Moving from a 2,300-square-foot house to a one-bedroom rental required Shannon Claire Smith and Nicholas Herman to rethink everything. Here are some tricks they used to think outside the “rental box” and make the most of their smaller living space.

1. Create zones: Breaking up a long space into smaller, separate areas makes your home seem bigger. Use furniture or rugs to define “rooms.” Carve out a designated entry area for keys and mail, a comfortable spot for seating and a functional work space.

2. Bring the focus up: Hang artwork and curtains tall and wide. Put curtain rods just below the ceiling. Install floor-to-ceiling shelves to maximize storage without taking up floor space. Stretching the surface area of the walls creates the illusion of height and space.

3. Paint, if you’re allowed: Painting an accent wall or hallway creates depth and dimension. Don’t be afraid of bold or dark colors; they give the illusion of depth. Can you believe this starburst mirror is on the hall ceiling?

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