5 Small-Room Rules to Break

Forget what you've been taught! Top designers throw small-room decorating rules out the window and share how to maximize your space.

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Rule to Break: Hang Lots of Mirrors to Visually Expand a Space

True, mirrors reflect light, which can make a little space look brighter. And yes, mirrors will reflect the depth of the space to the opposite wall, making the room appear larger. But do you really want to look at a reflection of a blank wall - or stare at the same painting in duplicate?

"Sometimes," says New York-based designer Roderick N. Shade, "a room is so small that even if you mirrored every surface and every piece of furniture, you would just have a small mirrored room."

So, instead of turning your small space into a hall of mirrors, why not just accept its petite dimensions - and then line the walls with art and objects that you really love, as Elizabeth Blitzer did in the dining area of her 625-square-foot New York condo. "There really is nothing wrong with a small room," says Roderick Shade. "So sometimes it's best not to try and make it feel bigger. Just make it the best small room possible."

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