5 Flooring Tricks to Make a Room Look Bigger

Armstrong wide plank - Hickory

Wide-plank flooring

Somewhere in your home there’s probably a room that feels so small it’s hardly worth counting toward square footage. You’ve tried all the decorating tricks to open up that space: light-color walls, strategically placed lamps, sheer curtains and furniture rearranged so many times that even the dog doesn’t know where to sit. And it still seems like the walls are closing in.

If you think you’ve run out of decorating options, don’t worry. There’s an often overlooked solution to make a room look bigger: installing the right kind of flooring. The right flooring not only creates the appearance of more space, but it’ll give your room a whole new look.

5 flooring tricks to make a room look bigger

Select planks instead of strips – Strip refers to boards that are narrower than 3″. Plank refers to boards that are 3″ or greater. You will also find a wide plank category for boards measuring 5″ and more. Make a room look bigger by selecting plank or wide plank hardwood flooring. Fewer seams create a more open pattern that looks less busy and confining. Another trick is to lay the boards parallel to the longest wall. Running the boards this way helps elongate a room.

Armstrong luxury vinyl tile

Luxury vinyl tile

Lay flooring on a diagonal – Regardless of whether you choose natural flooring styles in solid hardwood or laminate boards, the stone look of luxury vinyl tile or glazed porcelain tiles, laying materials on a diagonal will make a room look bigger. This technique fools the eye into seeing the flooring pattern from a different perspective, creating more visual interest.

Don’t be afraid of dark wood – It’s a misconception that dark wood floors constrict our sense of space. Paired with the right combination of wall color, trim and molding, darker species like walnut and exotic Brazilian cherry can, in fact, make a room look bigger. To use this decorator’s trick, choose a cool paint shade (remember, cool colors recede and warm colors advance) for walls and trim that matches your floor. Add crown molding in white or a shade lighter than the walls to draw the eye up to the corners with a sense of expansiveness.

Choose larger tiles – Increase the appearance of more square footage by selecting flooring tiles that are larger than the standard 12” size.  Luxury vinyl tiles are readily available in 16” and are a great option over porcelain tile. In addition to being beautiful, durable and comfortable underfoot, they come in a wide variety of natural flooring styles such as stone, slate and travertine. Install without grout to enhance visual space.

Keep consistency in adjacent spaces – Join adjacent spaces with the same type of flooring material. Using a consistent design throughout your home will give the illusion of having more space. If you need to change flooring materials, stay within the same color family.

You may not be able to increase the size of a small room, but you can easily fool the eye with a few flooring tricks that make a room look bigger.

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4 Responses to 5 Flooring Tricks to Make a Room Look Bigger

  1. Nice post! There are some pretty good tips here, but they would have had more impact if they had actually been demonstrated in a small space.

    • kim says:

      Hi Fletcher!
      Very good point – we agree that the images could have better illustrated the messaging.

      We hope you’ll come back for more – and thanks for writing!

  2. Bennie Fox says:

    We’ve been told by a couple of flooring people that they would recommend the 5″ for our application……which is a very small house. (We’re down-sizing). This is a small ranch home, and we’re putting hard wood flooring in the main living room, down the hallway back to the bedrooms, and around into the kitchen.

    • colleen says:

      A board at 5” and above is considered wide plank. This is beautiful option for even a small room. The width you choose affects the visual impact of a room. Wider planks show fewer seams and have a more casual feel that strip boards. To visually expand the room, run boards in the direction of your longest wall. Choose a stain that’s light and your room will look bright and larger. Enjoy your beautiful new floor!