• Heather Holcombe

Five Design Ideas for a Small Room


Small rooms can prove uniquely challenging, but that doesn't have to be the case! As an experienced interior designer, I love a good challenge. I look at a small room or space as an opportunity to put on my thinking cap and get creative.


When designing a room, I will always assess a space carefully and discuss the client's goals and needs. Is it a small home office or a powder room mostly for guests? Is it a child's room or a pantry? The room's function matters, along with its location. For example, is the room visible from other rooms or a hallway? Are there any windows in the room?

My role as an interior designer is to offer ideas with my expertise and guidance. I'm not there to dictate my personal tastes - unless the client gives me carte blanche to decorate their home.

Here are a few design ideas for a small room

  • Use One Color: Blur the ceiling and wall lines by painting everything - and I mean everything - the same color, including the ceiling, window sashes, and trim. It can be a showstopping look. Painting the ceiling a different color than the walls draws attention to where the wall and the ceiling meet. Using one color for the ceiling and the walls masks that line. The room will look bigger than it really is. This is a trendy look right now, even in larger rooms.

  • Neutrals: Carefully coordinate the room's colors in neutral tones. (The effect is similar to painting everything one color.) Architectural lines are blurred, creating a sense of space.

  • Go Bold: Add a pop of color to draw the eye away from the size of the room. For high impact, keep the rest of the room neutral colors. Soft furnishings like colorful throw pillows or a bold-colored painting can create an excellent focal point.

  • Trim: If there's no trim molding in the room, add some to the walls (and even the ceiling)! Trim or paneling will add visual interest. The focal point becomes the trim rather than the size or height of the walls or ceiling.

  • Dark or Light Colors: Ask 50 interior designers if you should paint a small room a dark or light color, and you're not likely to get a consensus. Some designers believe a small space should be painted a light color to make it feel less confined. Other designers say you might as well accept that it's small and make it cozy by using a fabulous dark paint color. Here's my answer: do whichever you prefer! Small rooms painted a bold color will have a lot of drama. But if the goal is light and airy, then a dark color will not offer the desired light reflection.

I hope you found these ideas helpful. If you're still challenged by a small room in your home or need help selecting colors, I'd be happy to help you with some ideas.