Just because you can't actually make a room bigger, doesn't mean you can't trick the eye into making it appear and feel bigger. One of the most effective ways to do this is to draw the eye upward toward the ceiling making the walls seem higher and giving the room an air of expansiveness. Here are eight real-room examples—not all of them are small—but you can apply the ideas to your own small room.
Embellish the ceiling. Here the homeowners added gold triangle decals which demand your attention and make the ceiling the focal point of the room.
Hang your curtains above the window frame. This elongates the appearance of your windows and tricks the eye into thinking the ceiling is higher. The window in this room is actually quite small, but the visual effect is of a big, bright light source.
Paint your wall two colors. Dividing up the wall with paint, with a lighter color on top, adds to a feeling of lightness and airiness.
Add a ceiling embellishment. This cluster of paper flowers and lanterns is a memorable decorative element and also serves to draw the eye up toward the ceiling.
Hang something. Don't limit yourself to shelves and other surfaces to display accessories. Suspending them from the ceiling adds a touch of the unexpected and keeps the eyes moving around the room.
"Point" to the ceiling. This chevron-shaped accent wall is practically a wall of arrows inviting you eye upward. The same effect could be achieved with painted stencils or decals.
Hang Art Up to the Ceiling. This room actually is quite small (64 sq. ft), but it feels expansive and luxe. The furnishings help, but I love how the homeowners hung artwork all the way up to the ceiling, not a foot wasted.
Use Vertical Stripes. Vertical stripes are sliming when it comes to fashion and in a room they can visually elongate a wall. You don't have to go whole hog - even as an accent wall the stripes are effective.
Choose a Dramatic Ceiling Light. Ceiling lights are a great opportunity to make a visual impact on a room no matter the size. Inviting the eye up to the ceiling is an added bonus in a small room.
(Image credits: Lucia M Photography; Le Belle Photographie ; Matt McElligott; Wild Whim Design & Photography; The Beetleshack; Armosa Studios; Greg Pendleton; Anna FH; reader Tara)