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A typical hotel room averages just 350 square feet. In metropolises like Seattle and Los Angeles, where city-center space is at a premium, new hotels are constructing minuscule interior spaces that measure less than half this size. One way to attract travelers – who cite “room size” as their favorite in-room amenity after free Wi-Fi and shower facilities – is to create the illusion of more space in your rental. Here are three tips on how to decorate a vacation rental that will help you transform small rooms without breaking the bank.

1. Perform a “Mirrorcle”

You already know that mirrors make a room look bigger, but have you ever wondered why? Mirrors create optical illusions, so spaces seem longer, bigger and brighter than they actually are.

Place a mirror on a wall opposite an area that opens into another room or hallway to create depth in a small space. A large mirror maximizes this effect, too. Alternatively, hang a small mirror opposite a window to invite natural light to flood into your property. Not only will a small room resemble a bigger one, but it’ll also look brighter.

Floor-length mirrors have an elongated shape that catches the eye. Place one on the wall opposite the door that leads into a small room. This will be the first thing your guests see when they enter the space, and it could make the wall appear farther back than it really is.

2. Paint It in a Light Color

A coat of paint makes cramped, cluttered short-term rentals appear bigger, especially if you use light colors (off-whites, magnolia, buttermilk, pastels) that maximize space. While dark shades absorb light and make a room look smaller, bright hues create a clean, sleek look that dazzles guests.

White walls have the power to revolutionize dark, dingy spaces and draw attention to focal points in your home, such as fresh flowers or paintings and sculptures from local artists. If an all-white room terrifies you, incorporate an accent wall, an unusual interior design element that provides you with a vibrant splash of color.

Once you’ve painted your interior, don’t forget to take photos for your Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO listing. Wide-angle shots make rooms look considerably larger, a common trick used by real estate agents when selling properties.

3. Cut Clutter

Outside of must-have amenities – the Internet, a TV, coffee-making facilities – guests probably won’t crave a lot of stuff. Those old books you keep on that shelf in the corner of your lounge? Get rid of them. That big box of shoes in your bedroom? Remove that, too.

Cutting clutter instantly makes a small room look bigger. It also has a positive effect on a guest’s frame of mind. Research from UCLA suggests that unwanted jumble increases stress hormones. In short, clutter-free spaces result in less stressed guests, meaning more five-star reviews and bookings.

Find somewhere to stock clean bed linen, towels and pillows, too, like a bedroom cupboard. To avoid confusion, jot down where you keep these travel essentials and include this information in your house manual.

With seemingly shrinking hotel suites now becoming the norm, hosts tempt tourists to their vacation rentals with larger spaces than the average hotel room. If you have a bedroom or bathroom that clocks in below the hotel room average, don’t despair. A coat of paint, creatively positioned mirrors, and clutter-free rooms are three vacation rental design hacks that optimize small spaces.

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