32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (2024)

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (1)

Every item on this page was hand-picked by a House Beautiful editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

When you live in a small house or apartment, fitting in everything you need is difficult. Trying to fit everything and make it look good is an even bigger challenge, but that's what makes small space design so fun: Coming up with clever solutions to those obstacles makes it all the more rewarding in the end. Luckily for you, we've got quite a few small space tricks up our sleeves, with hacks ranging from hanging beds to hidden storage, tricks of the eye, and more. Whether you live in a studio apartment or want to get more out of a tiny room in a small house, these small space design ideas will make it feel so much larger while maintaining style.


Incorpoate Reflective Materials

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (2)

Opt for white lacquered walls and glossy tiles, as designer Brian Patrick Flynn did here. The high-shine materials are reflective and will generate the same maximizing effect that a mirror will, bouncing light and making for a generally airer space.

SHOP TILES Zellige Tiles, $2


Opt for Pocket Doors

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (3)

Pocket doors with glass windows allow for shared light to flow throughout the space while also creating separation. And even better, they slide right into the wall when not being used, taking up much less space than swinging doors.

SHOP DOORS IKEA Sliding Doors, $180


Add a Gallery Wall

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (4)

Though it may sound counterintuitive, covering a wall floor-to-ceiling can make a small space feel larger. In Rudy Saunders's apartment, an assortment of framed works (plus an overscaled watch clock!) draw the eye up, making the 375-square-foot studio feel more expansive.

SHOP GALLERY WALL KIT Frame Sets, from $166

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below


Be Resourceful

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (5)

When space is limited and you don't want to shop for new, bulky furniture, use a chair as a side table and install wall sconces to save surface space. A cheerful color, like this pale turquoise hue, is also a good idea to set a happy mood in a tiny room.

SHOP SCONCES Arc Mid-Century Sconce, $79


Think Vertically

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (6)

By hanging subway tile vertically—rather than the more common horizontal hang—designer Eneia White makes this modestly sized bathroom feel both taller and more streamlined. A tight palette of black, white, and blush prevent it from feeling cluttered.

SHOP TILE Subway Tile, $2.79


Hide the Utilities

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (7)

For the restaurant at The Cornell Inn, Toledo Geller used drapery to cleverly conceal pipes and HVAC, creating an elegant canopy while avoiding visual chaos.

SHOP DRAPERY Navy Blackout Curtains, $31

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below


Hang a Swing!

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (8)

Since it doesn't take up any literal floor space, a swinging seat gives the appearance of a much more open room. For proof, look at the daybed Tiffany Brooks hung in this room at the Kips Bay Palm Beach showhouse.

SHOP SWINGS Hanging Daybed, $953


Shrink Your Dining Table

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (9)

Small round tables aren't just for breakfast nooks. Ditch the giant dining table and give yourself some extra space by opting for a small, round dining table instead, like Emily Henderson did here.

SHOP TABLES Marble Dining Table, $999


Use a Day Bed

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (10)

Add a day bed and watch your bedroom double in size. If you don't have a designated guest room, this could also come in handy in your living room.

SHOP BEDS Monarch Hill Daybed, $672

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below


Maximize Shelving

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (11)

In this Manhattan apartment, Cece Barfield Thompson corralled the owner's books and accessories into one room, where built-in shelves—complete with gallery lights—make the items look deliberate. The best part? This library doubles as a dining room in the small apartment.

SHOP GALLERY LIGHTS Picture Light, $399


Express Yourself Everywhere

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (12)

Yes, even on the fridge—no, especially—your fridge and other bulky appliances. Since there's limited space for extras and less room to pile in all your favorite items, you'll need to beautify everything. Here, Anthony Dunning turned a regular old refrigerator into a design opportunity by dressing it up in removable wallpaper.

SHOP REMOVEABLE WALLPAPER Peel and Stick Paper, $150


Mount Your TV

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (13)

A media console is the biggest space waster in a small living room. Mount your TV on the wall or above a fireplace and you'll regain necessary floor space.


Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below


Hide Your TV

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (14)

Or, even better, hide it! Whether inside of a credenza or disguised as artwork, this design trick is perfect for anyone whose living room is always their family room, dining room, and/or more.



Do Double Duty

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (15)

Pieces that can serve multiple purposes are key: Find a table that can function as a desk and dining table, get a deep sofa that can double as a guest bed, or buy cubes that serve as a coffee table and bonus seats when guests are over.

SHOP SEATING Storage Ottoman, $315


Take Advantage of Architectural Quirks

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (16)

Every single inch counts in a small house, so be sure to take full advantage of architectural quirks—this way, they'll actually become your favorite thing about the space. That radiator by your window? Invest in a pretty radiator cover and customize a cushion so you can use it as a window nook to read and relax in. (And you'll be able to forgo the bulky couch that'll take up half the studio!) Pile on the pillows and add a pendant light for tasks, as Jae Joo did here.

SHOP RADIATOR COVERS Radiator Cover, $255

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below


Use Mirrors

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (17)

It's the oldest design trick in the book: Mirrors will make your space feel larger, lighter, and airier. And a fun convex one like this adds a lot of personality without taking up a ton of space.

SHOP MIRRORS Mirror Plates, $16


Make Every Piece Count

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (18)

Choose furnishings that offer maximum functionality in minimal square footage. For example, instead of an end bench, opt for a desk with a small side chair. You can use it for work, getting ready, and more.

SHOP DESKS Writing Desk, $68


Think About Scale

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (19)

If your kitchen doesn't have an island and you don't have a living room that's separate from the kitchen, don't give up on making it functional. Opt for a tall wooden table that can provide some extra counter space for cooking and as a two-top dining table. Use this one in a kitchen by Corinne Mathern Studio as your blueprint.

BUY SMALL ISLANDS Counter Table, $125

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below


Keep It Neutral

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (20)

Calm, even-toned rooms fool the eye into thinking they're more spacious than they are. Make sure to add a variety of textures to keep the space from falling flat.

SHOP PILLOWS Velvet Pillow, $6


Convert a Closet

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (21)

Designer David Kaihoi used some seriously smart storage solutions to make his New York City apartment work harder—including creating this compact laundry "room" in his closet. That way, when he's not doing laundry, he can close the door on these eyesore appliances.

SHOP LAUNDRY MACHINES Washer and Dryer Unit, $1259

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (22)

Hadley Mendelsohn


Hadley Mendelsohn is the co-host and executive producer of the podcast Dark House. When she's not busy writing about interiors, you can find her scouring vintage stores, reading, researching ghost stories, or stumbling about because she probably lost her glasses again. Along with interior design, she writes about everything from travel to entertainment, beauty, social issues, relationships, fashion, food, and on very special occasions, witches, ghosts, and other Halloween haunts. Her work has also been published in MyDomaine, Who What Wear, Man Repeller, Matches Fashion, Byrdie, and more.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an expert in small space design, I have dedicated my career to finding clever solutions to the challenges that come with living in a small house or apartment. I have a depth of knowledge and first-hand expertise in maximizing space while maintaining style.

One concept that is essential in small space design is incorporating reflective materials. Opting for white lacquered walls and glossy tiles can create a high-shine effect that reflects light and makes the space feel airier. This same maximizing effect can be achieved by using pocket doors with glass windows, which allow shared light to flow throughout the space while creating separation.

Another concept to consider is the use of a gallery wall. Covering a wall floor-to-ceiling with framed works can actually make a small space feel larger. By drawing the eye up, it creates a sense of expansiveness. Additionally, being resourceful with furniture choices can save space. Using a chair as a side table and installing wall sconces can help free up surface space.

Thinking vertically is also crucial in small space design. Hanging subway tiles vertically, for example, can make a modestly sized bathroom feel taller and more streamlined. Additionally, hiding utilities such as pipes and HVAC systems can create a more elegant and visually organized space.

To make the most of a small dining area, consider using a small round table instead of a large dining table. This can create extra space and make the room feel more open. In bedrooms or living rooms, incorporating a day bed can double the space's functionality.

Maximizing shelving is another important concept in small space design. By corraling books and accessories into one room with built-in shelves, items can be displayed in a deliberate and organized manner. This room can then serve as a dining room as well.

Expressing yourself in every corner of a small space is key. Even bulky appliances like the refrigerator can be beautified with removable wallpaper. Mounting the TV on the wall or hiding it inside a credenza can free up necessary floor space. Pieces of furniture that can serve multiple purposes, such as a table that functions as a desk and dining table, are also valuable in small spaces.

Architectural quirks should be embraced and utilized to their full potential. For example, a radiator by a window can be transformed into a cozy window nook by adding a cushion and pillows. Mirrors are another essential element in small space design, as they create the illusion of a larger, lighter, and airier space.

Choosing furnishings that offer maximum functionality in minimal square footage is crucial. For example, opting for a desk with a small side chair instead of an end bench can provide a versatile workspace. Finally, keeping the color palette neutral and adding a variety of textures can create a calm and spacious feel in a small space.

With these concepts and tricks up your sleeve, you'll be able to tackle the challenges of small space design and create a home that feels larger and more stylish.

32 Brilliant Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Huge (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Last Updated:

Views: 5537

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Birthday: 1997-10-17

Address: Suite 835 34136 Adrian Mountains, Floydton, UT 81036

Phone: +3571527672278

Job: Manufacturing Agent

Hobby: Skimboarding, Photography, Roller skating, Knife making, Paintball, Embroidery, Gunsmithing

Introduction: My name is Lakeisha Bayer VM, I am a brainy, kind, enchanting, healthy, lovely, clean, witty person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.