No matter how large or small your home is, there may be times when we feel like we haven’t enough room.
But the truth is, you may just not be utilising the space you have to the best effect. In fact, some of the largest spaces can feel claustrophobic if they aren’t designed well and the smallest spaces can feel so much larger just by using a few tricks of the interior trade.
So I’m going to be spilling the secrets on how to make any space look bigger as well as a few things you can try to make the best of the space you have, utilising it to the full and visually creating what will appear to be a larger space! So let’s get started, shall we?
When planning a room design, the first step that any interior designer will employ is to measure of the space you have – this takes into consideration where windows and doors are, electrical outlets, ceiling heights and any other architectural details that would be difficult to change. Working with these measurements keeps you from making a very easy mistake – buying furniture that is much too large and not having the room to actually use it!
So if you are planning on some furniture purchases, take the time to measure where these items will be going. It may be that the L-shaped sofa that looked great in the enormous showroom of your favourite retailer will never fit through the door of your house! One of the easiest ways to do this is to use masking tape on the floor to measure up where something will go before purchasing it.
Can you walk around the item? Is it blocking any doors from opening or is it sitting up against a radiator? Can you still open the window nearby? Is there still a traffic flow from one room to the other?
It may be that your chosen sofa, table or chest of drawers is simply too large – in this case, it’s almost always better to scale down the size of your furniture to fit. Visually, this allows more ‘negative space’ around your room, psychologically making the room look larger. Functionally, you’ll get better use of the space when you can actually walk around in it!
Get creative with storage
Utilising any square space available is vital in small scale living. If you are a bibliophile, consider built in shelving to use vertical wall space or an alcove to create a small home office.
Remember pieces are multifunctional, too. A chest may do double duty as a coffee table, a day bed as a sofa can become a place for guests to sleep and trundle beds can be perfect for the children’s sleepovers. Having a dining table where you can remove or fold down leaves when it’s not required to be at full size will also save on much needed space. Look to some architecturally creative ideas in small-space living where every available space is used for inspiration.
One other idea is to use furniture that stands up on legs. When you can see under furniture, your eye is drawn to the idea that the floor space is actually larger than it is. Combining a number of pieces with tall legs is a great way to visually increase the size of your room.
A simple trick to employ is the use of mirrors. A mirror will visually double the width of any room with its reflection, giving a sense of the room being much grander than it is. It also bounces light around, reflecting back the light that falls on it – and a light, bright space is something many homeowners are keen to have.
To make ceiling heights appear higher and grander, consider another visual trick by hanging curtains all the way from the ceiling to the floor. Your eye will be drawn upwards, creating the illusion of more height. Too-short curtains (ones which do not hit the floor) will interrupt your eye, making a room look squatter so don’t fall into the trap of using curtains that go only to the windowsill. Ensure you hang them all the way to the ceiling and to either side of your window by at least 6-12 inches. This way, when you draw back the curtain, the entire window is exposed, allowing as much light into the room as possible.
Consistency in wall colours and flooring is something else to keep in mind. When every room is painted a different bold colour, your home will feel more disjointed. Using a neutral, pale palette throughout your home with only slight variations in tone will keep things looking more consistent. The same goes for your flooring – if you use the same flooring throughout, your home will look larger as a result without the chopping up effect that different floor patterns, materials or colours may have.
For a fresh approach, why not consider acrylic or Lucite furniture in your room? Using ‘see through’ pieces is another trick to make a space appear larger than it really is. Acrylic furniture can be used to great effect in a smaller room because visually, your eyes do not register it as being there at all. The room then appears to be larger and lighter with less furniture – consider using the now classic Louis Ghost Chair in an office space or dining room and acrylic or glass console tables or coffee tables to give the illusion of more space.
I hope these tips give you some more ways to expand both visually and functionally the living space you have.
Kimberly Duran is an award-winning interior design blogger who chronicles her decorating journey in her blog, Swoon Worthy. Her style is unashamedly eclectic, bohemian and glamorous and when she's not helplessly drooling over design websites and adding things to the imaginary 'shopping basket' in her head, she likes to get messy tackling DIY projects, stalking eBay for bargains, taking Instagram pictures of her cats and investing time in her ongoing love affair with gold spray paint.