Making a small space look bigger essentially comes down to tricking the eye. It doesn’t require spending lots of money, and the process can really be quite simple if you know the right steps to take. Some furniture can be multi-functional, like convertible futons, which gives people more value for their money and space.
Is your entire home small or are you re-designing a group of small rooms together? Keep a consistent look and feel throughout the home by using similar materials and colors throughout. This will give the entire space more continuity, making it feel bigger.
10 Tips for Enlarging Your Space:
1. Use white, pastels or light neutral colors to create the feeling of space
2. Implement contrasting colors to create depth
3. Add mirrors to reflect light and space
4. Increase the height and width of windows with the right window furnishings
5. Use floor-to-ceiling tiles or wall coverings in small bathrooms
6. Add skylights or less expensive solatubes to increase light and add height to a small room
7. If rooms have low ceilings, choose furniture that sits low
8. Use furniture that is multi-functional
9. With decor, create a central focal point in each room rather than decorating everywhere
10. Conceal clutter
Read on to find out how…
What Colors Make a Room Look Bigger?
As you might have guessed, white and lighter colors make a room feel more spacious, while darker richer colors can make a larger room feel smaller. What you might not have considered is that you can also increase light reflection by using a high gloss paint. If you prefer to beyond “just white”, here are some guidelines to follow:
To create the feeling of space, stick with off whites, pale creams, blues, turquoises and greens. If you want to make a darker room seem lighter, go with pale shades of yellow, pink, lilac or orange. Using one color will enhance the feeling of space simply because you aren’t creating lines between the ceiling, floor and walls.
In addition to making a room feel more spacious, you can also create depth in a room by adding contrasting colors. Keep in mind that you still don’t want to use dark colors, but a deeper shade of the paler color or a contrasting shade can result in a more interesting room.
If the room has a low sloping ceiling, paint the ceiling the same color of the wall. This creates a continuous line rather than breaking it into segments. This tricks the eye into thinking the walls and ceiling are higher.
Colorful accessories that are small (like a lamp, plant or cushions) can also add interest to a room without taking away from the feeling of space you are creating.
Small Room Decorating with Furniture
A small room will appear larger when it has less clutter. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to put less in the room. You just need to:
1. Use the right colors
2. Opt for Low Lines
3. Implement better placement
4. Conceal the clutter
5. Take advantage of multi-functional furniture
Use the Right Colors
Although white may not be ideal, keep in mind that lighter colors will help reflect color. Stick with neutral colors, especially with larger items and match furniture colors to the walls and floor when you can. I’ll include draperies and window coverings here too, as it’s better to match them to the color of the surrounding walls.
I’ll pretend clear is a color, because in small spaces glass can work wonders. Glass tabletops and shelving can be very effective at creating the presence of more space simply because they look virtually invisible.
Opt for Low Lines
If you don’t already have furniture, opt for items that sit lower. By this I mean beds that are lower to the floor and sofas and chairs with low backs. This is especially effective in rooms with low ceilings, as it can make the ceiling feel higher.
Adding lighting underneath furniture that sits on the floor can help make the floor look more expansive and the furniture appear raised.
Implement Better Placement
Try to incorporate storage items to be least intrusive. For example, a floor-to-ceiling storage cabinet that fits into a corner of a room can take up much less space than a large armoire – and provide just as much storage. Attaching off-the-floor bed-side shelving and reading lights to the wall instead of bulky night stands can also enhance the spacious feel.
If you do use large or bulky furniture in a small room, place it as far as possible from the room’s entry, and situate the piece at an angle. This way, the person doesn’t meet the large piece of furniture “head on” when he or she enter the room.
Keeping design and layout will make a room feel larger, but that doesn’t mean you can’t display artwork or other decorations. Instead of decorating everywhere, target one area of each room and group your items for display together to create a central focal point.
Conceal the Clutter
Rather than getting rid of the clutter, just conceal it. Unless you are a hoarder, there’s a TV show for you.
All kidding aside, concealing your stuff can be fairly simple. Ideally, you want your “concealers” to somewhat be concealed themselves. For example, you could switch out a traditional box spring and bed frame for under-bed cabinets and give yourself a ton of extra storage without taking up any extra room. Ottomans or coffee tables that double as storage are also an efficient use of space. Built-in corner units like the one I mentioned above can appear to be part of the house as opposed to a freestanding piece of furniture.
Mirrors Make a Room Look Bigger
Yes, I know you know that. But where do you place them?
A good spot for mirrors can be next to windows so that they can reflect the natural light. If you use mirrors the same size as the windows, this can make the windows appear larger as well.
For a more symmetrical look, mirrors can be placed on the opposite wall of the window. To make the most of the space-enhancing effects of mirrors, use them to reflect not only space but light as well.
Some people might think that mirrored walls or closet doors make a home feel dated, but this does not have to be the case. Creative framing can make a huge difference, and it’s not too difficult to build a really cool frame for a wall-mounted mirror with basic supplies from your local home improvement store.
Making the Most of your Windows
Since one of the main reasons we use mirrors in interior decoration is to reflect light, I thought I’d talk a little about windows here. In some small rooms, a window can be a major focal point. Why not make it appear larger?
You can do this by extending the window furnishings from ceiling to floor and on the sides beyond the width of the window. This results in the appearance of the window being larger than it is, because it hides the smaller lines of the actual window and creates a larger “frame”. Sometimes mirror or other reflective material is used on the window sill and recessed framing to extend the size of the window and reflect more light.
Small Room Design Ideas for the Bathroom
Bathrooms are often the smallest rooms in the house. However, they incur lots of activity and demand good lighting. The simplest way to do this would be to paint the entire bathroom with a light colored, high-gloss paint. Install a large wall mirror and glass shower doors (if there’s a shower).
A big space hog can sometimes be the bathroom door that swings open. If possible, you may want to switch this out for a sliding pocket door, folding door or screen.
Light can also be a game-changer for a bathroom. Not only can it make a small bathroom feel larger, it can make it more functional for daily activities, not to mention lower your electrical costs. Skylights can add light and help “elevate” a low ceiling. Frosted glass can let in light but also provide privacy and mirrors can reflect light in addition to space. Keep in mind that frosted glass (or glass blocks for that matter) can be used on both interior and exterior walls.
If you are doing tile work around the shower, tub or sink, extend the tile from floor to ceiling. This visually adds height to the room while not adding additional lines which can segment the space. Wall mounted sinks can make room appear larger than cabinet-based sinks do. If you plan on using a sink that sits in a cabinet, match the cabinet to the wall color to extend the lines of the room as much as possible.
Don’t forget the area you have outdoors. Not only can you make your indoor space appear larger by creating outdoor “rooms”, but some seasonal patio furniture items can be used both inside and out – thus requiring less furniture to be purchased ( ie the Orbit Lounger).