After living in some tight spaces ourselves we can speak from experience on how to create the illusion of more space. We have lived in a house that was barely over a 1000 sq.ft. and crammed ourselves into a 450 sq. ft apartment. Thankfully there are a lot of ways to make a space appear larger than it actually is. Small rooms can be made to feel quite comfortable by utilizing just a few of the techniques below.
Using Colour To Create A Feeling Of Space
- Bright or lighter colours can help to reflect more light around the room making it feel more spacious, but this doesn’t mean you have to paint your walls white. In fact, white walls won’t necessarily make a room feel larger.
- You can paint the walls in a darker colour if it’s done right. A deeper tone will actually make the corners of the room disappear so your eye can’t tell where the space ends. The focus will be on the furnishings rather than the size of the room.
- Accent a dark room with crisp white moldings or trim and white furniture, then use a punch of colour in the accents. Choose a few select accent colours and stick to them. Too many colours will create chaos.
- Carry the same colour or similar tones throughout an entire home to create harmony and flow rather than rooms that feel cut up with different colours. Another trick is to repeat a pattern in one room to the next. Or echo the colour of one room into another with an accent such as throw pillows or a lampshade.
- Where there are low ceilings painting the walls and baseboard in the same colour will make the walls appear taller. For a subtle difference paint the walls in eggshell and the baseboard in a satin or semi-gloss paint.
- Keep the ceiling a lighter colour than the walls to make them feel lifted instead of dark and heavy.
- Choosing a colour that mimics what is outside your windows will give the room a sense of expanding to the outside.
This small powder room manages to have an airy feeling even thought the walls are a mid-tone grey. The crisp white fixtures and ceiling help to keep the space from feeling too dark. It is kept uncluttered by having only the vase of flowers as the only accessory.
This bedroom has a sense of calm and comfort. This is acheived by using a palatte of similar colours. Various shades of grey and browns have been used in the bed, nightstands, chair and flooring. Other elements in the room done in white help to keep it light and airy feeling.
The walls and baseboard of this bedroom have been painted in the same colour. If the baseboard was done in a contrasting colour it would create a perimeter around the room and emphasize the small floor space. Having a consistent colour also helps to minimize the fact that the ceilings are only eight feet in height.
Scale, Placement And Colour Of Furniture
- Larger furniture can be used in smaller spaces if it’s not too overstuffed in size. It’s better to use a few larger well-appointed pieces than a lot of smaller ones that clutter up the room.
- A trick to using larger pieces of furniture is to have a few pieces the same colour as the walls to help them blend into the room
- Choose sofas with legs that allow you to see the floors and through to the walls. Other good options are open armed seating and slatted backed dining chairs as well as glass tables to keep a room open and airy.
- Choose furnishings in shades and patterns that compliment each other instead of ones that compete in colour.
- Try setting furniture at an angle, it can help to move the eye along the longest distance in the room and also create a space in a corner for storage.
- Furniture that is too tall in a small room with low ceilings might make the ceiling appear even lower, allow for space above your furniture.
- Use multi function pieces to help minimize the number of items such as beds with drawers, sofa beds, expandable dining tables, nested tables and storage chests as coffee tables.
The large scale bed, dresser and end tables work in this small bedroom because they are the only furniture pieces. Only a few accessories placed in the room keep it uncluttered which makes the space feel larger. The walls and carpet in a similar colour make them drop into the background and keep your eyes focused on the furnishings instead of the size of the space.
Well Placed Mirrors Reflect Light And Depth
- Hang a large mirror with a decorative frame to create the illusion of depth in a small room.
- Prop an oversize mirror against the wall for a dramatic effect, especially if it is from floor to ceiling height. It will reflect a large portion of the room making it feel more spacious.
- Angle mirrors toward a focal point to give a sense of depth or place it near a window to reflect a view of outside.
- Placing mirrors on walls across from each other creates a look of space going beyond the walls.
- Group a bunch of mirrors together with the same colour frames to keep it looking uncluttered. Or layer smaller mirrors on top of larger ones to reflect light and create a sense of depth.
- Hang a long mirror on its side to instantly make a wall look longer.
- Mirrored cabinet fronts help to reflect light around small spaces.
- Place a mirror along the counter top in a small kitchen.
In this room the window light is doubled by having the large mirror reflect it into the room. Having the carpet and wall in a similar colour help to make the space appear larger. The accessories are kept to one main chocolate colour so they don’t fight for attention around the room. Keeping space between the furniture pieces and the walls allows your eye to move freely through the room.
Using Light To Create A Sense Of Space
- Natural light is one of the best ways to open up a space, when it’s not possible to use compensate with artificial light.
- Let your eye extend beyond the room and outside a window. Leave them bare if privacy is not a concern or use simple shades or blinds that can be pulled out of the way during the day.
- If you do use curtains have them in a shade the same as the walls to make them blend in and hang the rods up close to the ceiling to extend height and past the sides of a small window to make it appear larger.
- If the view out your window is not appealing bring attention to something else placed in the window like a beautiful plant or decorative display piece.
Clearing Clutter And Allowing A Room To Breathe
- Nothing will make a space feel smaller than a bunch of clutter that is fighting for attention all over the room.
- Create a focal point or feature area that the eye will be drawn to and arrange the furniture to help draw the focus to that area and keep the rest of the room decor to a minimum. A large dramatic piece of artwork or photo works well instead of things hung on every wall in the space.
- In low ceiling areas draw the eye up with vertical lines or a set of artwork or photos arrange toward the ceiling.
- Keep the floor space as clear as possible.
- Let the room breathe by placing well chosen accessories. Take advantage of key display areas such as the coffee table, end tables and fireplace instead of areas all over the room.
- Allow small entry ways, foyers or hallways to feel welcoming by using narrow console tables and keeping it light weight visually.
- Don’t block pathways or have areas where people have to squeeze through. Allow the eye to flow freely through the room. The further you can look into a room the bigger it will feel.