Transforming small rooms on a budget

Affordable Big Decorating Ideas for Small Rooms

by Kathy Wilson

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Decorating a small room is one of the biggest challenges many families have in their homes today. Making a small room work for your loved ones can be frustrating and confusing. Here are some great low budget ways to simply transform your small rooms no matter what your budget!

  1. First of all, determine if making your room look larger is really the way to go. After all, what's so great about large rooms? Maybe you want your living room to be comforting and to wrap people with warmth when they enter, or your bath to be charming, filled with personality everywhere you look. So don't be so quick to assume bigger is always better. You might just be creating a problem where there is none!
  2. Make the most of a small room you wish to make cozy by using warm rich colors. Drape the windows with fabric, and add throw blankets and pillows to cozy up with. You can buy inexpensive muslin and twist and swag it over a curtain rod for a casual but stunning frame to your windows. Buy flat sheets and sew up pillow covers, and make throws from fleece fabric from the craft store. Make your room cozy deliberately, and its special style will show through, not the size of the room.
  3. Reduce the clutter in a small room! This is the number one problem within small spaces, and also the fastest to fix. Take a box and remove all clutter from the room. Move out accessories, pillows, everything! Now bring things back one at a time, and stop when it's perfect. The key here is restraint.
  4. Use large-scale items in a small room. Now traditional rules about scale in a room would lead you to believe a small room needs small-scale furniture, but the opposite is true. Using just a few larger scale pieces reduces clutter and gives the eye a smoother trip across the room. The same goes for artwork! If you are trying to make a room look larger, go for one large print on the wall, or hang a decorative rug, instead of small collections.
  5. Related: Sectional Sofas in Small Spaces

  6. A simple tip to make rooms look larger? Keep your windows and slick surfaces sparkling clean. Believe it or not, the reflection of clean will make a room look brighter, fresher and larger. Try it!
  7. Paint just one focal wall a rich deep color to add depth to your room. Leave the other walls either white, or a much paler version of your accent wall and those walls will appear to fall away. Also keep in mind that cooler colors, such as greens and blues, tend to recede from the eye, while warmer colors such as reds and yellows seem to close in a room.
  8. Related: Colorful Ways to Expand Small Spaces

  9. Finally, remember to use as many double duty items in the room as possible to reduce clutter. A chest of drawers can hold a TV, and store all your magazines and games, a futon sofa can double as a guest room, and a pine chest makes a great coffee table, while storing extra linens.

Remember that it's not the size of the room, but it's the size of the heart that creates the room. Let yours show through with personality and creativity, not cash!

Kathy Wilson is an author, columnist, and editor of The Budget Decorator. For hundreds of free decorating ideas and to sign up for her free newsletter, visit her at

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