6 Designer Tricks to Make Your Small Apartment Feel Big

Short on square footage? Try these designer-approved ways to stretch your space.

Often short on space and storage, small apartments can present a long list of challenges. Chicago-based interior designers Shea Soucie and Martin Horner of Soucie Horner, Ltd. know even cramped spaces can live larger than they really are. “To us, timelessness, elegance and luxury are musts — regardless of square footage,” Martin says. “The greatest luxury of all is to feel embraced by your surroundings, which is easier to accomplish in a small space anyway,” Shea says.

Read on for Shea’s and Martin’s space-stretching ideas:

Use Mirrors to Visually Increase Space

Contemporary Gray Entryway With Tall Mirror & Black & Pink Ottoman

Foyer Features Full Length Mirror & Tufted Ottoman

The floor mirror was specifically designed to reflect the study and to make the space feel larger. The tufted ottoman provides seating in addition to being a sculptural element.

Photo by: Sean Litchfield

Sean Litchfield

Utilize mirrors to bounce light, reflect views and instantly enlarge the feel of any space. Lean an oversize mirror against the wall opposite your front door to create drama and visually expand your entryway. Boost your kitchen’s glamour quotient by installing a mirrored backsplash, or line the insides of glass-front kitchen cabinets with mirror.

Opt for Sleek Furnishings

Living Room With Gray & White Rug, Chairs, Starburst Clock

Gray And White Midcentury Modern Living Room

Decked out in geometric patterns, decorative art and low-slung furniture, this living room lives in serious midcentury modern style. A starburst clock keeps time on the gray wall, while a sleek coffee table keeps a low-profile on the striped area rug.

Steer clear of skirted sofas and bulky coffee tables in the living room. Instead, opt for sleek furnishings with open bottoms and slender legs to create an airy mood.

Raise Draperies

Living Room With White Leather Sofa

Eclectic Living Room With Bold Chartreuse Drapes

Bright green drapes add a colorful impact to this white eclectic living room. The room also features a gorgeous white leather sofa, animal hide rug, and large deer sculpture.

Install drapery rods closer to the ceiling rather than the tops of windows. It’s a simple way to fool the eye upward and create an elegant illusion of height.

Go Double Duty

Transitional Brown Family Room With Storage Ottomans

Cozy Family Room With Storage Ottomans

Red and white ottomans serve as a coffee table in this cozy family room. Great for propping your feet up, they also open to reveal deep storage for throws, board games and more.

Choose furnishings that are multipurpose and boost functionality: nightstands with drawers; bookshelves that feature a combination of open display space and closed storage; and upholstered ottomans that can act as both coffee tables and extra seating.

Climb the Walls

Wainscoting Used as Bedroom Shelf

Wainscoting Used as Bedroom Shelf

Too often, vertical wall space is underutilized. Line walls with picture rail molding to add instant architecture and display. Mimic a headboard and conserve precious floor space by affixing wood or leather panels directly to the wall behind the bed.

Use Deep Hues

Sheepskin Rug in Black Transitional Bedroom

Winter Bedroom Sheepskin Rug and Linens in Black Bedroom

Textile designer, Khristian A. Howell, says, "Put your feet first. A dramatic and easy way to change things up in a room is by bringing in a great rug. Sheepskin rugs are so wonderful for the winter months. They feel wonderful under foot, and bring lots of warmth into the room, while keeping a light airy feeling."

Embrace the idea of deep, dark walls. Chocolate, navy and inky green tones will make corners recede, creating the impression of more space.

Lifestyle Blogger's Tiny Home

See All Photos

Shop This Look

Next Up

6 Tiny Houses That Squeeze Function Into Every Square Foot

These homes featured on HGTV's 'Tiny House, Big Living' are small on square footage but big on function. Take a tour, then decide: Would you spring for a home sweet tiny home?

Love Fixer Upper? See 5 Ways to Bring Joanna's Style Home

HGTV.com shares 5 charming home design ideas from Fixer Upper's Joanna Gaines.

8 Questions With Designer Jamie Herzlinger

Get to know this master of high-end, contemporary spaces.

Our 10 Favorite Designers to Watch on Instagram Stories

We've got even more inspiration at our fingertips.

9 Design Tricks We Learned From Joanna Gaines

So, you're a 'Fixer Upper' fan? So are we, and we've rounded up the top 9 design tricks from co-host Joanna Gaines.

6 Ways to Score Big While Shopping Vintage Online

Mix-and-match these vintage and antique search terms below to find all the best finds in your city (or across the country!).

6 Easy Design Tips for Renters You Can Actually Afford

It's really possible to customize your rental space without a trust fund or lottery win. Here's how.

6 Ways to Glam Up Your Instagram and Make Everyone Jealous

It's time to ignite your inner creativity, and you don't need an expensive camera to do it.

The 6 Scariest Things About Being a Homeowner

That feeling when something breaks and you can't call your landlord.

6 Things People With Super Clean Homes Do Every Day

We all have that friend. Get their secrets.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.