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Smart Ways to Make Your Rooms Feel Bigger
Sunday, July 24, 2016

The last thing you want is for a living room, home office or bedroom to feel cramped or tight. While great in theory, home additions aren’t always an option. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy more spacious living areas.

Since home design is a visual experience, there are plenty of ways to use things like light, color, proportion and texture to make a room seem more visually spacious than it actually is.

Make Small Spaces Feel More Spacious

There are well-known “rules of design” that have been passed down through the ages when it comes to small room design. These include things like “use light colors” or “solids are better than prints.” All are rooted in a foundation of truth. The reality, however, is that every room is different, so you can be a bit of a rule breaker and still enjoy a well-designed living space that seems larger than it looks on paper.

It’s all a matter of understanding the factors that impact an overall design, like the play of light and shadow, how lower- and upper-spaces are taken into consideration, furniture layout and pattern direction, and so on.

Here are some ideas for optimizing visual and usable space in your home design.

Cultivate a “Less-is-More Attitude.”

In small rooms, it’s essential to have a “less-is-more” attitude when it comes to furniture and clutter. Pare furnishings and accents down to the bare essentials. Then choose the finest, highest-quality essentials your budget can accommodate. In this way, you make every piece count.

Perform a clutter sweep, eliminating anything you aren’t 100% in love with, regardless of sentimental value. If need be, take a picture of “heart happy but eye sore” items and archive them in a photo collection. Once you’ve whittled furnishings down to the essentials, the rooms will be ready for a fresh new look.

Use (mostly) Neutral & Light Colors

For the most part, it’s true that neutral and lighter-toned color palettes are best for small spaces. However, you don’t have to forgo darker colors altogether. For example, pair black quartz countertops with white cabinetry in a small bathroom.

Use light, neutral cabinet/wall colors for the kitchen perimeter and a darker paint/finish for the kitchen island. In fact, darker kitchen island cabinetry can help the undercabinets sort of disappear. While you don’t have to give up your dreams of darker colors and finishes all together, you will have be thoughtful about how and where they’re implemented.

Match Curtains & Drapes to Walls

Match curtains or drapes to the wall color, ideally in a slightly darker shade. Maintaining a consistent color provides continuity rather than space-shrinking fragments. Similarly, select area rugs in more solid colors or small prints, steering away from those with large or overly-busy patterns. If you have low ceilings, install curtain rods 6-inches below the ceiling – rather than right over the window trim – to make the room feel taller.

Harness the Power of Reflection

Take advantage of beautiful mirrors and other reflective elements, via metallic accents, mirrored tiles and glass. Not only do they reflect the space in front of them, creating an illusion of depth, they also optimize light availability – which also increases a sense of spaciousness.

Integrate Smart Storage

Hidden storage reduces clutter and literally opens up the room’s visual and usable square footage. Ottomans with storage, recessed shelving in interior walls, window seats with hinged bench seating – all are examples of how everyday furnishings can be used to expand a room’s storage potential.

Implement a few of these tips to enjoy extra square footage without the need for a full home addition.



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