How to Make a Rectangular Room Look Wider


Close corners and long walls in a narrow, rectangular room can be difficult to decorate. If you want to put some air and squareness back into a stuffy, box-shaped space, follow a few interior design tips using color, strategic furniture placement and transforming accessories. If your room lacks windows or gets limited sun, invest in a high-gloss paint for a reflective effect and to make the ceiling and walls feel more expansive.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Furniture
  • Lighting sources
  • Mirrors
  • Implement the use of paint and color to create the illusion of space. Paint the two short ends of the room a darker shade than the longer walls to emphasize depth and mimic squareness. You can also paint horizontal stripes on short walls to create width; ideally, the stripes should be a shade darker than the base coat. On the long wall, paint the trim lighter than the walls to push the walls out; on the short walls, paint the trim darker than the base to bring the walls inward.

  • Place focal points on the long walls to emphasize the width of the room rather than its length. Arrange the furniture in square, circle or angular formations around focal points to offset the rectangular shape of the room. Set up furniture in “zones” for specific purposes; for example, a rectangular dining room/living room combo might have a zone for eating, a zone for entertainment and a zone for quiet conversation or reading.

  • Select narrow, sleek furniture that leaves a definitive space between the furniture and the floor for an airy, roomy effect. Further the squaring effect by installing bold floor rugs with stripes that flow parallel to the longer walls. If renovations are in your budget, install large square tiles or wide floorboards to counter the rectangular shape of the room.

  • Make windows appear wider by extending your curtain rod past your actual window frame; also, place the curtain rod as close to the ceiling as possible. Hang a bamboo shade in the empty space between the curtain rod and the top of the window to leave the impression that the window extends farther upward and outward that its true borders. Part your curtains as wide as possible without exposing the edges of your window; in this way, you can take advantage of your full view while creating the illusion that you have more window left over.

  • Install several lighting sources for a layered, spacious effect. Avoid a single overhead light; instead, use wall sconces, lamps and multiple overhead lights. Ensure each “zone” in the room has its own lighting source.

  • Use accessories with metal accents. as well as glass-topped furniture to create the illusion of space and uninhibited flow throughout the room. Place mirrors strategically across from windows and light sources to reflect light and amplify space throughout the room.


  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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