Everyone can’t live in a sprawling mansion. These days it’s more economical to have a smaller space. Just because your home is small doesn’t mean it has to “feel” that way. Here are five suggestions to open up and enlarge any undersized space.

Think big. It’s not easy but it will get you thinking about ways to change and decorate your home when it is not exactly Grand Central Station. Try a few of these suggestions and see what you think.

1. Get out your paint rollers. Any decorator can tell you that using deep, dark colors makes a room smaller. Using lighter colors can make a room seem brighter and larger. If you already have the eggshell colors that come with most new homes, try a lighter blue shade or a pale yellow. Both colors are cool and calm to the soul. A lighter shade of blue gives the illusion of being outside too!

2. Use smaller pieces of furniture or one large piece. At one time, almost everyone wanted a sectional sofa. While it provides a lot of seating in a living room, it also takes up a lot of space that you might not have in a smaller dwelling. You can still have a fair amount of seating with armchairs and a loveseat. Forget about the overstuffed furniture as well. A simple couch works better when you’re working with limited floor space.

3. Choose a hardwood floor or a light area rug. Dark just means cozy no matter if it is furniture, paint or flooring. One exception is a hardwood floor; just the echo as you walk across it makes the room feel larger.  A taupe or beige carpet (if not in a room to be used by little kids) also adds to the illusion of a larger space.

4. Use open lighting schemes. Lamps in a room reflect on intimacy. When you are trying to make a small space seem larger, use more overhead lighting. Try track lighting, ceiling fans or chandelier lights. Letting more light in will open every corner of the room. Keep your curtains and blinds light colored and easily opened as well. During the day let the sun shine in through them to help create a positive, wide open appearance.

5. Create a path through your room. Bobbing and weaving through furniture and floor lamps says “small.” However you arrange your furniture, create a definite path from one side of the room to the other. You and your family won’t feel cramped and pressed for space. It sure helps if you have to walk through the room in the dark during the middle of the night too. Bye bye bruised shins and stubbed toes.