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5 Small Changes to Make a Thimble-Sized Space Feel Larger

published Apr 16, 2019
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(Image credit:  Bethany Nauert )

Feeling stifled by your small space? Just because you’re tied to a small footprint doesn’t mean your home has to feel limiting. Just ask tiny home dwellers. All you need to do is shift your thinking.

To help you maximize the space you do have, we asked designers to share their best tips—no renovations required.

1. Buy vertical artwork

“When floor space is at a premium, take to the walls,” says Decorist designerErika Dale. Hang artwork vertically over statement pieces, like the bed, to draw the eye upward, giving the illusion of taller ceilings and making your space look and feel larger.

Take advantage of any other vertical space you have by using it for storage, like bookcases and wall shelves.

2. Install a mirrored backsplash

If you have a cramped bathroom or kitchen, consider installing a mirrored backsplash rather than that subway tile you’ve had your eye on. Mirrors are one of the easiest and least expensive ways to make your space feel instantly larger. Why? A mirror creates a focal point that gives the illusion of depth in a small, narrow space, says Decorist designer Jillian Scott. A mirror also enhances the natural light from nearby windows, helping your space feel bright and open.

3. Hang a curved shower rod

If you’re stuck with the world’s smallest bathtub or shower, there is an inexpensive and easy fix for increasing your scrubbing space—install a curved shower curtain rod.

“You can gain up to eight to 10 inches of additional elbow room without having to make any structural changes to your bathroom,” says Dale.

Here’s another great space-saving tip: Dale recommends installing a unique hook or tie back so the curtain can be drawn up and out of the way, leaving you with extra floor space when not in use.

4. Paint the trim with your wall color

There’s no rule that says trim has to be white. “Paint your trim the same color as your walls, which creates the illusion that the ceilings are taller than they are, since there is no visual break in the color,” says Dale.

(Image credit: Claire Bock)

5. And paint bookcases the same shade as the walls, too

“Painting bookcases the same color as the walls is a surefire way to making small space feel bigger,” says Scott. “Tone on tone is a designer trick to making a space feel cohesive and less cluttered.” Paint everything white and it feels modern and clean; paint the walls and bookcases a deep blue and it instantly transforms the room into a cozy space.

You’ll be surprised at how drastically a simple paint trick like this can alter the impression of a room’s size—plus, it’s relatively inexpensive to implement or change.