2 core decor rules Bobby Berk swears will make small spaces look bigger – and why they work
Netflix's Queer Eye star sat down with H&G to discuss the art behind compact spaces – and how one hue is the key to 'bigger and brighter' home
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Is bigger always better? Whatever your stance on this, Bobby Berk believes that even the most compact spaces can be turned into something beautiful – and we're certainly inclined to agree.
The design expert & Emmy-nominated TV host sat down to talk design with H&G – following his latest endeavor with TriPointe Homes. The units, located in Arroyo's Edge, Las Vegas, serve as a trove of inspiration for making small rooms look bigger and fresh room color ideas – playing with a Scandicool, Mid-century aesthetic that appeals to their target audience (those with specific lifestyles who want a designer-approved base that won't fall out of style).
The homes offered Bobby a blank canvas to experiment with color – something that gave him time to reminisce on another project that taught him how to master decorating small spaces: his parent's home.
'A few years ago, I redesigned my parent's house, and it was a particular challenge because it was a compact size,' Bobby says. 'It had low ceilings and a lack of natural light. To overcome it, I started by painting all the interiors white, which gives it a seamless flow and brightened everything up.'
Bobby Berk is an interior designer who stars in the Netflix series Queer Eye. He is also an Emmy-winning television host and co-author of Queer Eye: Love Yourself, Love Your Life (opens in new tab).
Whatever your small room ideas, Bobby Berk's color rule remains the same: go white.
'Before [the renovation], my mum had the kitchen painted terracotta, the living room was a khaki color, and the front porch was yellow. What a lot of people don’t understand is – when they have smaller spaces – and you paint them in different colors – you’re actually making them feel even smaller,' Bobby says.
You would be forgiven for believing that any bright-colored paint can elevate a compact room – but as Bobby explains, it can have quite the opposite effect.
'Many people think a bright color will make it feel bright and airy, but it doesn’t. Your eye automatically categorizes each space which is a different color, as a different space, Bobby says. 'When you’re already working with small spaces, and you’re making them even smaller by breaking them down by color – it makes them feel even more compact.'
Knowing what colors make a small room look big is the most impactful thing you can do in a compact home – and Bobby recommends going white – but that doesn't mean you need to veto all vibrancy completely.
'When working with a smaller space, try to make all the walls the same color. Try to work with white. It makes things look bigger and brighter. Then, you bring in your personality through the colors in the rugs, pillows, and a little bit of wallpaper,' the designer says.
'Make everything cohesive with the wall color, and when it comes to furniture, I use furniture that’s on a smaller scale. Scale is super important in design.'
Yes, when learning how to make a small room look bigger – color is key. However, as Bobby mentioned, scale is also vital to sucsess.
'A lot of people, when they go to buy a sofa, chose one that is only comfortable. Yes, you do want one that is comfortable, but you also want one that works with the scale of the room,' he says.'
'If you have a room with lower ceilings, you don’t want to buy a sofa that has a really tall back. You want to choose something that will elongate the walls and is more to scale with the room. Armless chairs and mirrors are a great way to make compact spaces feel better.'
Bobby, our small rooms thank you.
You can discover more about the designer's work with Tri Pointe Homes (opens in new tab) via their website now.
Queer Eye: Love Yourself. Love Your Life | $11.05 on Amazon (opens in new tab)
This book, written by Bobby and his Queer Eye co-stars, shares a look behind-the-scenes of the show – and offers a practical guide to living and celebrating your best life.
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.
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