Shea McGee has revealed the surprising feature that will make a room feel bigger

The interiors expert recommends going oversized with your artwork

shea mcgee and husband syd
(Image credit: Netflix)

Working with a small space can sometimes feel like playing an advanced-level game of Tetris. We've all been there - or are there - but interior designer Shea McGee has just shared an easy way to make a small room feel bigger.

The Studio McGee co-founder says that you can create the illusion of more space by adding large artwork to the walls - the bigger the better. So before you begin executing your living room gallery wall ideas, consider whether a single oversized print could be the way to go...

living space with neutral scheme with bed, sofa and artwork

(Image credit: Netflix)

Writing on the Studio McGee blog, she explains how adding substantial pieces will help if you're short on square footage. 'Whether it’s replacing a gallery wall with one large-scale art piece or switching up your coffee table styling to incorporate two more significant sized pieces rather than five little things, this trick can elevate nearly any room,' she writes. 

Shea expands by saying that large artwork or decor pieces provide a space with a focal point. It's worth looking at your own living space and considering what your focal point is, and whether you can make the space feel less 'busy.' 

Traditionally it's the fireplace, but yours might be the sofa, a built-in bookcase, a picture window, or, indeed, a print. Large framed prints are a way of 'giving the eye a place to rest,' says Shea, 'which is especially important if you want to make a room feel bigger.'

side table with large lamp, vase of flowers and a print

Shea McGee has also used large-scale accessories here to make the area feel more airy and spacious

(Image credit: Netflix)

Playing with scale and opting for the biggest print you can fit tricks the eye by creating a sense of grandeur. We tend to think of small spaces as being crowded with lots of small items, and the fact you can actually fit a big print on the wall makes us view the space as being bigger.

Of course, you can apply this oversized logic elsewhere, with an enormous Bird of Paradise houseplant, a huge circular mirror or a big vintage kitchen clock. If working out how to make a small living room look bigger is a priority, stick to a streamlined collection of decor pieces. Cluttercore is not welcome. 

Shea admits that it might feel counterintuitive to fill your small space with massive art or to go super-sized with coffee table decor, but we kind of love the 'go big or go home' approach. 

living space with sofa, bed and large framed print

(Image credit: Netflix)

'This one might sound strange, but there’s something about large, substantial pieces in a small space that bring it to life and make it feel larger,' she says. 

What do you think?

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.