We all have a room that we wish we could fix. Either it’s too small, too dark, too narrow, has a low ceiling, or other undesirable features. There are two ways to deal with it. The expensive way is to renovate. Or, you can use some decorating tricks to disguise the room’s faults and highlight its virtues.

Everyone has a room theyíd love to fix-up. It may be too small or too dark, have an unusual shape or low ceiling, or some other feature youíd love to change. You can go to the expense of a complete renovation or save yourself some time and money by using the following decorating techniques to get the look you want.


The walls, ceiling, and floor should be finished in light colours to make a room look larger. Use no more than two main colours and limit your accent pieces. Wallpaper patterns should consist of small, subtle designs as bold or busy patterns will overpower a small room. These rules apply to window coverings and upholstery as well.

A mirror, strategically placed, will make the room look larger as it reflects the rest of the area. Try placing your mirror so it reflects a window view or another larger room for a greater effect.

Use scaled-down furniture and accessories to create an uncluttered look and remove anything that isnít necessary.


To diminish the look of the long, narrow room, use two tones of colour on the walls. A darker colour on the farthest walls will bring them in closer while a lighter colour on the closest walls will make them recede. Again, a mirror placed on the closest wall will create a wider, more open look.

Furniture and accessories should be kept to a minimum near long walls. By placing furniture along these walls, the room will appear narrower.

Floor coverings can create the illusion of a wider room. A tile pattern with accent tiles draws the eye across the narrow span of the room to make it appear wider. Avoid patterns that enhance the length of the room Ė the room will seem narrower.


Itís easy to brighten a room that receives little or no natural light. Natural light in north-facing rooms can seem cold and dismal. By using warm colours (yellows, golds, reds, and earth tones) in light shades, the room will seem brighter. Paint the ceiling white or lightly tinted.

If your room has dark wood paneling and you canít part with it or donít want to paint it, you can still brighten the room. Paint the ceiling and any unpaneled walls a light, complimentary tint. Donít use pure white however, as white tends to deaden the look of natural wood.


To give the impression of a high ceiling, paint it white or lightly tinted. Dark colours will make your ceiling look lower. Avoid wallpaper on the ceiling, as this also tends to lower it.


Dark colours and textured paint finishes can hide many imperfections in your walls. Older homes often have rough or uneven walls and trim. The old plaster may show trowel marks or other imperfections. Wallpaper and sponged or stippled paint will mask rough plaster.

If your walls are not plumb, avoid wallpaper with stsripes or patterns that require matching at corners and ceilings. Random patterns will hide crooked wall and ceiling lines. To minimize crooked windows or door trims, paint them in similar colours to the surrounding walls. Contrasting colours will draw the eye to the trim and emphasize its imperfections.