Do you feel like you’re living inside a shoebox? Unless you live in a mansion, the majority of people probably wouldn’t mind a few extra square-footage in their home or apartment. Of course, physically expanding the space isn’t possible or too cost-prohibitive for many homeowners. The next best solution, then, is to create the perception of bigger space. This is actually easier to accomplish than most people realize.
- Use Light Colors
Paint the walls a neutral white or beige. You can also choose to use light-colored wallpaper. What’s wrong with dark and bold colors? Darker palettes are beneficial in their own right. They actually make the room feel cozy, warm, and serene. On the flip side, they also absorb light, which makes the space feel smaller. Light colors, on the other hand, reflect light and provides a more open and airy feel. You can also aim for lighter-colored floors. If you have no intention of replacing your flooring, then aim for large neutral-colored rugs.
If you absolutely prefer darker colors, then consider reserving dark paint for the ceiling. This draws the eyes upward, which creates a perceived depth of greater vertical height. Alternatively, you may reserve the dark color for a designated accent wall.
- Pull Furniture Away from the Walls
Due to the limited available space, homeowners may intuitively place furniture against the walls to maximize space in the center. However, it’s actually better not to position anything against the wall. When too much of the wall is covered by furniture or décor, it makes the space feel more cramped.
Free floating furniture helps create an airier feel. You don’t have to move everything to the center; just pulling it away from the wall a few inches will do the trick.
If you want to maximize usable space, then place a console table directly behind the sofa or couch. This way, you have functional storage space while retaining the airy feel.
- Draw the Eyes Upward
We discussed briefly a while ago about drawing the eyes upward to create a greater sense of vertical depth. There are so many more ways of accomplishing this beyond painting the ceiling a dark color. One creative way is to install free-floating shelves about two feet from the ceiling. Place ornate décor items, such as old hardback books, pottery, vintage candles, and ceramics. Mixing vintage furniture pieces with modern interiors can also do the trick, however, you should always consider using bright, colours when doing so. Another option is to go for elaborate crown moldings. You can even consider windows installed at ceiling height. This has the added benefit of drawing in more sunlight. More natural lighting that reflects off walls and mirrors create a more spacious feel.
- Follow the Cantaloupe Decorating Rule
With limited space, one would naturally think it would make more sense to use smaller decorative items. However, some home remodelers advocate the use of bigger items. They go by the cantaloupe rule, which basically says to refrain from using items smaller than a cantaloupe. Multiple smaller décor pieces crowd the space. Instead, use fewer décor pieces that exceed the size of a cantaloupe. Good options include a collection of vases that have decent height.
This rule also applies to wall décor. Aim for fewer and larger framed art or photo pieces rather than covering the wall with too much décor.
- Stick to Larger Furniture
This point is similar to the cantaloupe rule. Aim for fewer larger pieces rather than more smaller ones. In terms of furniture application, try to limit seating furniture to one or two pieces. For example, consider an L-shaped sofa, which is large enough to accommodate multiple bodies and is better than two smaller sofas or multiple chairs.
The same goes for cabinetry. If you have a TV, then the stand it rests on should be large enough to store all the essentials. If you still need more storage, then consider multi-functional furniture pieces with hidden cubbies.
It’s all about what the mind perceives. Even if the actual physical space is limited, you can trick the mind into believing the area is roomier than it actually is. The key is to be strategic with your decorating schemes and not rearrange the space without a clear aim in mind.
Hannah Hutchinson is an interior designer based in London, currently blogging for Westland London. She’s always chasing new ideas and likes thinking outside the box when it comes to incorporating fresh ideas to her clients’ new homes.