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6 Ways to Make a Small Hotel Room Feel Bigger

If you try to stretch your travel dollars on vacation, chances are you’ve found yourself in a small hotel room or two: Think a cramped garret in a historic Rome pensione, or a glorified closet in a New York City budget hotel.

If you’re not able to increase the size of your small hotel room, here are some tricks to make it a little less claustrophobic.

How to Make a Small Hotel Room Feel Bigger

The two main secrets to creating more visual and physical space are maximizing natural light and minimizing clutter. If you’re sick of tripping over your personal items—or your travel partner—don’t neglect these tips for making a small hotel room feel bigger.

Stow Your Suitcase

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A suitcase can take up a surprisingly big chunk of a small hotel room. Instead of placing your bag on the luggage rack, slide it under the bed or put it away in a closet.

While you’re at it, fold and stow that luggage rack, too. Make your clothes accessible during your stay by putting them into the drawers and the closet.

You can make this step easier before you even leave home by packing as lightly as possible.

Let in Light

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A small hotel room can sometimes feel like a cave, and leaving the curtains closed only compounds the problem. During the day, keep your curtains open wide. This allows plenty of natural light, which can make a room feel bigger, and expands your sightline beyond the bounds of the room, offering a sense of spaciousness.

Open the Shower Curtain

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Speaking of curtains, you should also open the one in the shower. A closed shower curtain reduces visual space and can make a cramped bathroom feel half the size. The same goes for shower doors: Unless they’re made of see-through glass, consider sliding the divider open to make the bathroom feel bigger.

Hide Unnecessary Furniture

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Ever stumbled over a poorly placed desk chair or ottoman in a small hotel room? Don’t let lousy design get in the way of your comfort. You can push the chair completely under the desk when you’re not using it, move the waste basket out of sight, and scoot other small furniture items aside or under others as necessary, so you can get around the room easily.

Use courtesy and common sense when implementing this tip. Don’t try to move large, heavy furniture around (like beds, dressers, or TV stands), and be kind to housekeeping by moving everything back into its original place before you leave.

Get Rid of Clutter


Covering surfaces with stuff makes a small hotel room feel even more claustrophobic. Instead, maximize the available space by keeping your room uncluttered.

Start with your dirty clothes. Instead of dropping them on the floor, put them in a laundry bag stowed inside your suitcase, or otherwise out of sight. (I love this world map-themed laundry bag from Kikkerland.)

Tackle any clutter supplied by the hotel itself, such as the TV channel guide or that bulky binder of hotel policies and local restaurant information. Move these into a drawer to give yourself a nice clean desk or coffee table. Again, put everything back where you found it before leaving—the next guest might be desperate for that TV channel guide.

Finally, use organizers in the bathroom to keep from crowding the counters. You can hang a toiletry bag such as this one from Freegrace, or this one from Lilliput, over the bathroom door. This leaves the sink area as pristine as it was when you first arrived.

Get an Upgrade

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The single best way to get a hotel room that feels bigger is to move to one that actually is bigger—and you don’t always have to pay extra for it. Read more about how to get a hotel upgrade for free.

More from SmarterTravel:

Follow Sarah Schlichter on Twitter @TravelEditor for more travel tips and inspiration.

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