For Real: This Is How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger

Updated 10/24/19

 Design: Emily Henderson Photo: Sara Tramp

In the age of micro-living and eco-friendly prefab homes, it’s not surprising that our living areas are getting smaller. While some homes can be easily fixed with open floor plans, other spaces like studio apartments and small rooms still remain a challenge in the decorating department. We’ve already come up with tons of storage solutions for small spaces, but do you know how to make a small room seem bigger without doing renovations?

The answer: Add mirrors. It’s a trick interior designers swear by, and it works like a charm. In fact, it’s probably the one thing you should splurge on when decorating a small area. But before you run to the shops in search of the perfect mirror, follow these invaluable tips for decorating with mirrors.

01 of 08

Fake a Room's Length

small space decorating tips
Tessa Neustadt ; DESIGN: Amber Interiors

In this cleverly designed walk-in closet by Amber Lewis, the back wall is entirely covered by a mirror—giving the impression of infinity in the space. The patterned runner extends all the way to the edge of the mirror, enhancing the continuity effect. While this can be a labor-intensive project, the end result is well worth the effort.

02 of 08

Shift the Focus Elsewhere

decorating small spaces
Brittany Ambridge

Accessorize mirrors by leaning artwork in similar frames against it. The repetition of black frames will blur the lines of the mirror’s edges, making the reflection just another beautiful piece of artwork to look at. By the same token, it’ll be harder to figure out where the mirror starts and the room begins, resulting in a larger-looking space.

03 of 08

Opt for a Round Mirror

How to make a small space look bigger — mirrors
Courtesy of ASH NYC

We learned that above any other type of mirrors, the round mirror makes the greatest impact, and NYC-based design firm ASH is no stranger to the practice, having styled dozens of high-end real estate projects with these statement-making pieces. In fact, the round mirror is one of the firm's signature design tricks. Try it for yourself—if New York developers swear by it, it must be effective. Click here for our favorite round mirrors.

round wall mirror
CB2 Infinity Round Wall Mirror $249
Shop
04 of 08

Go Big or Go Home

Small Space Decorating Tips — Mirrors
Fantastik Frank

The round mirror also works well to break up rectangular shapes, like in this hallway, where a console shelf is flanked by bookcases. The items on the console are reflected in the mirror, creating a layered effect. When it comes to choosing a round mirror, bigger is usually better, as it will reflect more light and space.

05 of 08

Trick the Eye With Pattern

Decorating Small Spaces With Mirrors

David Foessel ; DESIGN: Septembre Architecture

You might think this bathroom in a tiny Parisian apartment designed by Septembre Architecture leads to another room at the far end of the house, but the back wall is, in fact, a mirror—making the bathroom look twice as large and visually lengthening the whole apartment. To achieve this, choose a patterned tile to act as a trompe l’œil. This is a great trick to accentuate architectural features.

06 of 08

Only Reflect Beautiful Things

How to make a small space feel larger
Courtesy of Space Exploration

Have a stunning chandelier you’re dying to show off? Reflect it in a mirror, like Space Exploration cleverly did in this New York City space. If it’s positioned effectively in the room, it’ll appear as though there are two chandeliers, effectively doubling your investment. The most important rule to live by when decorating with mirrors is to ensure that what it’s reflecting is pleasant to look at. In other words, don’t let it reflect clutter, an unsightly TV, or a bad view.

07 of 08

Build a Wall of Mirrors

Decorating With Mirrors
Sharrin Rees ; DESIGN: Smart Design Studio

Installing a mirror as a wall can enhance a small space. In this bathroom by Smart Design Studio, one was used to separate the shower stall, effectively doubling the space in appearance. Large wall-to-wall mirrors are excellent to achieve this effect. This also works well to maximize natural light in a small space that might otherwise feel a little dark.

08 of 08

Use a Mirror as a Backsplash

Small Space Decorating Ideas
Kevin O'Hara

In the Atlanta Holiday Home, an antiqued mirror was installed as the kitchen backsplash. This trick works fantastically in small galley kitchens, where they can make a space look twice as big. Want to achieve the same effect with a bookcase? Simply install mirrors in the back of your built-ins.

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