The Not-So-Big Room

Give your small room an ego boost with these 10 tips that'll make even the tiniest space feel large and in charge.

The Not-so-big room


  • Manage Traffic Flow
    Traffic flow through a room can cut it in half, according to Chris Clark, assistant manager of the engineering department at Country Log Cabins in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Plan the entry into a room so the opening is on one end of a wall, not directly in the center.The door should open toward the nearest perpendicular wall.
  • Eliminate Hallways
    Hallways are great for increasing privacy, but the space goes largely unused. So ditch the hall and use your small room as a passageway, advises Chris. You'll gain an extra three or four feet of usuable space.
  • Increase Ceiling Height
    More volume in a small room makes it appear much larger, according to Tim Krause, architectural designer with Wilderness Log Homes in Plymouth, Wisconsin. So raise your ceiling height from the standard 7 feet, 6 inches, to 8, 9 or even 10 feet.
  • Decorate the Void
    Adding a cathedral ceiling or a smaller tray ceiling also will make the volume of the room seem greater, according to Tim. "A king post in a cathedral ceiling will increase the drama of that room," he says.
  • Install Thin Windows
    If you're using natural light to make a small room seem airy, opt for multiple windows that are tall and narrow, says Jeff Arnold with Heritage Log Homes in Sevierville, Tennessee. "They'll give the illusion of height in the room without diminishing the amount of light."
  • Be Clutter Free
    A clutter-free room always seems bigger, so get organized. "Shelving and closets with a well-designed storage system can hold twice as many items as the standard rod-and-shelf approach, says Amy Purcell with Schulte Storage Solutions. Plus, consider sliding closet doors. They take up less space than bi-fold doors and cost less, too.
  • Bring in the Built-Ins
    Built-in bookcases, shelves and work areas make a small room more useful. They also utilize the space you do have better, so you won't have to default to increasing overall size, according to Paul Foresman with Design Basics, a national floorplan design firm.
  • Add Lots of Light
    Since wood absorbs light instead of reflecting it, install more lighting fixtures to make a small room brighter and seem more spacious, advises Curt Roth, president of Mountain Ranch Lighting in Bellingham, Washington.
  • Create Multipurpose Space
    Add multipurpose rooms to your floorplan and avoid crowding too many activities into the small room, advises Paul with Design Basics. Children's bedrooms double as play areas, basements as home theater and storage.
  • Entertain in the Garage
    Get the most out of your garage and design it so it can double as a flexible entertaining space for larger gatherings or as a play area for the kids. High-tech storage units keep everything in its place and reduce clutter.

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