Home decor. It’s the secret sauce behind walking into a home that takes your breath away. It’s the magic driving endless Pinterest boards and Instagram tags. It’s an entire industry filled with nuance, trends, seasonality, and skill. But home decor in small spaces? Notoriously difficult, often cramped, and hard to get just right.

We understand. You want to spice up your home decor game, but you just can’t seem to get it right for your small apartment. You’re starting to wonder if it’s even possible to make your small space seem bigger. We’re here to tell you it’s tough, yes, but it’s absolutely doable. You just need some advice, a bit of planning, and a lot of follow through. So sell your California-king bed and ditch that tiny mirror, and get ready — because these tips coming up are about to change your entire outlook on just how much you can do with so little.

Make It Tall and Skinny

Tall and skinny doesn’t just make for a good latte. When you approach the elements of your entire home with this mentality, your apartment will start to click. Long curtains and drapes add the illusion of space, as do tall bed frames. Skinny cabinets infuse a bit more breathing room into every room, and if you have the chance to do some remodeling, take a look at your windows. Tall (and in this case, large) windows go a long way to making an apartment or room feel bigger.

decorating small spaces

Learn to Love Large Mirrors

As you may have read in our article on must-have furniture pieces for small spaces, mirrors are your best friend when it comes to making a space feel larger than (small-space) life. Get your hands on a long vanity mirror to lean against a wall, or even the more artistic circular mirror to add some accent. If you really want to trick yourself (and your friends) into thinking your small space is anything but, check out this paneled mirror from Wayfair. It’s like adding another window to the living room!

Mount Everything on the Wall

One thing we recommend if you’re looking to make room in your apartment or your home is to turn wall space into floor space. That means mounting everything you can on walls, as long as it still looks good. When decorating vertically, think lamps (whether mounted or inset), cabinets, storage spaces, floating chairs, TVs — you name it. Just make sure you have the right screws and washers, and that your lease (if you have one) allows it.

room decorated with a simple color scheme

Use Simple and Focused Color Schemes

An age-old trick for opening up space in a cramped place is using white paint. And while this certainly helps, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid darker colors. We recommend picking a light color base if you want a very breathable area, or a dark color base if you’re looking for that jewelry-box effect. Stick to one or two accent colors to focus on, and anchor that color throughout the room or your home. When it comes to living small, simple is better.

Keep Your Floor Cleared and Organized

Square footage is valuable real estate when you aren’t working with much of it. Start by getting creative with storage space. Floor space becomes all that more important to keep cleared and organized. It’s a lot easier to notice clutter in a small area, so develop a system to go back through your apartment or home at the end of the day and pick up the little items that eventually tend to snowball. It’s an easy five minutes of your day, and it’s definitely worth it to make sure your walkways are, well, actually walkable.

room with good lighting

Make a room bigger with Lighting

There’s a reason why movie sets have entire teams dedicated to lighting. It can make or break a room! Though before you shine any lights, it helps to paint or wallpaper the ceiling to make the room look taller when you’ve got soft and hard lighting balancing with each other. Place vertical floor lamps in the corners of the room to draw your eyes across the whole area. You should consider wall lamps too, which free up valuable space below and scatter more light. But it’s not all about electric. Pulling in as much natural light from your windows will help reduce the cramped feeling of the place as well.

Balance with Feng Shui

Our final tip is that you decorate your pad with the careful touch of Feng Shui. This is especially important in smaller spaces, because it’s much easier to feel the contrast of ill-placed furniture and colors when everything is competing in close quarters. Approach your home decor with a sense of minimalism — understand that less is easier to balance than more. Find the centers of gravity in each room, depending on how you use it, and make sure any one area doesn’t feel like it’s overcompensating without the right counter-balancing element.

The beauty of home decor (and home remodeling) is that there are seemingly endless ways to bring your dream home to life. What tips did we miss? How did you make magic in your own small space? Tell us in the comments!

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