How to make your home feel bigger – without making structural changes (2023)

If your home has been feeling a little crowded and cramped lately, you've probably been wondering if making structural changes is the best solution. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be, and there are surprising numbers of ways to learn how to make your home feel bigger without structural changes, that will do the job at a fraction of the price.

Extending is great, but it's a costly venture that simply isn't within reach for a lot of people. Kitchen extension costs for example are pretty high, and that's just one room of the house. So if it's at all possible to learn how to make rooms feel bigger without breaking the bank, we say bring them on.

'If your home is tight on space, there are several easy ways to make your space more functional, without having to make any major changes,' says Matthew Currington, Technical Director, The Lighting Superstore (opens in new tab).

We've asked the experts to tell us all so that we can help you transform tight spaces into gloriously spacious living areas. Whether you're working with small kitchen ideas or small bedroom ideas (or both), our guide shares tips from leading industry experts that can be applied to any room in the house.

How to make your home feel bigger without structural changes

If you've been wondering how to make your home feel bigger without structural changes, you've come to the right place. Many of the ideas in our guide are budget-friendly but effective, and implementing just one or two of them will make a world of difference in how big your home feels.

1. Declutter and organise

How to make your home feel bigger – without making structural changes (1)

(Image credit: Future Plc/Dominic Blackmore)

Making a room look bigger without structural changes begins with a good declutter. 'Clutter makes spaces feel smaller and less usable, so it’s important to make sure you keep your home clutter-free if you want to make it feel bigger', says Lee Trethewey, Interiors Expert, Sustainable Furniture (opens in new tab).

So start first with getting rid of anything you don't need - if you haven't used it in the last year, you're probably not going to use it in the next either. Equally, anything that is out on display that isn't adding value to the space can go too. Keep display items to a minimum; it's better to have fewer, larger statement pieces placed carefully around the home, than lots of little knick-knacks springing up everywhere, which is a sure way to make your rooms feel overcrowded.

Large vases, bigger picture frames and statement clocks are all stylish, simple ways to decorate without compromising your sought-after spacious feel.

2. Lighting is key

How to make your home feel bigger – without making structural changes (2)

(Image credit: Future PLC / Anna Stathaki)

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It's probably no surprise that lighting will make a huge difference to how big or small your house feels. Good lighting has the power to give walls and ceilings the appearance of being higher than they actually are, and on the reverse side, it can physically draw the walls inwards and make a room feel smaller.

The hot new lighting trends for 2023 will give you plenty of inspiration, but it's just as much about how you position the fixtures as it is the fixtures themselves. 'Wall sconces with uplighting are a good choice, as they don’t take up any floor room,' says Chris Bawden, Lighting Expert, Simple Lighting (opens in new tab). 'If you already have a floor lamp which can be angled, point it up rather than down. The same goes for table lamps.'

Ceiling lights can be tricky to navigate if you have low ceilings or a small room. Ideally, you don’t want anything that will dominate a cosy space, or anything you could walk into, so ditch the idea of a chandelier.

Chris says, 'Flush ceiling lights are a good alternative for low ceilings. If you do want to have a pendant light, choose something small which doesn’t make your room look cluttered, or hang it over a dining table or a kitchen island instead.' Pendant lights without a shade are a good option, and work particularly well with modern kitchen ideas.

3. Consider internal glazing

How to make your home feel bigger – without making structural changes (3)

(Image credit: Origin)

Another way to learn how to make your home look bigger without structural changes is to install internal glazing, either as a wall or a door. If your kitchen is separated from your dining or living area with a solid door, consider replacing this with a transparent alternative to create an open-plan kitchen. This will dramatically increase the feeling of spaciousness in your home.

'Internal glazing is a great solution for modern family life as it allows homes to maintain functional, separate rooms whilst enabling natural light to freely flow through the space,' explains Victoria Brocklesby, COO, Origin (opens in new tab). 'This makes rooms appear bigger than they actually are.'

Glass sliding doors are a more costly investment than standard doors, but they maximise the all-important flow of light and definitely help make rooms feel bigger, so they're well worth considering.

4. Choose soft colours for walls and ceilings

How to make your home feel bigger – without making structural changes (4)

(Image credit: Interior Fox)

'To make a small room look bigger it’s always a good idea to opt for nice, bright shades,' says Chris, Simple Lighting. 'This doesn’t mean everything has to be magnolia, but I would steer clear of dark walls and busy statement wallpaper.'

Light, neutral colours on the walls will maintain an airy feeling in the room, whereas deeper and darker shades will have the opposite effect. And don't make the mistake of thinking that lighter paint on the walls is a boring style choice; there are plenty of beige living room ideas that will create an enviable front room, for example.

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'Painting skirting boards and window frames to match the wall colour is also a simple but stylish touch for the living room,' says Justyna Korczynska, Senior Designer, Crown (opens in new tab). 'Not only does this create a contemporary, monochromatic look, but it's also an easy way of creating the illusion of bigger walls, making the room a whole appear more spacious.'

5. Maximise your storage

How to make your home feel bigger – without making structural changes (5)

(Image credit: Future PLC)

When learning how to make rooms feel bigger, storage is your best friend. In every room, maximise storage possibilities by utilising your furniture and fixtures. For example, kitchen island ideas can offer space to store larger kitchen appliances that don't need to be out on the worktop all the time, as well as your dinnerware and cooking pots. Living room storage ideas will help to create a visually calm and enlarged space by concealing everyday items.

In small bedrooms, make the bed go beyond its purpose as a snoozing spot and turn it into a storage space as well. 'If you’re not keen on exposed storage boxes underneath a bed,a storage bed or ottoman bed is a great option', says Jonathan Warren, Director and Bed Specialist, Time4Sleep (opens in new tab). 'They'll provide you with a hidden storage space to reduce clutter that’s effectively the same size as your bed.'

Consider incorporating a mixture of hidden and open storage in each room for visual variety; too much open storage will make a room look cluttered, but too much hidden storage can make the space feel uninteresting.

6. Mirrors on the walls

How to make your home feel bigger – without making structural changes (6)

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Who said that mirrors only belong in bedrooms and bathrooms? The best mirrors can bring glamour to any room in the house, and their light-reflecting qualities make a dramatic difference to how big a room feels too.

Take care with where you hang your mirrors. A mirror opposite the door will immediately make the space feel bigger as you enter. Don't place your mirrors too high or they'll only reflect the ceiling rather than the rest of the room.

'Consider propping your mirror onto a mantelpiece or shelf as an alternative to hanging it so the mirror hangs lower,' says Amy Wilson, Interior Design Expert, 247 Blinds (opens in new tab) & Curtains (opens in new tab) . 'Propping small mirrors onto shelves and windowsills helps extend the line of sight beyond the items placed around them and works particularly well if you pop something metallic in front.'

7. Opt for blinds over curtains

How to make your home feel bigger – without making structural changes (7)

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(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

If the windows in your home are currently fixed with curtains, consider swapping these for blinds instead. Blinds are better at letting light from the window flood a room, and will instantly make a space feel brighter and more open. They take up less space than curtains as well.

'Venetian blinds, pleated blinds and roller blinds can easily be fitted snugly into the recess of a window, creating a beautiful window withouttaking up additional space in a room,' says Oliver Hudson, Blinds By Post (opens in new tab).

Like with paint colours, opt for light blinds over dark. 'Whilst you may want to match your blinds to existing interiors, choosing darker blinds can make a room look much smaller,' says Oliver. 'When choosing light and fresh colours such as light grey, beige, white or cream on the other hand, you can make a space look much more open and bigger.'

8. Make your space multipurpose

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(Image credit: Ikea)

Try not to see the rooms in your house as serving completely separate functions. Instead, work with the space you have and use one area for multiple things. Small hallway ideas can still produce a lot of storage space for outerwear etc., and you can even create an ample office area by using a console table as a desk.

'Consider using shelves to differentiate between living and sleeping spaces,' says Matthew, The Lighting Superstore. 'A bamboo screen or curtains hung on a tension rod are ideal for helping to separate the spaces too.'

He adds, 'consider a movable kitchen island to maximise space in an open-plan kitchen. This is ideal for extra kitchen storage and use as a dining space.'

9. Place shelves up high

How to make your home feel bigger – without making structural changes (9)

(Image credit: Future PLC )

Smaller spaces benefit from shelves sitting higher up the wall than usual. 'This gives the impression that the room is taller, and therefore bigger than it really is,' explains Lee, Sustainable Furniture. 'The lower the shelving, the more compact any room feels.'

Placing photos and framed pieces of artwork on these shelves will naturally draw the eye upwards and add height to the room. The same applies if you're hanging any decor on the wall; place it a few inches higher than planned and you'll be surprised at the difference it makes.

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'Don’t go too high, it isn’t supposed to be really obvious, and you don’t want to get a sore neck from looking up all the time,' says Chris from Simple Lighting.

10. Be smart with flooring patterns

How to make your home feel bigger – without making structural changes (10)

(Image credit: Industville)

'You may not be able to take on structural change to your walls and floors, but you can look to change its appearances to give the illusion of a larger room,' says Carolina Hansson, Head of Design, Luxury Flooring & Furnishings (opens in new tab). 'You want to pick patterns that give the appearance they are extending the size of the floor. Solid Wood or Engineered Wood flooring styles are great to achieve this.'

If you're still wondering how to make rooms look bigger after trying all of the ideas above, switching out your flooring could be a worthy investment. It won't take as long as proper structural changes, but it will make a massive difference to the overall feel of the space. Wide plank flooring is cost-effective, as you need less of it to fill the room. Like with paintwork, stick to lighter colours so the rooms appear brighter.

How do you make a house feel bigger than it is?

When learning how to make your home look bigger without structural changes, minimalism is key; you want to avoid clutter as this quickly makes a room feel overcrowded. Streamline your decor, and stick to fewer pieces that can make a big statement on their own.

Look also at your colour schemes. Focus on light colours to brighten up each room. 'Bring in areas of a pale colour that will reflect the available light – this could be in stripes or a series of checks or squares,' says Justyna, Crown.

'Whatever shade of paint you opt for on your walls, make sure your ceiling is painted at least one shade lighter,' expands Chris, Simple Lighting.'This will create the effect that your ceilings are higher and make your room look light, bright and spacious.'

Go big on lighting fixtures too. 'Consider creating a layered approach by combining dimmable ceiling lights with floor lamps and wall sconces,' suggests Rebecca Snowden, Interior Style Advisor, Furniture And Choice (opens in new tab). 'And let natural light in through sheer curtains or lightweight blinds.'

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(Image credit: Future PLC / David Giles)

What makes a house look smaller?

The quantity of light is the biggest determiner of how big or small a room looks. To the human eye, more light equals more space, and less light equals less space. Anything that prevents light from flooding into a room, such as a heavy pair of curtains, will make it feel significantly smaller.

'Large curtains and blinds can make a room seem smaller and can also take up quite a bit of essential space,' suggests Thomas Goodman, Property Expert, MyJobQuote (opens in new tab). 'Instead, choose simple window stylings such as a roller blind. A light coloured roller blind can work well in ensuring the room stays light and airy.'

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'Light is important in making your home feel big, and this doesn't stop at lighting,' says Lee, Sustainable Furniture. 'Opt for light shades on the walls instead of dark, as the darker the walls, the closer they feel to each other and therefore the smaller any room feels.'

Playing around with lighting and colour tones is crucial when learning how to make rooms feel bigger; you'll be surprised at the difference they make, and they're so much more cost-friendly than making structural changes too.


How do you make your house feel bigger? ›

Make your small space feel bigger with these tips
  1. Use lighter shade paint colours. Lighter paint colours will reflect the natural light and make the room feel larger. ...
  2. Create flow through flooring. ...
  3. Take the doors off. ...
  4. Opt for minimalist window treatments. ...
  5. Use mirrors. ...
  6. Furnish wisely. ...
  7. Decorate with restraint.
Jul 13, 2018

What makes your house look bigger? ›

Use contrasts and light colors

In the design world, it's well known that light paint colors make a room look bigger and brighter. Light and bright walls are more reflective, making a space feel open and airy, which helps maximize natural light's effect. Dark shades tend to absorb light, making rooms feel smaller.

How can I make my small house more functional? ›

August 25, 2021
  1. #1 - Plan the perfect layout. ...
  2. #2 - Create an effective entryway. ...
  3. #3 - Get smart with storage. ...
  4. #4 - Give every room a purpose. ...
  5. #5 - Make spaces multipurpose. ...
  6. #6 - Stick to a cleaning and decluttering schedule. ...
  7. #7 - Select functional furniture. ...
  8. #8 - Extend living to the outdoors.
Aug 25, 2021

What to do when your house feels small? ›

Clean floors and tabletops go a long way in making your small spaces look larger, and it only costs you a bit of physical effort. A room will always feel larger if you keep it clean and organized. But don't take our word for it - try it yourself, and find out!

What color furniture makes room look bigger? ›

What Colors Make a Room Look Bigger? “For a small space, nothing beats airy blues and crisp whites,” says Nivara Xaykao, Benjamin Moore color and design expert. “Blues recede, which can give the illusion of opening up a space,” she explains.

What adds the biggest value to a house? ›

Projects That Boost Your Home's Value
  • Remodel the kitchen. Updates to the kitchen pay off. ...
  • Upgrade the appliances. ...
  • Boost the bathrooms. ...
  • Remodel the attic or basement. ...
  • Get decked out. ...
  • Boost curb appeal. ...
  • Improve energy efficiency.

What color makes house look bigger? ›

Choose light colors

Making the exterior of your home a light color is the best way to make your home look larger, brighter, and more inviting. Light colors such as white, ivory, pale gray, and sage green reflect higher amounts of light than dark colors, tricking the eye into perceiving the home as larger than it is.

What adds value to a small house? ›

8 ways to increase the value of your home
  • Clean and declutter. ...
  • Add usable square footage. ...
  • Make your home more energy-efficient. ...
  • Spruce it up with fresh paint. ...
  • Work on your curb appeal. ...
  • Upgrade your exterior doors. ...
  • Give your kitchen an updated look. ...
  • Stage your home.
Jul 5, 2022

What small home improvements add the most value? ›

8 Home Improvements That Add the Most Value
  • Redo your kitchen.
  • Refinish or install hardwood flooring.
  • Upgrade your insulation.
  • Convert a basement or attic to a living area.
  • Buy new siding.
  • Get new roofing.
  • Replace your garage door.
  • Install new vinyl or wood windows.
Nov 6, 2022

What makes a house low in value? ›

Changes in the real estate market can lower the value of your home. Natural disasters and climate change can lower your property value because the property is a greater risk to purchase. Foreclosures in your neighborhood can also drive down property value.

How do you make a narrow house feel wider? ›

10 Ways to Make A Narrow Lot Home Feel Bigger
  1. Light is your friend. ...
  2. Keep things off the floor. ...
  3. Stick to a colour scheme. ...
  4. Elongate the room. ...
  5. Multifunctional furniture is the best. ...
  6. Window coverings matter. ...
  7. Make a statement. ...
  8. Have a spring clean.

How do you make a small house feel luxurious? ›

40 ways to make your home look and feel luxurious
  1. Paint a feature wall.
  2. Go big with wall art.
  3. Redecorate/paint.
  4. Use colour cleverly.
  5. Declutter.
  6. Decorate with candles and mirrors.
  7. Add house plants and flowers.
  8. Update your glass and tableware.
Feb 23, 2022

Do rooms look bigger with or without furniture? ›

Empty rooms almost always appear smaller than they really are because without furniture … it has no frame of reference. This empty room had doorways everywhere and a small fireplace that would make buyers feel like their furniture would absolutely not fit.

What colors make a house look expensive? ›

Use a neutral base

A great way to ensure you're in keeping with the luxury look is to make sure your large, base pieces are neutral-toned – so think white, off-white, cream, taupe, beige, grey. A lot of high-end spaces will use neutral furniture and then will bring in accessories and textiles for pattern and color.

What kind of flooring makes a room look bigger? ›

Think cream carpets, natural and neutral toned tiles and whitewashed wood flooring. These attractive, light and neutral colours give a room an open and airy feel, making it appear larger, whilst also drawing in the natural sunlight from outside.

What kind of sofa makes a room look bigger? ›

Sofas with slim bases and higher legs let the light disperse from underneath. Also, keeping within the same color palette, the space will feel larger and more cohesive, which will allow it to feel less disjointed. '

How do I make my house feel open? ›

7 Ways to Make Your Home Feel Bigger and Brighter
  1. Declutter, declutter, declutter. Decluttering is an obvious first step to clearing up your space. ...
  2. Clear the floors and the walls. ...
  3. Store smartly. ...
  4. Mirrors are magic. ...
  5. Be deliberate with your decor. ...
  6. Keep the furniture low. ...
  7. Utilize lighting.
Jun 13, 2022

How do I make my house more appealing to buyers? ›

How to Make Your Home More Appealing to Buyers
  1. #1: Get Rid of the Clutter. ...
  2. #2: De-Personalize the Home. ...
  3. #3: Paint Everything a Neutral Color. ...
  4. #4: Update Your Lighting if Necessary. ...
  5. #5: Address Any Pet Issues. ...
  6. #6: Make Minor Repairs. ...
  7. #7: Give the Home a Thorough Cleaning. ...
  8. #8: Have Your Home Inspected.
May 22, 2017

What doesn't add value to a house? ›

Key Takeaways. Water features like hot tubs and pools don't add home value and can cause disinterest from potential buyers. Installing garage doors has a 94% return on investment. HELOCs and cash-out refinances are two options to help pay for home renovations.

What is the biggest selling point of a house? ›

The rooms buyers most closely inspect (and judge) in a house are the kitchen and master bath. These are the interior spaces where the most value can be added during a sale, so they need to look their best.

What not to fix when selling a house? ›

Fixing cosmetic damage

Sure, peeling paint, a weathered back door and scuffed floors may make things look a little run-down, but if you are looking to save some cash on repairs and renovations, you'll rather want the money to be put to good use.

What color houses sell faster? ›

"Generally, going with neutral colors like shades of white, beige, taupe, and grays lead to a faster sale," she shares. "Neutral colors are also more appealing to potential buyers because many want the creative freedom of a blank canvas to add their personal touches to when looking for a new place to call home.

What color house has the highest resale value? ›

White – White is always a classic color that will never go out of style. White painted siding has the highest resale value, but it's also one of the most complex colors to maintain since it shows dirt and grime easily.

What house colors attract buyers? ›

"Blues, grays, greens, and whites are timeless, calming colors that allow potential buyers to see a home as a fresh, clean slate.

How can I make my kitchen look expensive? ›

10 Cheap Ways To Make Your Kitchen Look Expensive
  1. Update hardware. ...
  2. Use lighter colors. ...
  3. Replace cabinet doors. ...
  4. Change lighting. ...
  5. Use artwork. ...
  6. Paint your appliances stainless steel. ...
  7. Add window treatments. ...
  8. Style your breakfast nook.
Nov 26, 2014

How wealthy are you if you own a house? ›

Primary Residence

Keep in mind that when you determine your net worth, you must subtract your liabilities—including your mortgage. If your home is valued at $300,000 and you owe $200,000 on your mortgage, your home will effectively add $100,000 to your net worth ($300,000 - $200,000 = $100,000 equity).

Does painting increase home value? ›

Increase your home's value

Both interior and exterior painting are projects with a significant return-on-investment (ROI). On average nationally, painting both the inside and outside of your home yields a $4,000+ value bump. That's a 107% ROI for interior painting and a 55% ROI for exterior painting.

How to stage your home to sell for top dollar? ›

Staging Your Home to Sell for Top Dollar
  1. Clean & Declutter Your Home. Photo via @sharon_arny_interior_design. ...
  2. Remove Personal Items. ...
  3. Furnish Empty Spaces. ...
  4. Let in Natural Light. ...
  5. Hire a Professional Photographer. ...
  6. Choose the Right Paint Color for Your Walls. ...
  7. Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal. ...
  8. Upgrade Carpets & Floors.
Oct 28, 2022

Do fences increase property value? ›

A fence can increase value to your home by adding curb appeal if it enhances the visual appeal or some other aspect of your home, such as adding privacy. Significantly improving security may also add more value where break-ins are common.

What home improvements don't increase property value? ›

Overly High-End Renovations

Choosing the most expensive door hardware, internal light fixtures, etc, are examples of upgrades that you don't get your money back on because people can't see and feel the value added.” Chiaramonte also says that homeowners often overspend on choices that no one else will notice but them.

What makes a house unsellable? ›

Factors that make a home unsellable "are the ones that cannot be changed: location, low ceilings, difficult floor plan that cannot be easily modified, poor architecture," Robin Kencel of The Robin Kencel Group at Compass in Connecticut, who sells homes between $500,000 and $28 million, told Business Insider.

What decreases home appraisal? ›

What negatively affects a home appraisal? One of the big things that can have a negative affect is the age and condition of the home's systems (HVAC, plumbing) and appliances. If the local market is declining, that'll also hurt your home's appraised value.

Does a dark accent wall make a room look bigger? ›

Does a black accent wall make the room look smaller? It is a common misconception that painting walls black or another dark color will make the room appear smaller. In fact the opposite is true - dark walls make a space appear larger.

Does dark furniture make a room look smaller? ›

Dark furniture can be a good choice when you have a large, spacious room that feels too big to be comfortable. It helps shrink that room, making it more intimate and more inviting. If you have a small room, however, furniture in darker tones may appear to shrink it even more, so that it feels stifling or overcrowded.

Does a house sell better empty or staged? ›

A staged home sells for more than an empty home

In general, a staged home will sell quicker than a non-staged home, and at a higher price too! 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less, and a staged home will sell for 17% more than a non-staged home.

Is it better to show a house empty or with furniture? ›

Staging an empty house is just as important as staging a fully furnished one. It might even be a bit easier to do since there's no need to depersonalize the space or find somewhere to hide any clutter. The goal when you stage a home without furniture is to highlight those features that you do have.

Does a house show better empty or furnished? ›

If done nicely, a furnished house looks far better than an empty house. It can attract potential buyers and convince them to prefer your property over other houses for sale in the locality. The more aesthetically appealing the interior of the house, the faster will be the sales process.


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