How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger Using Creative Wall Art

by WordCustard

The second in a series to help you make a room look brighter and larger. Mirrors add light to a room, while clever posters and artworks can create an illusion of a larger room.

Using Wall Art Creatively to Make a Room Look Brighter

Techniques and ideas for adding an illusion of light and space with wall decor

Continuing our series on how to make small rooms look bigger, we move on from using paint effectively to other easy and inexpensive ideas such as adding posters, murals and mirrors.

Often with an under-sized room we will try to keep the walls bare. Having lots of posters, pictures and other parephenalia on a wall is a great way to make it look cluttered and small -- exactly the effect we want to avoid.

On the other hand, carefully chosen wall decor can in fact (in moderation) help to open up a room and create an effect of more space and sunlight. Here we will look at a few ideas for making rooms visually larger. 

Article copyright ©WordCustard, June 2011, all rights reserved.

More in the Home Decor for Small Spaces Series

Many of us have small rooms in our homes. Fortunately it's easy to make a room look bigger and brighter using a little decorating know-how. We start with paint and color.
When you have a small room that you want to make appear bigger, it is a good idea to consider clever storage solutions. These can create a feeling of space. Third in the series.

Mirrors Add Light to Small Rooms

Small rooms are often dark rooms. There is simply not enough space for light to bounce around, brightening it up. You may even be dealing with a room with no windows where you rely entirely on artificial light. 

A lack of light can be oppressive and it makes sense to maximize any light you do have in a room. Mirrors are perfect for this task. They can be used to direct light, natural or artificial, from one surface to another. Place a mirror where it reflects the most light (and preferably the outside view if you look out onto trees or sky) but take care not to direct the full glare of sunlight onto a bed or cot, a caged pet, or treasured possessions.

The beauty of mirrors is that these days they come in so many attractive forms, allowing you to choose one for everything from beachside decor to vintage French, and from prairie style to contemporary urban.

Mirrored doors and panels can create an entire mirror wall which will visually lengthen a room by reflecting it back on itself. A couple of smaller mirrors in different places may be a better choice for a tiny room that can be swamped by a bigger mirror.

Standing mirrors suit period homes and vintage style.

Mirrors are also important to feng shui, which has its own recommendations for auspicious mirror placement. I'm no feng shui expert but have found a couple of links below that may interest those who wish to explore these principles further.

Add a Fake Window to Create a View

Pictures that look like windows are a great way to add an illusion of depth to a small room, especially in a windowless room or one that has no view to speak of.

These fake windows feature a variety of beautiful scenes that can help lift the mood and bring more life to a room.

Choose a scene from nature that fits with the style of your decor. You can add a beach scene for a coastal living theme, a mountain view in a rustic frame, or even an aged stone window to create the illusion of living in your own castle. Many other combinations are also available from this store.

If you prefer artworks, there are a number of painters who specialize in beautiful window scenes full of sunlight, which will complement bright and breezy decor. Alice Dalton Brown and Lynn Fecteau are two names to look out for.

Room Murals Transform a Wall

By applying a large room mural you can completely change the look of a room. A wall mural creates a scene that looks like you could step right into it. You choices include:

  • Woodland, Forest and Tree Murals that add a peaceful green vista to your living space
  • Tropical Island and Beach Murals to bring a touch of paradise into your home with turquoise seas and golden sandy beaches
  • Magnificent Mountain Murals with everything from pretty mountain meadows to sweeping vistas of the world's greatest peaks
  • Plus cityscapes, world monuments, and many more.

More Resources for Creative Wall Art

The Use and Placement of Mirrors in Feng Shui
Looks at the feng shui principles behind placement of mirrors

Etch Your own Mirror
Create beautifully etched mirrors for your home with this step-by-step guide from Inspired Goodness

Using Mirrors in Home Decor
Tips from the much-loved For Dummies series authors on mirrors in decor, including frame styles and even using colored glass

Trompe L'Oeil Paintings
Trompe l'oeil is French and means trick the eye, because this painting style fools you into seeing a scene on a flat surface. Janet Shearer is a master of the art.

Janet Shearer and The Art of Illusion

Painting and Perspective to Fool the Eye

In trompe l'oeil  painting the intention is to create a picture on a (normally) flat surface that uses perspective and realistic painting in such a convincing way that the viewer believes the objects or scenes are real.

Janet Shearer is one of the world's best trompe l'oeil artists. I used to own the book featured here and it is fascinating even if you never pick up a brush. Of course, the real fun lies in trying your own tromple l'oeil artwork using her tips and techniques!

Examples of Trompe L'Oeil Murals and Paintings

Art that fools the eye
Chalon sur Saone
Chalon sur Saone
Trompe Lóeil Mural, Open WIndow
Trompe Lóeil Mural, Open WIndow
parking garage mural
parking garage mural

Hey, Before You Go...

Why not join me here on Wizzley and build an online income writing about things you love! Just click the link to get started.

Updated: 09/01/2012, WordCustard
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Any Tips to Share on Keeping Rooms Light and Bright?

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WriterArtist on 01/25/2014

Love these ideas, wall art keeps the room brighter and removes the monotony.

Vidya Sudarsan on 04/14/2012

Nice article!

Jewelsofawe on 01/23/2012

I like these ideas!

Jimmie on 12/11/2011

Ha! The fake window makes me laugh. Love the mirror idea for brightening and opening up a room (plus I'm vain and I like having a mirror to check).

sheilamarie on 09/07/2011

If I'm afraid of getting bored with a poster or painting, I make enlargements of favorite photos all the same size and just change the picture in the frame now and then.
I like using mirrors, too, especially when they reflect a window looking outside.
Thanks for all your great tips!

mandeesears on 07/30/2011

I love to use mirrors to make the room reflect and look larger. My brother-in-law also made me a window frame from re-claimed barnwood that looks very real. Excellent advice!

Sylvestermouse on 06/21/2011

This is really a pretty page. I love the mosaic mirror! It's even the right color :) I have always loved your window posters and I would like to be on that tropical beach right now. LOL

WordCustard on 06/20/2011

Thanks for your comments and wow, I love that idea, GF! Mind if I use it? :)

GonnaFly on 06/19/2011

The fake windows look really cute. I'm thinking it might look good to mount a shelf below one of these posters / murals to look like a window sill.

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