The main contributing factor in that cramped feeling one gets in small spaces is clutter. Newspapers, magazines, or books lying haphazardly around the living room adds to that "closed in" feeling. Just the simple act of stacking the magazines or arranging them neatly on a table will add space to a room. The kitchen or dining room table is another culprit when it is stacked high with mail, keys or other things that one tends to drop there because its faster and easier than putting them away. The author had an aunt who lived in a very tiny house (so small that people called it a doll house) that was always neat and tidy and never made one feel cramped. Aunt Leta's motto was "everything has a place and everything is in its place". Above all, keep the floors clean and free of clutter.
Light colored or neutral walls and floors add a feeling of space to the environment. Leave windows uncovered and decorated with blinds that can be opened during the daylight hours and closed at night for privacy and / or consider curtains that frame the windows rather than cover them. Too many pictures on the walls can close a room in. Too much furniture can shrink your space and make it feel crowded. The furniture pieces should not only be small in number they should be light or neutral in color with maybe one or two colorful accent tables. Light gray furniture comes to mind accented with splashes of blue and orange pillows.
Lets move on into the dreaded kitchen, a place that seems to be especially susceptible to that closed in feeling. If one can afford it, a skylight is extremely helpful in providing light and airiness. White cabinets and light neutral counter tops with just a few often used items strategically placed can add a lot of space to the room.
Children's rooms can be helped by offering convenient places to store unused toys and games. A desk and a bookcase in an older child's room will provide space for storage of those items that often contribute to clutter such as books, CDs,
If you happen to be in the market for a new home look for one with high or vaulted ceilings. It's uncanny how high ceilings can open up a small house. Large windows will open up the house and make it seem larger. Wood floors are less confining than wall to wall carpeting. Picture the wood floors with a few area rugs strategically placed.
So one does not have to spend a lot of money to provide an atmosphere of openness. This entire article seems mostly devoted to the importance of good housekeeping, does it? Sorry about that! But it is important. So let's get rid of the clutter, clear off that dining room table and place an inexpensive accent or conversation piece in the center. Then take a seat in your favorite chair look out over the room and maybe out the window and enjoy the space you've just created.