1. Paint or wallpaper the ceiling to make the room look taller.
2. Use light colors on the walls and the floor.
While darker colors make a room seem cozy, they also absorb light instead of reflecting it, making the space feel smaller. Opt for lighter colored flooring as well as wall colors to make the room feel airy.
3. Pull furniture away from the wall to create the illusion of spaciousness.
Pushing furniture up against the wall makes everything look and feel cramped. Even just few inches in between the wall and your bigger items can make the space look more open.
To make use of those few inches, you can DIY a console table to slip behind it. Get the directions here.
4. Make use of hidden storage and multi-purpose items.
5. Hang shelves near the ceiling to draw the eye upward.
See how this homeowner maximized her vertical storage here.
6. Follow the cantaloupe rule.
7. Choose statement furniture that fills the room.
In small living rooms, one large couch instead of multiple small pieces actually decreases the look of clutter and makes a room feel bigger.
8. Use stripes to elongate the space.
Just like vertical stripes on clothing, a striped rug will make your room appear longer. Orient the stripes to go the length of the room that is the longest for optimal effect.
9. Color code your shelves to create the look of structure.
Whether it’s with size or color or type, anything that makes a group of smaller items look intentionally arranged will make it feel more streamlined. This works for books or anything else that is visible in your home. Get more organization tips here.
10. Use a clear shower curtain in a tiny bathroom.
Get this one here.
11. Leave your windows uncovered to give a room more depth.
More light gives a space depth. If you’re worried about privacy, roman shades or blinds instead of curtains look less crowded.
12. Use dramatic art pieces to make a room feel more expansive.
Instead of a gallery wall, choose art pieces that are large and bold. See more of this cool house here.
13. Buy glass or lucite items
Glass and lucite pieces are totally in style right now, and can provide an added function of not taking up too much visual space. Get this console table here.
14. Ditch the overhead lights.
Harsh top-down lighting pools all the light in one space. Instead, use a few smaller lamps to spread the light around and draw the eye around the room. Check out these cool sconces here.
15. Use rugs to separate one room into smaller spaces.
Especially useful in studio apartments, this creates the appearance of having more than one space in a large one. See more of this cool small apartment here.
16. To create unity, use different shades of the same color.
For the wall, rug and furniture using different shades of the same color creates a visual coherence that makes the space feel open. If you’re not in the market for new furniture, adding a throw or pillows or accessories in the same shade can give you the same effect. See more of these colorful homes here and here.
17. Furniture with exposed legs is key.
Instead of a sofa with a skirt or boxy chairs, bigger pieces with exposed legs are perfect for a small space. Show off those legs! See more sofa options here.
18. Strategically place mirrors to create the illusion of more space.
Placing a mirror across from a window is the best way to reflect light and make the room feel larger. Another trick is to place a large window behind a chest or end table for a glamorous trompe-l’œil that makes it look like a whole other space is tucked behind it.
19. Break all the rules.
Just because it’s a living room doesn’t mean you need a sofa and a coffee table and a TV. Unexpected furniture and layout will make the space itself feel more open and fun and personal. Maybe you want a bean bag for a chair. Maybe you want a swing inside. Maybe you want both. Go wild.