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Video:How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger

with Greg Dunlop, IIDA, ASID

If you have a pint-sized apartment or a teensy room that brings on claustrophobic feelings, then these tips are for you. See how to enhance and open up a small space with easy interior decorating tricks.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger

We all know what it's like to live in a space that feels cramped. Whether you shared a room growing up or struggled to find your own space in your dorm room, small spaces and fitting your stuff in them can be tricky.

Hi, I'm Greg Dunlop for About.com. I'm a professional interior designer here to talk about some tips for making a small space appear bigger.

Cut Clutter to Make a Room Bigger

Let's talk about "stuff." We all have it, some more than others. But, if you're feeling like your space is closing in around you, take a critical eye to your "stuff." You might find there are things that you can put away, or even get rid of, that will make your space feel open again. Take a look at this living room example…the bookcase in the corner is a perfect example of "stuff" that probably doesn't need to be there. Like these extra blankets piled on the sofa and these old magazines stacked so high they look another table. Sometimes it's just clutter that makes you feel like a space is smaller than it really is.

Scale Furniture for a Bigger Look

In some cases the size or scale of your furniture can make a big difference in making a small space appear bigger. Overstuffed sofas, chairs, big coffee tables, and giant armoires can eat up floor space very quickly. I know it's tempting to splurge and buy that sectional sofa but if you have a small space, the last thing you want is the room to be swallowed by your furniture. It comes down to proportions and the golden rule is still "less is more."

Incorporate Glass to Create Space

And while we are talking about furniture, sometimes incorporating some glass into your furniture can help to make the space appear bigger. Here I've used a generous sized coffee table but with a glass insert. I still get the wood and detailing into the space but without the heaviness of a solid wood table. The glass lightens the space and allows me to enjoy the area rug beneath it. Also, decorating with glass accessories can be another way to lighten up the space thereby making the space feel a little more open.

Use Mirrors for a Bigger Effect

For years, designers have been using mirrors to make space appear bigger. Today interesting mirrors can be found in all shapes and sizes. Some lean on the floor and are taller than you are while others are accent or decorative mirrors that add dimension to your space. The reflection of the room in the mirror can trick the eye into feeling like there's more of the space.

Use Colors to Enhance Space

And finally, the choice of color can play a significant role in how big your room appears. Dark colors tend to make a small space feel more cozy – the walls kind of wrap around you. Lighter colors allow natural daylight to reflect off the surface of the wall and the room feels bigger. If you want to hang draperies, think about using a sheer fabric that will help let the light filter in.

You can try some of these easy tips by themselves and see what works for you. Sometimes it's best to try a few of these tips together – maybe try putting some "stuff" away while painting your room a lighter color. Bring in a glass table and hang a mirror. You never know what will work in your space – just remember: "less is more."
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