13 Easy Furniture Tricks to Make a Small Room Look Bigger

Photo of author

By DebraB

Having the right furniture arrangement can help you turn any room into a functional and coherent space, no matter how small it is. So, if you’re a bit short on room but can’t bear the thought of giving up your sofa, here are just a few tricks of how to fool the eye.

interior design layout plans

Step 1. Plan your layout

Think about where your furniture will go before you start with the heavy lifting. This will save you time, effort and energy.

1. Consider functionality.

What is the main purpose of the room and how many people use it? This will help you prioritise your furniture and make it easier to decide on what stays and what goes.

2. Bring focus to your room.

Find a focal point in the room, such as a fireplace, a large window or the TV set and rearrange the furniture with the feature in mind to give the room more structure. It simply makes sense to place your settee opposite your large flat TV screen. But make sure to position it at an appropriate distance from the set for a safe and enjoyable viewing.

focus point tv & wall units

3. Prioritise large pieces.

Think about where the largest pieces of furniture, such as the bed, the wardrobe or the sofa, would fit best into the room. Make a plan and find a place for those first, and then, work smaller pieces around them. Make sure you’re extra careful to avoid furniture marks.

modern bedroom furniture set

4. A layout is important.

Eclectically arranged furniture often makes a small room look cluttered or even feel rather claustrophobic. So, go for a more symmetrical layout to achieve simplicity and order. You will be surprised at how balance and harmony help a confined space open up.

symetrical image

5. Consider traffic flow.

A small room will feel even smaller if the entire household passes through it several times a day and people constantly try to circumvent obstacles. So, be firm and relocate easy-to-break figurines from outward corner shelves to a different larger room. Or put all three footstools away in the garage and take them out only when you need them.

a bull in a china shop

6. Maintain comfort.

Making a room feel bigger doesn’t have to be at the expense of comfort. So don’t rush to gut out the place and get rid of your favourite pieces. Instead, rearrange. You can simply place small coffee tables beside each side of the sofa rather than have a larger one in the middle of the room. Or why not swap bulky floor lamps that take up useful space in corners for discreet wall light fixtures.

Step 2. Create space

With the right tricks, spaciousness can be in the eye of the beholder. Hence, don’t be afraid to experiment, while creating a visual illusion of space.


7. Float furniture.

It is always a good idea if you leave some space between the walls and furniture.

The extra gap will create the illusion that the wall is further away. This way, you will trick the eye into perceiving the room as being larger than it actually is.” – Dimitry Kara / flat pack pro at  Fantastic Furniture Assembly

8. Reflect the room.

Strategically placed mirrors, length ways for maximum effect, can do wonders for how big a room feels.

Mirrors don’t reflect objects only, they reflect light and colour, too.


9. Go see-through.

Take advantage of what glass tables and Lucite chairs can do to get that airy feel in the room. Their transparency will turn them into inconspicuous objects that do not block the view to specific features. This may be the beautiful rug under the table or the ornamental chest of drawers behind the chairs.

“Glass and Lucite amplify light, allowing it to radiate throughout a room. Moreover, see-through furniture “has the talent to disappear”, making the room more spacious and less cluttered.” – Tobias Pritchard, installer at Handyman London Please.

 Clear glass coffee table

10. Hang low.

Make ceilings taller than they are via pictures, prints, wall mirrors and accessories for wall decor  lower than you would in another setting.

Again, this will create an optical illusion of height and will make the room look bigger.

11. Add stripes.

Stripes are not everyone’s cup of tea. And you don’t need to go wild and re-wallpaper the entire room in a striped pattern. But you can be clever about this and paint or wallpaper one wall in vertical bold stripes to act as a focal point. A striped rug is also a good option to expand your floor area.

Stripes tend to elongate space, so depending on whether you choose horizontal or vertical stripes, you can make a room look wider or taller.


12. Experiment with angles.

Arrange furniture diagonally where it feels appropriate. Often, rectangular rooms benefit big from this trick. An angled coffee table in a long and narrow room naturally makes it feel somewhat wider.

An angled furniture layout simply breaks up the room. It also helps divert one’s attention to other “properly” aligned features. Asymmetrical furniture arrangements simply prompt the eyes to hover swimmingly and focus on a focal piece across the room. This makes the latter feel immediately more spacious which is a great way to help improve the selling points of your home.

Approach this advice with caution, however, because angled layouts can also make small rooms feel overly furnished.

13. Use light to your advantage.

Light, which comes from different sources around the room can open up tremendously a small space. Wall lamps are especially good as they do not take up space.

Eyes are naturally drawn to light. The more of it, the bigger the room feels. Light will devour the darkness of nooks and crannies, expanding naturally the room in a switch.

Bonus tip: Open up the room. Windows are your best friends in the quest for creating space in a small room. Move any furniture that is partially blocking the window. Go for see-through veil curtains rather than heavy plush ones to ensure that roomy feel. Note, however, that drape rods chop a room’s height, so you’ll be better off using ceiling curtain tracks in a small room.

Windows create the illusion of depth by connecting a room with the outdoors.

Gotchas and takeaway:

When it comes to arranging a room, trial and error are part of the process. But knowing a few tips and tricks in advance may help you get your room feel spacious and functional a lot quicker.