How to make a small space look bigger—from an interior designer + mama

You can still live large in a small space.


Because my family and I live in a tiny house off wheels, I've learned how to live large in a small space, maximizing the use of our small space with beautiful interior aesthetics and good function.

To me, interior design is about creating spaces with good intentions that encourage family and visitors to stay talking and laughing a little while longer. The design shouldn't be dictated by the size of the space, but rather by its primary use, which is to gather, love and grow, all while appreciating the things and people that surround us.

If you are considering downsizing, or are currently living in a small home and struggling with the challenges small spaces may bring as you grow your family, let me encourage you to live large in a small space.


My 950-square-foot home creates a communal feeling. This was an essential factor for me when I began to transform my house into a home, and as we grew into a family of four. My boys roam the house as they please, so creating a child-friendly home where they felt welcomed to play anywhere was important for them and us.

As an interior designer, here's how to make a small space look bigger in eight steps.

1. Declutter.

The first step to tackle before bringing in new space-saving, stylish and child-friendly ideas is to declutter entirely. This creates the extra space needed to grow as a family while only keeping the necessary and essential things in life.

2. Get stuff off the floor.

A great way to declutter is to raise stuff up off the floor. For example, bookshelves and wall units can be styled with essential daily items like books, toys, educational objects, kitchenware, bathroom essentials and house plants.

3. Choose fewer and bigger items for your home.

When choosing furniture, art and home décor items, opt for a few large scale pieces rather than several small pieces. This will create a sense of harmony throughout the space as well as visual interest.

Psst: Mirrors give a great illusion of space, so add a few to your walls!

4. Think like a minimalist.

A minimalist approach works well in small spaces. Minimalism is about identifying what is important to you and making sure that the unimportant things aren't occupying your space. This will free your mind from distractions and allow the essentials and beauty to rest in its space.

5. Don't be too cohesive.

When choosing a style or color scheme, don't be afraid to incorporate variety—just because you love one color, it doesn't mean it should be everywhere throughout the home. Your home can still work together without being monotone. You are full of charm and personality—it's okay to let your home reflect that!

6. Put corners to work.

Sectional sofas, cornered breakfast nooks, and pretty accent chairs to fill an underused corner can create some extra useful space that otherwise will be empty and lacking purpose. Try utilizing a corner with a wall sconces hovering over a big, comfortable and pretty accent chair that can be used for reading and snuggling with your little ones.

7. Incorporate nature and natural light.

Inviting nature and natural light into your space is therapeutic, and research has proven that it does improve your overall well-being— it decreases stress, lowers blood pressure and can improve your immune system. So bring home a pet, a plant or other organic elements to improve your well-being and the environment of your home.

8. Declutter again.

Approximately once every three months, do another decluttering sweep of your home. Stuff just accumulates, especially with kids. Continuing to remove unwanted items from your home will help it to feel light, and donating these items will help to teach your children about the importance of giving back to the community.

I can tell you without a single doubt, we have all the space we will ever need, and that having more or bigger space would simply justify wanting more stuff. Living in a small space has improved my family's relationships—we share most or all the spaces, which encourages healthy interaction and communication. Many times we gravitate towards each other because its what we are used to, and we find comfort in knowing we are always close. No matter where I am in my home, I can always hear their twinkle toes—as well as the meltdowns. But I wouldn't want it any other way.

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