Q. Dear Andrew, the rooms in my home are not particularly big. How can I make them appear bigger?

A. Start by asking yourself if you could just reorganise and declutter to create more space. Nothing makes a small room look smaller than a cluttered, messy room, so clear it out and have a good sort. People often blame a messy room on lack of storage and in a small room, it is absolutely essential that you have appropriate storage that works well. If you have awkward spaces in the room, it is worth spending some money to get some bespoke furniture.

If you have a couple of small rooms, you may want to consider knocking them down to open up the space, but do think carefully if a large open space would work for you. Alternatively, if you don’t want to change the structure, then use focal points in other rooms to draw the eye through the smaller room and beyond.

When decorating choose light, softer colours which will embrace the feeling of openness, and unless the room benefits from very good natural light then steer clear of darker colours. They absorb light, making a room look small, while light, bright colours reflect light and maximize the effects created by natural light. A tonal decorating scheme works very well for a smaller space, so focus on one colour with various shades for different aspects of the room. Add interest by using a textured wallpaper – horizontal stripes on a feature wall can enhance your sense of space – and bring stronger colours into the room through a few well-chosen accessories. Paint the woodwork the same colour as the walls to make the space seem larger and ensure the ceiling is a lighter shade (white usually) than the walls.

Use the same flooring throughout, and if you want a wooden or tiled floor, think about how you lay it ?– laying it on the diagonal helps to enlarge a space.

In terms of furniture and fabrics, don’t hang heavy curtains: let the light into the room with roman blinds which will still let in a lot of light even when pulled. Use mirrors to bounce this light around the room – in a bedroom, have mirrored furniture (currently very on trend). Counter-intuitively perhaps, bigger is often better for furniture.

Use a few simple pieces and have glass in your furniture wherever possible: for example, a glass table creates less of a barrier to the eye than a heavy wooden one. Extendable furniture is great and wall-hung furniture that doesn’t reduce floor-space makes a room look bigger – this is especially true in a bathroom.

Andrew Dunning is the creative director of APD Interiors, an interior design company based in London. Follow him at or go to