You probably know how it is: you buy or rent the best home you can, only to notice that space seems to be in short supply. This can be especially worrying if you live in a small apartment, which might be the most you can afford in a big city. What are you supposed to do?

Reassuringly, there are various little clever, strategic ways you can carve out more space – all without having to borrow money for an expensive refurbishment. Here’s what you can do…

How to create more space in any room without refurbishment

Add mirrors

This is very much a case of making a space just appear larger rather than physically increasing its size, but the former isn’t to be underestimated. Writing for Bustle, certified health coach Isadora Baum warns: “Feeling cramped can hinder our well-being, making us feel small and undervalued”.

Fortunately, to help yourself prevent that, you can add a few mirrors, with Thrillist advocating a floor-length mirror if you want to “give the illusion of more space and open up the entire room”.

Let there be (more) light

Another advantage of mirrors is that they can reflect light, further increasing the room’s perceptible size – but how much available light is there for you to work within the first place?

If the answer is “disappointingly little”, then thick coverings, like curtains and drapes, across the windows could be to blame – in which case, try opting for light, sheer linings. Alternatively, you might too often be blocking your windows with badly-placed couches or bookcases.

Follow the “rule of threes” with electrical lighting

You probably can’t afford to have more windows built to increase the amount of natural lighting in the room, but you can still achieve a similar effect by following the “rule of threes” acknowledged by interior designers, who say that each room should have at least three light sources.

Through mixing and matching with table lamps, floor lamps and other forms of electrical lighting, you can give the room a larger discernible size and increased dimension.

Leave one or two walls bare

In a small room, it’s tempting to fill every little part of each wall in a bid to “make the most” of this space. However, this strategy can be counter-productive, as it can actually make the room feel even smaller. For this reason, it’s a good idea to leave at least one wall just a bare, undecorated white.

Yes, you might still feel the urge to give that white a pop of colour if the surface looks, well, overly clinical – so, try placing your couch, with a few colourful throw cushions, against the wall.

Hide more of your items

Furniture that does double duty can work wonders in a space-constrained room. For example, investing in an ottoman with hidden storage for the likes of books, blankets and pillows means that they can all be tucked away inside what friends and visitors might assume is simply a nice seat. You might even be able to keep containers and storage boxes under your bed.