Unless you are fortunate enough to call an 8-bedroom mansion your home, you probably wish your house had a wee bit more space. Physically making your home larger isn’t possible; that is, unless you have extensive renovation plans that involve tearing out a wall and months of third-party contract labour. The next best (and much more feasible) option is to carefully choose the way you decorate or arrange your interior. Certain décor and furniture placements make the room appear larger to the human perception.
1. Use Light Colours
Light colours make small rooms appear bigger due to their ability to reflect light. Darker colours absorb light, thus making a room feel darker and more confined. Good colour options include softer tones of white, beige, and light blue and green. A good painting strategy is to use a tone-on-tone colour scheme where the trims and crown moldings are a shade or two lighter than the walls. This fools the eye into believing the walls appear farther back than they really are.
2. Use Multi-Functional Furniture
Furniture obviously consumes the most space. Just imagine how much more spacious the room would feel if you removed that couch or table. Of course, these items are living essentials, so you can’t exactly do without them. You can, however, free up space by investing in furniture that serves a multi-purpose. Consider a storage chest that performs double-duty as a coffee or half-moon table. Sofa beds are another good option, particularly if you live in a studio apartment or similar space. In essence, any furniture that folds and expands is a good thing.
You should also aim for furniture with a matching or near-matching colour as the walls. Rooms feel more expansive when furniture and décor blend with their surroundings.
3. Think about Furniture Placement
On the subject of furniture, how and where you place the furniture are just as important facets. Place your biggest furniture against the walls and never block any pathways. Another trick is to position the furniture at an angle. This works especially well for any free-floating furniture not against any wall. This draws the eyes towards the corners, which have a longer radius from the room centre.
4. Limit the Clutter
The minimalist design approach is gaining a lot of popularity for a reason. The less-is-more philosophy works extremely well for small spaces. Too much clutter, after all, makes a room feel cramped and shrinks the usable space in an already-small room. Use available storage to keep items you don’t use daily out of sight.
You should also limit décor. This includes wall décor. While a poster or wall hanging may not take up space, it can make the space feel crowded. Limit wall hangings or art to a single large piece. This works better than having multiple smaller decorative pieces that contribute to the crowded feel.
5. Take Advantage of Natural Light
Light plays a huge role in room appearance, especially natural light. The more light the better. During the day, keep the curtains peeled back or use thin sheer curtains that only partially block out sunlight. To enable more light reflection, consider placing a large mirror in the wall opposite the one with the windows. The mirror itself can serve as the single decorative wall art we discussed in the previous tip.
6. Use Low Furniture
Consider shorter furniture. Tall furniture makes the ceiling appear lower due to the simple fact that they reach closer to the top of the room. For bedrooms, consider mattress-only beds without a frame. Sleeping on a bed that’s practically at floor level takes a while getting use to. However, many bedrooms in East Asian countries use these types of beds.
7. Think about the Flooring
An open floor layout is preferable since it eliminates the division between rooms. If you’re renovating the floors, consider timber panels with wider boards or large square tiles with fewer grout lines. Larger panels or tiles make the floor appear more expansive. If you choose to use a rug, go for one that is circular in shape to break up the room’s rectangular shape.
It’s all about perception. With a little touch-up here and there, the room will appear roomy and spacious even if the total square footage is on the low end.
Hannah Hutchinson is an interior designer based in London, currently blogging for Westland London. She’s always chasing new ideas and likes thinking outside the box when it comes to incorporating fresh ideas to her clients new homes.