Small Spaces Made Big: Remodeling Condos and Apartments

A small space doesn't mean you can’t remodel, it just means you have to be more creative. And with a few tips and tricks, you can maximize the space so your remodel fits your dreams.


One of the easiest changes you can do to “increase” the size of your bathroom is repainting it. A common idea is to paint the walls light to make the room seem bigger and while this is true, it stops short of maximum effect. Choose a color scheme that’s fairly pale or light, paint the ceiling a couple of shades lighter than the main color, and finish with a light-colored floor.

Try playing around with mirrors, too. Key placement of mirrors (e.g. large vanity plus groups of small mirrors) reflects the light and automatically makes the bathroom look bigger. But be careful where you put mirrors: they should be proportional to the space, otherwise they’ll look too big or small for the room.


Mirrors are essential to enlarging small kitchens: use them on the backsplash, on cabinetry, and on choosing really shiny stainless steel appliances. They reflect all the light available—sun or artificial—brightening the room and making it look bigger. One exception to this is a washer-dryer combo (always stacked) that can get away with being black.

Another trick to use is using large tiles/diamonds/stripes and tall cabinets. It may seem counter-intuitive, but large tiles/diamonds/stripes give the eye more length to follow, while tall cabinets (with glass or mirrored doors) serve the double purpose of storing more and “lengthening” the height.

Finally, either use white as your majorly dominant color, or paint using a low-contrast color scheme (e.g. mint green with pistachio green.)


It almost goes without saying, but the less clutter and objects around, the more space there is. Everything doesn’t have to go, but it needs to mostly be out of sight. Use storage boxes under beds and cover with a bed skirt, use slimmer furniture, learn to love floating shelves, and invest in multipurpose pieces.

While using lighter colors on the walls does make the room seem larger, it doesn’t have to be the only choice. Really dark colors, like chocolate brown, make the walls recede but still capture a cozy feeling. But if you’re not ready to make the leap, just paint one wall dark and the other three a few shades lighter.

Spare bedrooms offer a bit more flexibility because you won’t be sleeping in there every night, so you’re freer to take more risks with it, like a bunk bed. You’ve most likely outgrown your bunk bed days, but putting one in a spare bedroom has both sleep space and a work area.

Another option with spare bedrooms is to place two single beds on either side of the door—flush against the wall—and decorate both sides similarly (e.g. put the same painting above the head of each bed.) And by placing a lot of pillows on each bed, standing up, you can convert the beds to sofas during the day for extra gathering space.

The key when remodeling small spaces is to streamline clutter, avoid making rooms look heavy (overly dark), and using lines to trick the eye into thinking there’s more space than actually is.

Amy Wright
Amy Wright is the Lead Editor of Remodeling Central. When she isn't playing with her dogs she is trying to remodel a classic Chicago style brownstone with her husband.

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