My understanding of the expansion of space itself is very shaky, but if space itself is expanding, then shouldn’t very very distant objects appear magnified?
Yes. And they are! This is called the “Angular diameter distance turnaround” (or turnover). […] It’s illustrated in this xkcd comic. You can see nearby “galaxies” are large and bright, more distant galaxies are smaller, very distant galaxies are large, dim, and red.