Bobby Berk says this ancient design trick will create the illusion of space in any room

'I know that it’s an age-old trick, but it really is legit': the Queer Eye designer on how to upgrade a small room without fail

Bobby Berk
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We may know Bobby Berk as a leading figure in contemporary design (not least thanks to his role on Netflix's Queer Eye) – but some of his most impactful tricks are rooted in ancient history. 

The designer recently sat down with H&G to discuss the art of small-room styling following his recent collaboration with Command™. So, consequently, we had to ask, what is the one way to make a small room feel bigger instantly? And while we can't say we were shocked by his response – we were reminded just exactly how impactful this took can be. 

'I always recommend mirrors. When you don’t have any more space, you can create the illusion of space. You can see forever through them and reflect light around your room,' Bobby says. 

Reflective surfaces made of polished obsidian are believed to be the oldest 'mirrors' in the archaeological record, dating back to 4000 BC. It, therefore, goes without saying mirrors have influenced spaces longer than any other home furnishing – so how should we style them today?

Bedroom with vintage mirrors on the wall

(Image credit: Phillip Thomas)

'You can hang a really good-sized mirror with a Command stip. I would opt for a full-length mirror and introduce multiple of them if you wish,' Bobby says. 'That will instantly make your space look much larger. I know that it’s an age-old trick, but it really is legit.' 

With the strips, it's also easy to layer up mirrors (similar to the image above) –creating an almost gallery-wall-inspired aesthetic with the all-important size-enhancing qualities. 

Large Command Strips | $12.90 on Amazon

Large Command Strips | $12.90 on Amazon

One package includes 14 pairs (28 strips total) of the brand's largest hanging strips. They hold up to 16 pounds (and allow for a maximum frame size of 24 x 36 inches).

And, of course, the styling doesn't stop with the mirrors. While artfully decorating with mirrors is key to improving a small space, Bobby adds that our chosen furnishings and accessories are also impactful. So, what should make the cut in a small room? And where should we start when navigating a compact area?

'Your home should really spark joy for you; it should recharge you. Everything in your home should be making you happy. Don’t be afraid to keep things in your home that may not be considered trendy,' Bobby says. Similarly, when working with a small living room, Bobby says we should start with something that also promotes joy.

'Start with something that makes you happy, and that excites you. People don’t know whether to start with the sofa, the rug, or the art, but it’s whatever piece speaks to you the most,' he says.

'If you find something that makes you happy when you look at it, that's where you should start. You should build from that piece because if that makes you smile, then the other pieces that go with it are probably going to as well.' 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.