Creating Space in Your Home
If you feel like the walls are closing in and start wondering if you need to move to a bigger place, hold on. There are a few easy ways you can create the feel of an open, airy, and yes, larger room. You can fool the eye into thinking there is more space by making it lighter and brighter or find ways to physically create more space.
Let Mirrors Light the Way
The actual size of a room can be very deceptive to the eye. This can work for or against you. One of the best ways to fake out the eye is with mirrors. Mirrors are a very effective way to make a space look larger and brighter. Hanging a large mirror on a wall that receives light will expand that light around the room, brightening everything. Even better — if there is any view of water, trees that the mirror also catches, it will bring an openness.
Going one step further in your strategic use of mirrors is to hang a large architectural-style mirror so it will capture light but also creates the illusion of an extra window. A mirror is a pretty simple way to brighten and create the feeling of a larger space than actually exists.
Color Me Spacious
Being deliberate about your color palette for a smaller space will help open it up. The old rule about having lighter-colored walls is true. To really visually expand a room, choose the same or very similar colors in different shades. Either cover or paint the walls with one shade, while using a darker complimentary version for trim and a shade lighter than the walls for the ceiling.
Another way to make a space appear larger is to make sure there is flow and cohesion between rooms that are connected, or where you can see one room from another. This doesn’t mean everything being identical, but to have complimentary colors throughout. Light blues in a living room and a darker blue in an adjoining dining room make the feel of the rooms cohesive instead of choppy and boxed-in. Or use a rug in a similar color palette as the connected room’s floor. This flow creates the feeling of openness, giving the sense of a larger space.
When Small, Go Big
A common misconception is the idea that if a room is small, the furniture should be too. Actually, the opposite is true. Bigger, but fewer, pieces are key. Too many large or small pieces of furniture will make the walls close in. A couple of larger pieces balance the room.
And when choosing furniture, raised furnishings work better in a small space. Being able to see space underneath the chairs, couch, or even bed is another way to visually create the illusion of roominess.
If you use curtain rods, make sure they extend beyond the windows. Then, when the curtains are pulled back, the entire window is exposed, allowing every single bit of light into the room. Curtains should extend to the floor to keep those long lines going visually.
Removing unneeded doors between rooms is another way to let the eye travel uninterrupted, giving a feeling of openness.
Clutter in any space will make it feel cramped. And that “stuff” is truly taking up space. There are creative ways to contain these items and keep your room sleek and inviting.
Functional, multi-use furnishings are a great tool. An ottoman with storage can be a place to put things away. And it helps keep the furnishing minimal – the ottoman can replace a coffee table or be used for additional seating instead of another armchair.
Decorative storage boxes, as long as there aren’t too many or too large, are another way to store smaller items out of eye’s sight. And they can add a bit of color or texture you might be looking for in accessories.
While we’re talking about storage, if you maximize the storage you already have, you can reduce even more of the clutter. Making sure you are fully utilizing all the space in your closets with proper shelving allows you to put even more things away. Hanging pots and pans against the wall in a kitchen free up cabinet space to hide things that currently sit needlessly on the counter.
Put the wall space in other rooms to work too. Install long, lean shelving in your family room to hold items. Just make sure the shelving goes all the way up the wall to keep those long lines and the illusion of taller walls. Even better are built-in bookcases, as they take up unused space. And don’t let asymmetrical rooms throw you – it could be a perfect opportunity for corner shelving.
If you have unused smaller spaces, consider knocking down walls to create a more open, larger space. Cramped closets or underused half baths might be occupying space that would be better used if part of the living room.
Before you throw out all your stuff or start shopping for larger houses, try a few tricks to create more space in your home. The strategic placement of mirrors can brighten and enlarge a small space. The right color palette and furnishings will create balance and prevent the room from appearing even smaller than it is. Fully utilizing or creating more storage keeps the clutter away. These simple tricks will make everything lighter and more open.