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14 Ways to Make a Small Bedroom Look Bigger

February 24, 2023

Whether we need to save money on rent or are living in a city with notoriously small rooms, we sometimes end up wishing for a larger space.Photo by Christopher Jolly on Unsplash

Many of us imagine our dream bedroom having a large walk-in closet, a king-size bed with a canopy, giant windows that let in plenty of sunlight, and enough storage space for every one of your belongings to have a spot. However, if we’re living in cities like New York or San Francisco, we’re most likely living in a much smaller, less spacious room than what we could afford elsewhere. But worry not, there are ways to make even the tiniest of bedrooms look massive! Follow our tips below to make your small bedroom look bigger than you ever thought it could!

1. Use Light Colors

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As opposed to dark colors that absorb light, lighter and softer colors reflect the light, which will help your room seem brighter and roomier. Using light colors like whites and pastels gives your walls a makeover that open up the space. This tip applies to both the paint colors you choose for your walls as well as your furniture and decor!

2. Paint the Trim a Lighter Color than the Walls

This trick works in two ways. First, similar to above, the lighter color reflects the light to create the semblance of space. Second, a sort of optical illusion occurs: by painting the trim a slightly lighter color than the walls, your eye perceives added depth!

3. Color Coordination

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This pointer is all about shading. Choosing different shades of the same color scheme for your walls, furniture, and even your rug creates a sense of unity throughout the space. Visual coherence tricks your mind into perceiving the space in a small room as being more open.

4. Black and White

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Though this may sound counter intuitive because black is the darkest color there is, contrasting colors like black and white also create an optical illusion for space. The layering and depth of the opposite hues work to make a room look larger.

5. Stripes

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You’re probably familiar with this hint if you’ve ever worn a striped shirt and wondered why you looked a little wider than usual. Striped patterns on your walls work the same way. Horizontal stripes visually lengthen and widen a narrow bedroom while vertical stripes create the effect of a high ceiling.

6. Avoid Excess

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This one seems obvious, but is definitely still worth mentioning. With less clutter on the floor, your room will exude the perception of extra space. One way to limit the furniture in your room and make the space look larger is to combine pieces that can serve multiple purposes. For example, some tables and ottomans have hidden storage compartments that can be used to store extra pillows and blankets. There are also space-saving bed frames with built in drawers that would work perfect as a replacement dresser!

7. Keep it Short

You probably haven’t thought of this piece of advice before but it actually does make sense! If you keep your furniture short and low to the ground, there will be more space left towards the top of the room which makes the ceiling seem higher! This technique also prevents wall damage from scuffs and scrapes, and clean walls look larger.

8. Translucent Furniture

As smart as the brain is, there are a few ways it falls short when processing information. For example, it takes the brain a second to place see-through items, which creates the illusion of space. Place a translucent chair or desk in your room and it’ll feel like they aren’t even there!

9. Mirrors

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Have you ever been inside a fun house that looked like it went on forever because it was covered floor to ceiling in mirrors? You can create a similar effect in your bedroom, minus the fun house distortions. Like bright colors, mirrors reflect and bounce light which can create the impression of depth or height. As an added hint, make your closet doors mirrored as the floor to ceiling height will accentuate the perception of space.

10. Keep Items Off of the Floor

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This trick goes hand-in-hand with the furniture tip of not having excess clutter on the floor of your room. Instead of buying a bookshelf, mount shelves on your walls. The more you can nail to your walls, the more floor space will be seen.

11. Built in Storage Around the Bed

Though this project may be a little more difficult to complete, the outcome will be worth it. Building shelves around your bed serves many purposes that will in turn make your room look larger. First, the shelving can double as a bedside table, saving space in that regard. The shelves will also make your bed look somewhat recessed, creating the illusion of depth in the wall. Additionally, the encompassing shelves will become the focal point of your room, drawing your eye to the center and making the space around it seem open.

12. Hang a Chandelier

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The more light the better! A decorative chandelier hanging from your ceiling helps to liven up a small space and bring a lot of warmth. It also balances the dimensions of the room, drawing your attention upwards while emphasizing the room’s height rather than its lack of floor space.

13. Window Shades

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Another way to let more natural light into your bedroom is to hang thin or light colored window shades. You can also opt to go completely shadeless so your room is constantly full of light.

14. Follow the Rule of Thirds

Mentally split your walls into three equal sections. If you’re going to hang art or other wall decorations, it should live closer to the lower third of your room. Shelving and storage should then be hung closer to the upper third to draw your eye upward. This will create a heightening effect making your short room look taller.

We aren’t all blessed with the largest room in an apartment. Whether we need to save money on rent or are living in a city with notoriously small rooms, we sometimes end up wishing for a larger space. Utilizing the bedroom ideas outlined above will help you live out the fantasy of a big bedroom, even if you can cross your abode in as little as four steps.

Did you convert your tiny dwelling into a perceptually large living area? Share your tips and tricks with us by tagging @ApartmentList on Twitter or Instagram.

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Nicole DiCenso
Nicole is a Marketing Specialist and contributing author at Apartment List where she writes content on rental life and trends. Nicole previously worked in sales at HubSpot and Forrester and has a BA in Marketing from Bryant University. Read More

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