Small-Space Renovations on a Budget: 4 Tips That Expand Space


If you’ve ever looked at a tiny home you may have been shocked by how spacious they seemed … but don’t be fooled. What you’re seeing is a space that’s specifically designed to disguise storage yet filled with convertible objects.

High-end small apartments do the same thing: They have custom kitchen cabinets to maximize storage, sleek accents, and minimalist decor. 

Of course, for the average person who lives in a small apartment, such modifications are typically out of reach. They’re expensive and demand a particular aesthetic.

Instead of attempting to emulate the approach that works for luxury spaces, stay true to your own style. When combined with these four small-space hacks, you can make any home appear more roomy.


Look For Legs

One thing you’ll notice in images of tiny homes and elegant, minimalist apartments is that the furniture always has legs — and there’s a reason for that. By opting for tall furniture that exposes the floor underneath, you create the illusion of more space.

Obviously, you shouldn’t go and replace all your furniture right away, but when you need a new item — whether it’s a coffee table or a couch — look for pieces that are positioned well off the floor. These furnishings also tend to appear less bulky, which can improve the overall look of the room.

A similar principle applies to the placement of the furniture in your space. If you pull movables away from the wall — even if you fill the gap with some kind of storage — that can make the room look larger.

This may seem like a waste of space when you’re already working with a small room, but remember, the goal here is to maximize the appearance of expansiveness.

All Eyes Up

Another affordable way to make your home look larger is to encourage the eyes to move upward. You can do this in several ways.

One option that’s recommended by the property management experts at Green Residential, who have extensive experience with property staging, is to hang shelves closer to the ceiling, whether for storage or decor. You might also think about hanging a large mirror, which can also magnify the space.

Finally, if you hang wide curtains that start nearly at the ceiling, you can draw people’s eyes up to the higher point, and create the illusion of a bigger room.

Keep It Bright

Light is crucial in any space, but obviously you can’t just install new windows to brighten up a small room. What you can do, though, is to use light colors on the floor and walls, since pale tones make a room look larger and brighter.

Recessed lighting can also help brighten the space without adding clutter. Lamps placed strategically around the room can perform the same task without entailing a major renovation.

In addition to actual lights, the mirrors mentioned earlier can also help to make your space seem brighter and therefore larger. Whether they’re helping to diffuse light from outside or reflecting interior illumination from your lamps, mirrors can accomplish heavy lifting in small spaces.

Lean Toward Large Pieces

Whether you’re choosing furniture or decor, small spaces demand large items. It may seem counterintuitive — won’t they hog the space? — but it’s true.

That’s because large items make a statement and keep the room from looking cluttered. Some decorators even rely on what’s known as the cantaloupe rule: If a piece of decor is smaller than a cantaloupe, then it’s too small and will make the room seem jumbled and messy. It sounds like a peculiar notion, but if you apply it, you’ll find this rule works.

Small spaces can pose a challenge for designers, and be even harder to live in, but you can adapt one to become more comfortable and visually appealing. It comes down to knowing how to create the illusion of space, even when it’s honestly lacking.