Whether you live in a cosy apartment or an airy, open-plan house, at some point it may start to feel cluttered or crowded. It’s perfectly normal – as we accumulate new things, we naturally run out of space to put it all.

Fortunately, there are plenty of styling tricks to make a small or shrinking space look and feel bigger. And for most of us, it’s as much about what not to do as it is about what to do.

Here are 7 styling mistakes that you should avoid if you want to create the illusion of more space. Try them out and share them with us on Instagram at #amartstyle!

1. Contrasting Flooring

A small room will seem even smaller when defined and separated by contrasting flooring. Try maintaining one type of flooring flowing from the hallway into other rooms to create the illusion of more space. If you’re a sucker for carpet in the bedroom but want to stick to timber in the hallway, make sure they’re a similar colour to create the look of consistency.

2. Multiple Wall Colours

Much like contrasting flooring, contrasting wall colours can emphasise the small size of a room. Instead, use one shade for an uninterrupted flow throughout your home, creating the feel of one large space instead of several small rooms. This includes your skirting boards and door frames, too.

3. Dark Wall Colours

While you’re looking at paint swatches, be sure to stick to lighter shades for your walls. Dark colours can close in a space, making it seem smaller. White and other soft hues reflect light, creating the illusion of a larger room.

4. Bulky Furniture

Large furniture can crowd a room, hogging more floor-space than necessary. A few common culprits include couches with rolled arms and bulky coffee tables. Opt for a modern lounge with clean lines, raised on skinny legs, and ditch your coffee table for a small side table. Extra points for using glass or Perspex furniture – the transparency makes for a less cluttered-feeling space.

5. Furniture against Walls

Think pushing all your furniture against the walls is going to make your small space feel bigger? A lot of people do. But having everything against the walls of a room can crowd the perimeter of your space, making it feel like there’s less breathing room. Try pulling some of your bulky furniture away from the walls ever so slightly to create the illusion of more space.

6. Blocking Windows

Natural light and a view of the outdoors are two of the easiest ways to make a room feel larger and more open. Avoid placing furniture and other items in front of windows to prevent closing off the room and making it feel more crowded. Putting some lighting (or a mirror) in a darker corner will also give the room a brighter, airier feel.

7. Not Using Mirrors

Speaking of mirros, if you want to make a room appear bigger, throw in a mirror or two! Mirrors are an inexpensive and easy way to bring style and the illusion of space to your home. Add one to every room of the house.

Want more style inspo? You’ll find endless décor ideas here on our blog.