight line in any room is the diagonal. When you place your furniture at an angle, it leads the eye along the longer distance rather than the shorter wall. As a bonus, you often get some additional storage space behind the piece in the corner.

Tall furniture can make the ceiling seem lower than it actually is. Make sure there is plenty of space between your furniture, too. Choose a sofa and chairs with open arms and exposed legs. This allows light to filter under the furniture, making the room appear airier. Glass tables also will help to maintain the appearance of an open space.