The decoration of your rental may well be nice, but if your home has particularly small rooms they can create a sense of discomfort and suffocation. Fortunately, every problem has a solution! You don’t need to think about big renovations and knocking down walls, sometimes making a few adjustments to change the perception of an interior is enough to transform an XS space into an XL one! By being judicious with your choice of colours, furniture, fixtures and accessories, you can visually enlarge a place and create a cosy, warm and airy atmosphere. Discover 10 basic rules to play with perspective and give a small room new dimension...


Rule # 1: Only the Basics

The more a room is loaded, the smaller it will look. Therefore, the first step, before anything else, is to declutter the space. To do this, start by sorting out the objects and trinkets that you have accumulated over the years and that have no use or don’t bring personality to the decoration. Take advantage of this moment to free any walls that are loaded with paintings. In a nutshell, keep only the essentials.


Rule # 2: Light-coloured Walls

Light coloures walls and floor in a living roomIkea

Colour can transform and create volume. In fact, light tones add luminosity and give a sense of space, as if they were pushing the walls outwards. Shades of white (linen, shell, cotton ...), ranges of neutral such as taupe, beige and grey as well as pastels are therefore appropriate for the walls and ceiling of a small room. If the space is sloped, play with various shades of light colours.


Rule 3: Dark Flooring

If you opt for light-coloured walls, go for dark flooring, it will give the illusion of a more spacious room with more height and volume.


Rule # 4: A Colour Focus

In some cases, it is interesting to bring a shade of bright or dark colour to a wall to give depth where it lacks. In a narrow room, applying colour to a single wall will give the illusion of volume. If the room is long and thin, accentuating the wall at the bottom reduces this depth and visually widens the space between the two walls. You can also replace a solid colour with patterned (small patterns work best) wallpaper.


Rule # 5: Thrifty Stripes

Horizontal and vertical stripes on wallsLittle touches / Frank Roop via Mix and Chic

When used correctly, stripes on a wall can create a wonderful optical illusion. They should be used with caution on a single wall and if the room is small, use thin stripes. If the ceiling is high, horizontal stripes will move the walls away from each other. On the other hand, for low ceilings, decorate with vertical stripes that will evoke height.


Rule # 6: A Trompe l'œil

Trompe oeil wallpaper on a living room wallAlyos / Cdiscount

The trompe l'oeil is a clever way to create perspective in a small room. Non-woven wallpaper and stickers now make it easy to enlarge a space with panoramic views and scenes.


Rule # 7: The Mirror Effect

Large mirrors in living rooms to play with perspectivesSarah Dorio / Adrien Champsaur

A mirror acts as an inner window, it reflects light to extend the room beyond its parameters. It’s an easy way to increase the perception of volumes and thus bring a real sensation of space. Be aware that tall mirrors lengthen the room, while horizontal mirrors enlarge the space.


Rule 8: Made-to-measure textiles

Adjust the colour of the curtains and carpets to the colours of the walls and floor so that they blend into the decor. The room will only appear larger. And favour a translucent fabric and light colours for the curtains so that they filter the light.

Small living room with pastel colourIkea


Rule 9: Adapted furniture

The choice of furniture is essential in order not to weigh down an interior. In a small room, opt for low-lying furniture : for a buffet, a TV stand and a long console. Add a pouf near the sofa rather than a large armchair. Pedestal or better yet, suspended furniture frees space on the floor and creates an airy feel. Think of sliding doors, as well as transparent furniture made of glass or Plexiglas (coffee table, chair, console) that will blend in seamlessly. Finally, the choice of materials must be taken into account. Lacquer for example will reflect light and light wood tends to be less oppressive than a dark tinted wood.


Rule 10: Multiple Light Fixtures

A single source of light, especially a solitary ceiling light tends to crush and diminish a room’s volume, which is why it is preferable to install recessed spotlights instead. If this isn’t possible, multiply the light sources with a floor lamp, a table lamp and suspensions. Use light coloured lamp shades. Arrange the lamps in different places to modulate the ambiance, the room will feel and appear that much bigger.


Share this article:

You might also like...