lighting small space

Photo: Melanie Acevedo

Low-Sitting Lights

Keep overhead lights off; use floor and table lamps instead. This illuminates the lower half of the room. It's a simple trick that makes ceilings seem higher and rooms airier.
living room look bigger

Photo: Melanie Acevedo

Big-Enough Rugs

In a small living room, one large rug that all your furniture can sit on will make your space feel cohesive, less broken up. When pieces float outside the perimeter, they create chaos—the opposite of what you want in a room, but especially detrimental in a small space.
flow in small room

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Meandering Flow

Never sacrifice flow. Easy access in and out of a room is far more important than adding "one more piece." Awkward, cut-off movement between spaces can make any size room feel small, so check that your layout gives you more than one way to enter and exit the main areas of your home.
empty space

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Empty Space

When square footage is at a premium, it can feel like a necessity to fill every last inch. But the price for packing those surfaces is a room that looks even smaller. Leaving some open space sends a visual message that there is room to spare. The things you do display will pack an even greater style punch.
designing in pairs

Photo: Melanie Acevedo

Perfect Pairs

Buy in double: matching floor lamps or two small love seats instead of a sofa and two chairs. The cohesiveness adds balance to tight spaces and reduces the impression of clutter—which can sneak up on you when you're juggling scale, color, and multiple finishes in one room.

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Big, Beautiful Bold Art

Gallery walls are great (and definitely work in a small space), but sticking with one or two oversize pieces instead can boost the appearance of a room's size. Big art in a small space creates a scale differential that is always visually interesting. Rather than dwarfing the space, it tends to expand it.

Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/istockphoto

Minimalist Living

Fact: small rooms look more spacious when you have a few pieces of large furniture—rather than a whole lot of small furniture. The reason? Less visual noise and an uncomplicated floor plan, which (as we've already mentioned) is essential for good flow.
workout habit

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Extra-Wide Window Treatment

Whenever possible, extend your curtain rod out beyond the width of the window frame. It's a bit of an optical illusion that makes windows seem larger, which, in turn, makes rooms feel more spacious.

Reprinted from Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home. Copyright © 2015 by Apartment Therapy LLC. Published by Potter Style, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.