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Ask Anna: How To Make A Room Feel Bigger

We all have those spaces in our home that we wish looked a little bigger, so today I’m going to share about one of my favorite decorating topics: tips for making a room feel bigger than it really is. It’s actually really easy to do, so read on!

Let Paint Help You

Painting your walls is a great way to express your personal style, but if you have a small space BE CAREFUL! I always recommend going with a light and neutral color on the walls, and then using your favorite colors as accents in the room. Too much color and dark walls will always make a room feel smaller.

Also, beware of accent walls! I recently visited a friend who had just moved into a new home, and the previous owner had painted an accent wall in every single room in the house! If you are trying to make your space feel larger then an accent wall will do the opposite because it distracts the eye and takes light away from the rest of the room.

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall…

Mirrors are great for so many things, and I absolutely love using them to decorate. If your space doesn’t have a lot of windows, a great way to bring in more light is to add a mirror, or even multiple mirrors. Have fun with them, and maybe even create a wall collage of mirrors, which would look great while reflecting light around the room.

Mirrors can also help you get rid of dead space in a room, like that awkward space in the corner that you’re not really sure what to do with. We have two of these spaces in our house, one in our living room and one in our master bedroom, so I placed a tall standing mirror in both corners to reflect the light, instead of having the light go and die in the corner.

Quick Tip: Mirrors can be expensive, but over the years I have found multiple great mirrors at super affordable prices from IKEA.

Give Your Walls Their Space

It’s a common misconception that you have to put something on every wall, but don’t be fooled – this will only make your space look smaller. In photography, the empty space in a picture is referred to as the “white space,” or the place where the eye is allowed to rest so that it can really focus on the rest of the image. It’s important to do this with your walls, too, because if every wall is cluttered with stuff than it overwhelms the eye and makes a room feel busy and small. When decorating your walls, always refer to the old adage “less is more”.


If you really can’t handle having an empty wall, then do something simple with it, like adding a large mirror.

The Most Important Thing

The most valuable space in every room, large or small, is the vertical space. Using vertical spaces properly can fool the eye into think that the room is taller and larger than it really is. There are lots of ways to do this, but here are a few of them:

  • Anchor the space with a large rug. Purchase a rug that’s almost as big as the room–this is really important because a rug that’s too small will make the room feel even smaller!
  • Draw the eye up with window coverings. Always hang drapes from the top of the wall, all the way down to the floor. If the drapes don’t go all the way down to the floor then it chops your wall in half and makes it look short. Think of window coverings like finding the perfect length dress for yourself. You wouldn’t want to look short and stalky in a dress, so don’t do that to your walls.
  • Use things like board and batten to make a small entryway or bathroom look larger. We had a very small entryway with a dropped ceiling in our last house, but when we installed extra tall board and batten, it made the space feel WAY bigger, and more open!
  • Think outside the box. There are lots of ways you can break traditional decorating rules to make your space look taller. If you do a wall collage then make it go all the way to the ceiling, place something above a door frame, etc.

I could go on and on about all the ways to use vertical space, but for your sake I won’t. The most important thing to remember is that you want to draw the eye all the way from the floor to the ceiling. Even if your room doesn’t have a large footprint, if you use the vertical space properly, your space will never feel small.

These are all my best tips for how to make a room look bigger than it really is. Even if you have a large space you could be making some mistakes too, so whether your room is large or small, evaluate your space to make sure that the wall colors are right, that you have enough light, that your rug is the right size, and that your walls draw the eye all the way up to the ceiling. I LOVE a good before and after so if you make some changes to your space, email me and show me how you made your space look bigger!

Want to read more from our Ask Anna series? Check out Back To School Organization, 5 Tips For Staging Your House To Sell, and How To Be An Organized Hostess This Holiday Season.

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Anna is the owner and creator of the AskAnna blog. Her blog provides creative ideas for everything ranging from decorating to home DIY to cleaning and organizing. Her eye for detail transforms everyday projects into beautiful yet practical solutions.

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