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How To Make a Small Room Look Bigger

Discover how to make a small room look bigger with Dr Dulux’s small room ideas. From which colours for small rooms to use, to space-enhancing tips, learn more with Dulux.

A bigger, brighter room is just a few easy tips away.

From living in studio apartments to expanding families and hoarding habits, many of us struggle with a lack of space in the home. How to make a room look bigger seems like an impossible task when you can barely move without running into something! However, we’re here to let you know that every space has the potential to look great while functioning in the way you need it to.

Straight from the minds of expert designers, these small room ideas deliver that spacious feeling you’re looking for.

Clever space planning


To determine how to make a small room look bigger, the first step is to make use of every inch of space. Stand back and take a good look at the room. Note any clutter that you really don’t need, or even particularly like, and remove it. If you can’t, is there a wall, a chimney breast alcove or an awkward nook that could house inbuilt storage or a functional space?

For example, open up under-stair cupboards to create a work station, reading nook or a bigger storage area. Emphasising vertical space draws the eye up and creates the illusion of height. Try vertical shelving to free up floor space and display or store items without the need for extra furniture. Speaking of which, furniture can make all the difference towards clever space planning.


Choose multifunctional pieces like coffee tables with shelves, side tables with drawers, expandable tables, convertible sofas and stacking or folding chairs. For larger items, consider furniture that sits low to the ground to enhance a feeling of openness. It’s best to avoid bulky sofas and chairs with arms that take up a surprising amount of space. Opt for sleek, streamlined pieces, especially if it’s a struggle to create pathways between furniture in your room.


Best colours for small rooms


Creating colour schemes is always fun and you might be surprised to know you’re not limited with colours for small rooms. Pale neutrals are the obvious choice to encourage the illusion of space. For a cool, stylish look, opt for light greys like Polished Pebble. To imbue a sense of warmth with the light and airy feel of white, try Timeless. When you pair pale neutral walls with furniture in a similar colour palette, you’ll create the impression of open and seamless space.

Alternatively, painting a room in dark colours creates the perception of depth, therefore hiding the fact that it’s so small. Consider a feature wall in deep Monument Grey with accent colours of purple or yellow. Rich blue tones, like Sapphire Salute provide a soothing appeal, along with depth. To test your ideas, download the Dulux Visualizer app and see them in real time at the touch of a screen.


Let in the light


Letting in the light is one of the easiest options, in terms of how to make a small room look bigger. Take full advantage of the natural light available by ensuring your window treatments allow for maximum sunlight to flood the room. If you don’t have this option, a few clever tips and tricks can help to enhance light throughout your space.

Using revolutionary Lumitec technology, Dulux Light + Space Matt reflects up to twice as much light around a room, making even the smallest spaces appear larger. Another option is Dulux Silk, with a light sheen that also reflects light. To further increase the lighting effect consider placing a large mirror in the room, which also acts as an extra window.

In terms of artificial light, it’s best to use multiple sources around the room, rather than only one overhead light in the centre. Consider floor and table lamps to illuminate dark corners. Wall lights are excellent for lighting up awkward recesses and, when placed on either side, make fixtures appear wider. To highlight vertical space, hang a long pendant light from the ceiling to draw the eye up and down.


Special effects and illusion


As we’ve seen above, just because you don’t have much space, it doesn’t mean you can’t create the illusion of it. One of the best small room ideas is horizontal banding on a wall, which does a fantastic job of making a tight space feel bigger. Exaggerating the width of the space tricks your eyes into thinking it's wider, along with enhancing depth. Consider painting two pale, contrasting shades, like soft yellow and blue for a striking look. The same trick applies to create the illusion of height, using vertical lines.

For a seamless look, paint the skirting boards, walls and ceilings in the same colour. To make it look like your ceilings are extra-high, paint them in a lighter colour than the walls. A feature wall in a stronger colour than the others creates a natural focal point and distracts from the lack of space. Or, go for a harmonious appeal by painting surfaces in different shades from the same colour family, whereby a sense of natural flow is enhanced.

It’s entirely possible to use a combination of these designer tips in your quest for how to make a room look bigger. When you play around with furniture placement, lighting, storage options and colours for small rooms, it won’t be long before your space magically opens up before your eyes.

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