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I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one wishing they had more space in their home. So how do we make the most of the rooms we have? How do we ensure they look as big and as spacious as possible? There are many ways to do this, many of which may not spring to mind. So if you are struggling to maximise a particular room – these ideas will point you in the right direction….
1. Be Clutter-Free
One of the easiest solutions as it’s just a case of being organised. Having random stuff everywhere definitely makes your room appear even smaller – as space is simply taken up by unnecessary mess. To instantly give your place that spacious feel, find a home for everything. Avoid having stacks and piles of things on show, and plan ample storage. For those items you do want to show off, ie. decorative items, photo frames, ornaments etc, place well and arrange in a tidy manner. Avoid shelves and mantels being cramped and over-crowded, as this will again clutter up any nice orderly gaps in your room. One of my earlier blogs, A Quick Guide to Shelfies , gives some helpful hints on shelf displays. For some really easy tips on how to tidy your rooms effectively, visit home organising services such as Kilter Home who offer clever advice on de-cluttering.
2. Lighten the Colour Scheme
Opting for lighter colours is always a good idea for giving the illusion of a sizeable space. Lighter colours have a brighter effect, reflecting light, making a room feel larger. Darker colours, on the other hand, tend to give a shrinking impression and can close up a space. If your room is particularly small, target your walls first as these have the largest surface area. By covering them in a paler colour, you are instantly enlarging the room size. The same goes for the floor and ceiling. The lighter these are, the more open your room will appear. Bolder and brighter colours can still be used on items within the design, but just be mindful of the dark and light balance.
3. Make use of Mirrors
Mirrors are magical for creating the illusion of larger spaces. Have you ever been in a room with a mirrored covered wall? I have, and nearly walked through it! A mirrored wall, although deceiving, doubles the size of a room. As you can imagine, the reflection looks like the room continues. Mirrored furniture and wardrobe doors (particular full length ones) can work in a similar way so this can be done on a smaller scale in your home. Leaning floor mirrors, if you have the room for them, work really well for this too. You can also hang larger mirrors or collections of mirrors to give the same effect.
4. Let the Light in
Have you ever noticed how much bigger your room looks when you open the curtains of a morning? Exposing a space to natural light always alters our perception to its size. Let natural light flood your room a much as possible. If your windows are small in size, consider if window coverings are even necessary. If they are not, ditch them altogether. There are no rules to say window treatments are essential. Examples of the types of windows you may not want to cover up are high positioned, unusual featured or those with beautiful views in a secluded location. If you are using window treatments, then ensure your curtains or blinds are light in both colour and fabric weight, so sunlight can easily stream in. If you choose to have curtains, make sure they can be tied back of a daytime, so not to cover to much of the window. With blinds, choose a style that wont restrict the amount of light flowing into your room.
5. Scatter Artificial Light
A great way to trick the eye within small spaces is by using pockets of artificial light. By spreading light out, you are preventing attention being drawn to one particular zone ie. upwards towards the ceiling light. When it’s time to turn your lights on, your room will look a lot bigger if you have a few different lighting options, rather than one large source. Think functionally when placing light fixings though, don’t start placing lamps everywhere just for the sake of it. Consider where you will need and use the light firstly, and then plan what type of lighting would work best. You may choose to have a couple of wall lamps instead of a ceiling light. Floor lamps are great for corners, and for reading. Only use table lamps if you have somewhere to put them. Don’t buy a table to go with a table lamp if you are using up space unnecessarily. Hang ceiling lights as high as possible or alternatively use flush ceiling lights so the ceiling looks higher, in turn making the room look more spacious. Recessed lighting is extremely diverse and has lots of benefits. It’s great for focussing and directing light in a particular area, and doesn’t take up a lot of room due to its concealed nature. For expert advise on Recessed lighting, check out this detailed blog post from The Light Bulb Company.
6. Downsize your Furniture
Is a huge four seater sofa really needed if there are only two of you using it? Think carefully about what size furniture you choose and how it will look. Sometimes that king size bed or extra long dining table sounds like a great idea, until it’s squashed into a space to small to accommodate and show it off. Also consider how many pieces you actually need and make sure all have a reason for being there. Bigger rooms can house more furniture for aesthetic purposes of course, but smaller rooms require more of what’s actually workable. If larger pieces are required, then limit the number of pieces, and think ‘multi-functional’ as per tip no.7 below. In some cases, a few larger pieces of furniture rather than lots of smaller ones works better. It’s all about practicality and using what is essential.
7. Think Multi-Functional
My dining area is very small so I have a compact drop-leaf dining table which is only folded out when we eat. It is folded away and pushed long ways against the wall at all other times, with the 4 chairs stacked and placed each side of the table. This way I am saving lots of space within our kitchen/diner, yet we still have a working dining table suitable for the room size. When folded away it acts as a sideboard and it also contains drawers and cupboards so it has several uses – all in one piece. There are lots of furniture types that feature more than one use such as sofa beds, or have additional storage such as coffee tables with drawers. Think strategically when planning, and if there are pieces that can provide more than one purpose then this will give you twice as much room. Multi functional furniture is a big 2019 home trend so expect to see lots of variations on the market.
8. Avoid Large Scale Print/Pattern
Since you will be working with a small area, any surface patterns within it, would also work better scaled down – inline with the room size. For example a large scale printed wallpaper, could overtake a small wall and instantly make the room feel smaller too. There wouldn’t be enough room to hold the full effect of the print, shrinking the wall size. A wall surface would get more coverage if there were little details within the pattern, giving the impression of more coverage and therefore more space. The same applies to any other decorative items such as carpets, rugs and home textiles.
9. Consider Your Furniture Styles
Furniture with legs such as sofas, beds and tables have open spaces making the room feel more generous in size. More of the room is visible through these gaps which gives an airy feel. Other types of furniture that will give the same effect include open shelving and see-through items such as glass door cabinets and glass topped coffee tables.
10. Create the Illusion
There are plenty of actual ways we can create space, but there are also lots of tricks that can be used to deceive the eye into thinking a space is bigger than it actually is. Such as in fashion, vertical stripes (my favourite pattern) are known to elongate and make things look taller – use on your walls and floors to stretch out your room. Ceiling to floor curtains are great for making a room look higher. A trick for using shelves in order to maximise space is to hang them higher up on the wall. Decorating your ceiling – so painting or wallpapering it also draws the eye upwards and exaggerates the height of the room. Using large rugs instead of smaller ones seems to enlarge the floor size too as there is more coverage. Smaller versions can sometimes looked crammed in or be positioned to close to furniture edges.
If you have used any of these handy tips for your own room, please tell me all about it in the comments below…..
Thanks for reading!