How to Make Small Rooms Look Bigger (On a Budget!)

Limited space does not mean you need to have limited interior design options! There are several ways to maximize your small space and trick the eye to make the room look even larger, while still adding your personal style touches. Here are some interior design hacks to inspire your smaller rooms’ décor. 

Choosing the Right Furniture 

Try choosing more streamlined furniture with legs that lift it off the ground, rather than going all the way down to the floor.  

If you opt for a floor-length bench or ottoman, however, you can choose those with hidden storage inside to maximize your space and utilize your furniture as additional storage space!  

Coordinate your furniture to the color of the walls or flooring. You cannot go wrong with glass tables – not only does glass match with every style décor, but it also creates a clear, more open look.  

 Dark wooden shutters

Minimize Clutter 

Small knick-knacks and art pieces can create a more cluttered look. Instead of several small décor items, try sticking to a few larger statement pieces. This way you can still express your unique style with some conversation pieces.  

Keep in mind “less is more” and “quality over quantity” - though they may be cliched, they are great advice for timeless style especially when space is limited. Try a large hanging focal art piece, rather than several smaller ones.  

Area rugs, while stylish, may add to the cluttered feel and encroach on the wide-open look you are going for. Try keeping the floor as clear as possible to make the room appear even larger.  


Reflect Light 

Mirrors are a great addition to a small space. For the best room-opening effect, position a mirror on a wall opposite a window.  

Choose bright colors that reflect sunlight. In addition to keeping windows open to allow in the natural sunlight, try adding multiple sources of light to brighten up a room (overhead lighting, table lamps, and floor lamps).  

When choosing your window coverings, plantation shutters are a great option as the open slats allow sunlight to come flooding through, even if the panels are closed for privacy.  

Choose a brightly colored shutter, such as our Vivid White which will reflect the sunlight creating a more open look. If your window recess allows, choose a large slat size like 4 ½" slats to get the most sunlight coming in, and the cleanest lines with fewer slats in each shutter panel.  

White living room shutters

Choose the Right Colors 

While contrast walls or pops of color can add a focal point to draw the eye, another option is to keep all your colors coordinating. By painting the walls, ceiling, baseboards and trim all the same color, you keep the flow open rather than drawing the eye to the borders of the room (which can make it look more closed off if there is a distinct contrast between the walls and the ceilings or baseboards).  

If going for contrasting colors within one room, keep in mind that light, bright colors will open up a room. Go for sharp contrast colors (very light or very dark contrast) as opposed to medium, duller or more neutral/creamy tones. 

Choose a plantation shutter in a matching color to your window trim or your contrasting pop of color. Choose from our standard paint or stain options, or even a custom color to match an existing Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore paint. 

>>Order Free Shutter Color Samples  

 Blue wooden shutters

Let the Sun Shine In with Plantation Shutters 

The right window covering can really help open up a small space! While curtains are heavy and tend to cover a large area on the wall, plantation shutters are custom fit to the size of your window opening and can recess right into your window well to sit flush with the wall (or protrude a minimal amount to allow your slats to fully open and close if the window is not recessed quite deep enough).  

With slats ranging from 2 ½" up to 4 ½" wide, you will get plenty of sunlight shining through when your shutters’ slats are opened. You can also fully swing the shutter panels open to completely reveal the window when desired.  

Full height shutters cover your full window from top to bottom. These are the easiest to install and provide the most privacy when needed, but still allow you to fully access the window when needed as well. Add a mid-rail to allow you to open the top portion separately for light to come through while still having privacy.  

Café style shutters cover only the lower portion of the window opening, leaving the top portion always open to let in sunlight throughout the day. These are also a more cost-effective option if you do not wish to have the upper portion of the window covered up.  

Tier on tier style shutters are split to allow you to open the upper and lower panels independently of one another, so you can have the same look and function of either full height or café style all in one.  

Modern Shutter Design Details 

Traditional shutters have smaller slats with a central tilt rod to open and close the slats. However, if you are looking to make a small room appear bigger, you may want to opt for some more modern design spec options to create cleaner lines and allow more sunlight to enter the room.  

An inside mount, if recess depth allows, will maximize space in the room, as the shutter will not protrude out past the wall.  

>>Measuring Guides 

Wider slats will allow more light to enter the room. Even our smallest 2 ½" slats let in plenty of light and are idea for shorter windows. Slats come in 2 ½", 3”, 3 ½", 4” or 4 ½" depending upon which material you choose. 

Choose a clearview or hidden tilt rod for cleaner lines, eliminating the central tilt rod. Even an offset tilt rod will give you the style and function of a central tilt rod, but it is off to the hinged side of the shutter panel creating a more open look.  


Create a Faux Window  

Faux window shutter cover

Rooms without a window tend to look smaller and more closed off. If there is no window in the room, you can do a creative special project and use an outside mount shutter on the wall to create the illusion of a window.  

Cover any open loft spaces or room dividers with a plantation shutter for privacy, but still be able to open the slats or panels when desired to open up the space.  

>>Home Décor Projects You Can Do With Shutters 

DIY hacks to save money 

All of the above design hacks can be done yourself to save money – yes, even the shutters! Follow our step by step measuring and installation guides to walk you through every step of the way. Plus, utilize the help of our seasoned shutter experts to give you tips on design, measuring, installation, troubleshooting and maintenance – we are here for you!  

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