When it’s time to sell, your home needs to look its best. Light, airy and spacious are three things buyers look for, and if your home is square-footage challenged, you’ll want to learn how to make a small house look bigger.
“Smart staging is vital to successfully selling a home, and this couldn’t be truer than for a small home where earning maximum dollar per square foot is essential,” says Denver-based interior designer Tanya Campbell. “A tiny house can be very charming.”
While you don’t want to neutralize your home’s charm in an effort to make it appear larger, the following tips and tricks will provide a good starting point for turning it into a stylish home that appeals to buyers:
Getting rid of visual clutter is the first step, and you need to be prepared to look everywhere. From inside cabinets and closets to the surfaces of your home, put away or store anything you won’t use during the next few months, suggests Washington, D.C.-based interior designer Tracy Kay Griffin. “You need to showcase every bit of space,” she says.
2. Take Out Some Furniture
You want people to move freely about each space, and that might mean removing some furniture, says Jennifer Bertrand, interior designer and winner of HGTV’s “Design Star.” “If you need to, rearrange the furniture even if that is not how you lived with it,” she adds. “Less is more; imagine what would make you fall in love with your space again.”
Use a neutral paint color throughout your home, says Diana Hathaway Timmons, author of Sell Your Home Without Losing Your Zen. “A home with small rooms painted in assorted colors can look choppy and cluttered,” she says. “You don’t have to paint everything in plain white, but choose a soothing neutral that works in most every room.”
4. Pay Attention to Window Treatments
Keep the windows uncovered or draw open curtains or blinds to lend a sense of depth and airiness, advises Campbell. In addition, use treatments that match the color of the walls, as contrast tends to visually decrease a space.
5. Make the Most of Stripes
Choose throw rugs with horizontal stripes and place them along the length of the room to make the entire space seem longer, says Campbell, or make the space feel wider by placing the stripes width-wise.
6. Use Mirrors
Mirrors are a no-brainer way for figuring out how to make a small house look bigger because they reflect light and visually expand the space, says North Carolina-based designer Amy Bell. “One of my favorite current mirror trends is to hang a pair of matching mirrors above the nightstands flanking the bed to reflect lamplight and create a feeling of spaciousness,” she says, adding that there’s one caveat. “A mirror can be like adding a window, so it’s important to be mindful of the ‘view’ that is reflected.”
7. Ditch the Foot Board
Using only a headboard is one way to create more visual space in a bedroom. “Four-poster beds and canopy beds swallow visual space, so if you happen to have one of those, put it in storage and stage your bed with Euro pillows propped up behind the sleeping pillows to create the illusion of a headboard,” Bell suggests.
8. Pay Attention to Scale
Using smaller-sized pieces of furniture can make a room look larger, says Louisiana-based designer Tiffani Stutzman. “For example, use a small-scale love seat instead of a full-sized sofa.”
9. Draw the Eye Upward
Remove bookcases and hang shelves near the ceiling to add a sense of height, suggests Campbell. “This also provides great storage space without much bulk,” she adds. “You can also hang drapes from the height of the ceiling, rather than the top of the window to make windows appear larger.”
10. Create a Focal Wall
Create interest in a room by adding a focal wall of paint or wallpaper. You can even use safe-stick wallpaper. “They’re like a big sticker and they pull off without damaging the walls,” says Bertrand.
While these tips will show you how to make your home look bigger, Campbell says you shouldn’t worry too much. “There is a tiny home movement going on, so play up the efficiencies of a small home — more energy-efficient, less to maintain, rooms that can function for many purposes,” she adds. “Often it is the unique characteristics and quirks of your home that make your home stand out and draw buyers in.”