We asked home organizers which items make rooms feel small – they told us to remove these 5 things

Wondering which items are making your spaces look smaller? These are the things to start with – according to professional organizers

Living room with pale grey walls, bay window, built in storage either side of the chimney breast and fireplace. Grey rug and sofa and orange patterned armchairs.
(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)

Whatever size room you're designing, the question often remains the same: how can I make the space feel bigger?

If you're looking to accentuate small room ideas, it may be tempting to look towards space-stretching paint colors, creating visual illusions with mirrors or hanging light-enhancing window treatments to create the illusion of space. 

However, while these tricks are undeniably important, the items you keep in your room are equally as impactful. And these things are not always large pieces of furniture. Instead, they can be as small (but nonetheless significant) as wooden coat hangers or card game packaging. Really.

So, if you're looking to make a small living room bigger, make a small bedroom look bigger or even make a small kitchen look bigger, the solution to space could be unbelievably simple. We'll even tell you how to make a small bathroom look bigger. Here, professional organizers advise on what you should remove. 

5 things to remove to make your space look bigger

Sarah Schier from the Los Angeles-based luxury home company Beautiful Life Creative Organizing (opens in new tab) knows precisely how to decorate small spaces. Here's what she keeps away from her home. 

1. Large pieces of furniture without show-legs

Modern living room layout with white seating

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki / Future)

What are show-legs? These are the legs on furniture that you can see as part of the design, rather than legs hidden beneath upholstery or pieces that sit directly on the floor, for example. 

'When designing a small space, avoid big, heavy pieces that take up all that valuable floor space,' Sarah says. 

Instead, when choosing furniture, she recommends investing in a piece where you can see the legs, and beneath them; this will give the space a 'sense of airiness' that allows more light in. 

'[Rather than choosing] a sofa or big overstuffed chair that sits directly on the floor, choose something that has legs, lifting it off the ground,' she adds. 

This doesn't just go for living rooms; apply this theory to furniture in any other room, from the bedroom to the bathroom, to make it feel larger.

2. Wooden hangers 

Glass closet with gold ladder and rails

(Image credit: Future)

Considering organizing a closet this weekend? Try this space-stretching idea.

While removing wooden hangers may seem relative in terms of small bedroom ideas, Sarah suggests that it is a surprisingly impactful (and refreshingly easy) way to create a sense of space. 

'A quick way to create more space in your closet is to get rid of those thick wooden hangers and switch them out for the thin velvet slim hangers [such as these on Amazon (opens in new tab)],' she says. 'You'll be amazed at how easy it is to gain space you thought you didn't have.'

3. Food packaging 

pantry with grey tongue and groove panelling with exposed stone wall and beams

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

The art of decanting may be a regular practice for those who are into pantry organization ideas. However, Sarah suggests following this method in places beyond your pantry, including your kitchen, where you may come across lots of bulky food packaging. 

'Decanting your food into clear containers and removing those individually packaged snacks from their original box/bag has so many benefits, one of which is that it creates more space in your pantry or cabinets,' she explains. 

'By emptying ingredients like flour, sugar, pasta, and cereal into air-tight canisters, you can arrange them on your shelves much more efficiently than trying to pile them on top of each other.' 

And for extra ease, the expert also suggests using clear bins to store the individually wrapped snacks, so they are easy to grab when you're in a rush. 

4. Board game and card game packaging 

Family room with low level storage seating

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

Recent years may have seen a particular surge in retro board games amongst consumers of all ages. However, in the same way that food packaging takes up unnecessary space, these boxes are equally problematic in a small space. The expert recommends using zippered pouches instead. 

'The amount of space needed to stack board games in their original boxes versus transferring them all to the same pouch will drastically cut down the space needed to store them,' she says. 

It also means you don't need to deal with ripped boxes and lost game pieces, so the benefits go beyond its space-saving qualities. 

5. Small appliances on your kitchen countertops 

Small kitchen ideas

(Image credit: Future / Carolyn Barber)

While the world of small kitchen ideas can often feel tricky to navigate, organizer Elle Penner from Modern Minimalism (opens in new tab) suggests you can transform your space with one quick change. 

'Small kitchen appliances are a huge source of counter clutter, making a small kitchen look and feel even smaller. Start by getting rid get of any duplicate or broken appliances. Then put everything else away that you don’t use daily,' she says. She recommends starting with your best stand mixer, blender, and food processor – suggesting they are better in the cupboard where possible. 

'Even if you use some appliances a few times a week, the extra space you’ll create is well worth the few seconds it takes to retrieve them and put them back,' she says. It's a change we're willing to try. 

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. 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.