Published on February 8, 2016

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

Fitting everything you need (and all that extra stuff you refuse to get rid of) into a teeny tiny space is no small task. Making it look good AND feel bigger? Nope, it’s not impossible. There are many small changes you can make to your space that may not make it feel like a palace, but will definitely make it feel less small. Read on for 13 tips to mentally expand your room.

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Photography by MYSCANDINAVIANHOME.COM

don’t tolerate clutter

This is the number one rule to creating a space that feels bigger. It’s easy to let mail pile up and hoard magazines and loose papers, but just stop. Eliminating (or simply organizing) all that extra clutter will make everything better.

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Photography by AMY BARTLAM

baskets are your friends

An easy way to organize and eliminate clutter is by finding a permanent place for loose items. You know those people who claim they live in an “organized mess”? This is for them (or you!). Hiding stuff you don’t want displayed—but need—in baskets is an easy way to look AND feel organized.

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Photography by APARTMENT THERAPY

make it multifunctional

When you live in a small space, you almost never have the luxury of having room for all the furniture you would like. Make your nightstand double as a desk, your dresser a vanity, or a bookshelf your dresser.

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

embrace minimalism

Minimalism is in—so take advantage. Clean out and get rid of (aka donate) excess items that aren’t important to you. If you’re hanging onto a print “just because” you’ve had it forever, toss it. If a piece of furniture or item isn’t bringing joy to you, it’s just another thing taking up space in your tiny room.

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

when in doubt, diy

Smaller than average spaces usually also feature awkward architecture that ikea furniture might not instantly fit into. DIY furniture (or additions to your furniture) that make it work for your space. Don’t be afraid to recruit handy friends with drills to make truly custom pieces that will stand out in your small home.

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Photography by Michael Wiltbank

choose slim furniture

Big, bulky furniture will just take up more space and look clunky. Instead, choose pieces with a slim, modern design.

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Photography by PAUL COSTELLO

buy the right window treatments

There are lots of tricks to hanging curtains that make windows—and your space—feel bigger. Hang your rod higher and make sure your drapes skim the floor. Anything that is too short or too long will just make your windows and walls look shorter. Look for light and airy fabrics and colors.

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Photography by michael wiltbank

organize your entryway

This is a no brainer. We all walk into our homes, throw our purse, shoes, coat, bags, umbrella, etc. (etc…) onto whatever surface we see first. Have a place for these things and they won’t look like clutter, they’ll become a part of your decor. We LOVE these ladders as a quick fix.

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Photography by MATTHEW WILLIAMS

lighting is everything

Harsh lighting is a bummer. It makes your space feel sterile, not warm and welcoming. Add floor lamps where you can for softer lighting that will make your room feel cozy, not commercial. Bonus: Finding an apartment with copious amounts of natural light.

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Photography by BETHANY NAUERT

mirrors

I know, I know. Everyone praises mirrors for opening up a space and instantly making it feel larger—but it really works. Incorporating at least one mirror into your decor will make a difference.

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

be choosy with wall colors

Know what feeling you’re trying to create in your tiny room. Dark colors can add depth and look regal while brights have the potential to put a smile on your face day after day. Light and airy colors always work, especially if you have lighter floors. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colors. An easy way to see if color is for you is to start with a bold statement wall.

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Photography by Michael Wiltbank

make every purchase intentional

Fill your home with pieces you REALLY love and adore and living in a tiny place won’t be so bad. Don’t buy something for the sake of filling your space. If it’s not exactly what you envisioned, don’t settle and definitely don’t buy it. Remember, when in doubt, DIY.

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

add shelves

Floating shelves are on trend and add a decorative touch and also storage space for pretty little things that are important to you and make you happy (like your shoes, maybe?). If you have a weird space that could benefit from lots of shelves, consider faking custom shelving.