Design Recipes: 8 design hacks to make small spaces feel bigger

Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service

Small spaces can pose unique visual challenges when it comes to design. It is important for small spaces to feel as spacious as possible and functional. And it’s still possible to live large. Here are eight design hacks to help maximize the potential of smaller spaces.

A wall of mirrors helps a small living room feel open and spacious. (Design Recipes)

1. Use mirrors. Mirrors can automatically help make small spaces feel bigger and more open and bright.

2. Divide open floor plans into zones. Create different zones for sleeping, entertaining and dining.

3. When painting, consider adding a horizontal or vertical stripe as an accent detail. This painting technique can help low ceilings feel taller and make rooms feel wider.

4. Use neutral colors. They can help make a small space feel not as closed in.

5. Use color mapping. Color mapping is a technique in which the same or similar colors are mapped or repeated from room to room or within a room. This is an especially useful technique to make the color scheme in a small room feel cohesive.

A windowless space is made functional. (Design Recipes)

6. Try round tables instead of ones that are rectangular. In smaller spaces, round tables help make a space feel more open and spacious.

7. Use glass and transparent surfaces. Solid surfaces such as wood automatically take up space.

8. Make the most of every space. In small spaces, it is more important than ever that every area be fully used and functional.


Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at .