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Decorating a small room can feel a lot like playing Tetris. Furniture pieces pile in and you have the pressure of slotting them into the right places. It takes a lot of imagination and a few rounds of rolling out the tape measure to get it right, but without a little extra consideration, it can quickly become a jumbled, crowded mess.
Proportions, materials, colors, and the illusions certain items emanate are all useful features to consider when shopping around. An acrylic side table, for example, blends into a room and tricks the eye into thinking there's more space. A great couch on the other hand can properly fill the length of a living room wall and prevent any overcrowding that can happen when a room is stuffed with too many items.
Picking decor based on this can steer you clear of creating a space that feels limited by square footage and restricted by decor that's not cut out for a room of its size. The following items are useful in making small areas feel larger. Though they don't necessarily eke out more square footage, they certainly give the impression that they do.
Wade Logan Fiedler Accent Mirror
Reflecting light around a space is a great way to open it up, and there's nothing better than a mirror to do so. Because of its reflective surface, it not only brightens the walls and contents of the room, but it makes the overall space appear larger, too, by giving the illusion that the space continues further. Floor-length mirrors excel at this, but hanging a smaller one above a mantel or console table in an entryway can provide the same effect.
Highland Dunes Palermo Jute/Sisal Area Rug in Off White
The key to finding a rug that makes your space feel bigger is getting the dimensions right. A rug that's too big for a room can draw attention to its more compact size and can feel superfluous (wall-to-wall carpeting is a different story thanks to its continuity). But don't assume a tiny rug will make everything else feel bigger—this can often cause a space to look strangely proportioned and in some cases make it feel even smaller. In terms of shade, light materials are great for opening up a space, but a darker colored rug can help punctuate the room, too, especially if its palette is light and bright already.
Castlery Todd Side Chaise Sofa
Taking up more space in a room that's already short on it with a large sofa may sound contradictory, but hear us out. Bigger items of furniture, when used sparingly and styled well, can make a room feel spacious. Choosing one or two larger items to arrange in a bedroom or living area makes a room feel less crowded and properly proportioned. Rounded cushion shapes, light fabrics, and wraparound chaises are all features that'll help this focal point seemingly expand how big a room feels and looks.
Article Seta Floor Lamp
Poor lighting only adds to the cramped feeling of a small room and is a one-way ticket to a stuffy atmosphere when coupled with dark paint or too much furniture. Ensure dimly lit corners are brightened with good lighting fixtures—preferably ones that won't take up too much space themselves. Narrow floor lamps, pendant lights, and built-in fixtures are all worthy options that amplify light and lead to more comfortable hang-out places.
FENGHUA GLASS HOME Glass Art-Designed End Side Table
Transparent materials visually clear up a space and, similar to a mirror, provide an illusion—in this case, it simulates that there is less in the room, giving it a "floating" or "invisible" effect. Side tables, coffee tables, and shelving units are all great candidates for purchasing in acrylic or similarly clear materials and easily adapt well to modern rooms. There are even options with wooden shelves or metallic legs for spaces that have a rustic feel or contemporary aesthetic.
Mod Made Chrome Wire Dining Side Chair (Set of 2)
The structure and shape of furniture can also contribute to how big a room can feel. Clunky chairs with thick legs and cushions, for instance, can appear to take up more space than they actually do. For dining rooms, kitchens, and breakfast bars that are somewhat small, stools and chairs that are minimal in material and structure, such as wire frame models, can simplify a section of the room and make it look sleeker.
Simplihome Owen Coffee Table Lift Top Storage Ottoman
Doubling down on convenient organizational items can help keep small rooms tidy. This coffee-table-meets-ottoman storage unit combines three items of furniture into one, helping clear up a room in several different ways. A multipurpose piece of furniture clears away odds and ends that float around a room and clog it up visually, but it also removes the need to have several separate items that only provide one use each. Just think: less furniture + less clutter = more spacious rooms.