Carpet design

How to Make a Tiny House Look Bigger: Must-Have Design Strategies

Need to make a tiny house look bigger? Small can be beautiful, of course, but what is undesirable is to feel that the house lacks space and is therefore cluttered with all the necessary furniture, and that the choices of decoration are compromised by its proportions.

The solution is clever small room ideas, which can save a compact house from looking cramped and even trick its dimensions so that it looks bigger than it really is, in addition to allowing you to express your individuality and create a beautifully detailed decoration.

Here, we’ve rounded up interior design tips from pros who know how to make a tiny house look bigger to bring it to your home.

How to extend a small house

A home with a low square footage doesn’t have to feel cramped or look overcrowded with furniture. And you don’t have to be conservative with decorating choices either – although they should be considered. So whether you’re working with a small living room, small kitchen, or small bedroom in a family home, you can make the space work best for you. These are the methods used by designers to enlarge a small room in a small house.

1. Go higher with window treatments

Window Treatment Ideas

(Image credit: Gunter & Co)

Emphasizing horizontals or verticals can alter the perception of space in rooms in a small home. One way to achieve this is to use window treatments.

“With your window treatments, hang them closer to the ceiling to create a more vertical room feel,” says Amy Youngblood, lead designer at Interiors of Amy Youngblood (opens in a new tab).

Because natural light will make the room appear larger, make sure curtains can be gathered on either side of the window during the day to maximize the light reaching the room. Also, be sure to clean the windows regularly.

2. Prioritize made-to-measure storage

A bedroom with large closet doors open to a dressing table inside, wood paneling painted pale gray.  Built-in wall of cupboards and storage.  Master bedroom

(Image credit: ANNA STATHAKI)

An overcrowded house can never feel spacious. “Keeping clutter at bay is the secret to making a small home look and feel bigger,” says Irene Gunter, founder of Gunter & Co. (opens in a new tab). “My number one tip for doing this is to use custom cabinetry. Tailored to the dimensions of your space, cabinets can be designed to work around any oddities, like a sloping ceiling or an awkward corner. Plus, bespoke means the internal layout can be tailored to suit what you want to store.

“I recommend mounting cabinets to the ceiling, making the most of what would otherwise be dead space. It’s particularly effective in this small bedroom (above) where we’ve lined the wardrobe doors with the same Philip Jeffries (opens in a new tab) wallpaper used on the walls. This created a cohesive feel with very few distractions for the eye – a smart way to enhance the sense of space. It also makes a small bedroom look bigger.

3. Trim rugs correctly

Neutral living room with patterned sofa and rug

(Image credit: James Merrell/Future)

Introducing a small rug into a small house is a trap for the unwary. “Use rugs as large as possible for the room and make sure that at least the front legs of all furniture rest on the rug,” advises Emily Ruff, owner and lead designer of Coherently organized interiors (opens in a new tab).

“Bigger and fewer pieces of furniture tend to make small spaces seem much bigger. If you have too many small rooms in a room, it will instantly feel crowded. It’s also a smart way to expand a small living room.

4. Use the power of glass

Living room with large window with glass shelves, rugs and armchairs

(Image credit: JAM by Hedayat)

Take the opportunity to introduce glass where you can to make a tiny house look bigger.

“For a tiny house I designed in Chelsea, I created spaces wrapped in glass,” says Hedayat Taymour, BIID-registered interior designer, design director at JAM by Hedayat (opens in a new tab) and founding partner of Electrical design (opens in a new tab).

“I turned an old, unusable window into a fixed glass wall with glass shelves so the space looks like it spills outwards. I also used translucent opaque glass panels to let in more light and frame some of the client’s treasured artifacts.

5. Think double duty

Living room with neutral armchairs and sofa, rug, perspex table and woven storage

(Image credit: Katie Davis Design Photography: Kerry Kirk)

Go for pieces that don’t just fulfill one role in a small home. “Get creative with storage – vintage baskets that double as decorations are always a good idea,” says Katie Davis of Design by Katie Davis (opens in a new tab) in Houston, Texas.

Also consider the impact of furniture. “In this living room, we opted for an acrylic table that does not take up too much space visually,” she explains.

6. Plan in negative space

small living room decorating ideas

(Image credit: Colefax)

The areas between elements in a room are crucial in ensuring that a tiny home doesn’t feel small.

“Whenever possible, create a sense of negative space around furniture and objects in the room,” says Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin. (opens in a new tab). “For example, choose a sofa on higher legs to reveal more floor space.

“Materials like reclaimed wood, brushed linen and glass also work well to enhance a look and play with the eye to create a feeling of openness.”

7. Work with one color

Feng Shui bedroom colors

(Image credit: Albion Nord)

Consider using a single shade of paint to stretch a space. “In a small room, a glossy white ceiling will draw attention to the line where the walls end and the ceiling begins, emphasizing the size of your space,” says Irene Gunter.

‘A simple solution is to use the same color on the walls, trim and ceiling. It instantly makes a space more unified. Additionally, by eliminating distracting color contrasts, you can make a space appear larger.

“Remember, this idea doesn’t just work with lighter, brighter colors,” she adds. “Wrapping a space in dark hues can make a room feel cozy and cocooning.”

8. Plan lighting that expands the space

Kitchen with oversized corner lighting above the island

(Image credit: Fiona Lynch)

Lighting is an important part of a successful design for a small home. “When it comes to making a small space seem bigger, effective lighting is very often overlooked,” says Jamie Moxley, lighting expert at Dusk Lighting. (opens in a new tab).

“Recessed wall and ceiling lights free the room from cumbersome shades. If a room is tall enough, some pendant lights with long hanging cords help draw the eye upward, giving the room a more open feel; the use of a light with glass in its shade design also helps create a flowing space.

“Using minimalist style light will help open up a room, focusing on the light emitted rather than the fixture itself.” This method is particularly effective for making a small kitchen bigger, but will also help make a small bathroom bigger.

9. Area with furniture

Small dining room ideas for apartments

(Image credit: Future/Jan Baldwin)

Small houses often feature multifunctional rooms, and here careful planning of furniture positions can elegantly zone the area.

“A common flaw is pushing all the furniture against our walls, but that’s not always the most efficient use of space,” says Courtney Osborne, interior designer and co-founder, Nixon & Co. (opens in a new tab). “Using the back of a sofa is a great way to separate a dining room from a living room.”

A narrow room like the one above? Use the sofa arm for the same purpose.

10. Fall for blue

small bedroom with blue walls, pink bedside table, coral print armchair, bright pink blanket, plant, floral pillow, coral globe base table lamp with white shade, white curtains

(Image credit: Mel Bean Interiors)

If you are looking for a color that expands in space, consider the merits of blue. “Blue is the best color to make a space look bigger,” says color and paint expert Annie Sloan (opens in a new tab).

“It’s recessive, which means it draws the eye outward, blurs horizon lines and gives a sense of endless space. It is also a calming and meditative color that encourages us to breathe in and out, creating a psychological and spiritual sense of space as well as a physical illusion.