How to make a narrow room look wider with wood floors

The brain can be fooled by optical illusions, and so it is possible to make rooms appear different, dimensionally, to how they really are. Laying a new wood floor gives you the opportunity to make it appear that a room is wider than it really is. However, there are limits to what can be achieved.

Choose wood boards with a tongue-and-groove profile and a snap-together fastening system to make the job as easy as possible. Follow the advice of wood floor business owner Don Bollinger and aim to lay the boards perpendicular to the length of the room to make it appear wider.

Remove the skirting board with a crowbar. Place a piece of scrap wood behind the neck of the bar as you prise the skirting board off, so you don’t damage the wall. Roll out underlay and cut it to length, taping pieces together to cover the whole floor. Set spacers along the walls to create expansion gaps.

Lay the first board in the furthest corner from the door, placing it against the spacers. Butt the next one up to it and snap together. Proceed in like manner along the whole wall. Cut the end board, if necessary, so it fits in the gap between the next-to-last board and the spacer.

Offset the boards on the second row so the cut edges of boards do not align across rows. Continue working across the room until you get to the opposite wall, cutting boards as required to make them fit.

Carefully remove the spacers. Replace the skirting board.


If using an electric saw, protect eyes with safety goggles and keep hands well away from the blade.

Things You'll Need

  • Boards
  • Crowbar
  • Scrap wood
  • Underlay with vapour barrier
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Spacers
  • Saw
  • Hammer
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About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.