Every room, large or small, has the potential to look grand. In spaces with a limited footprint, everything counts, and you have to be super selective about what pieces to include in order to maximize the functionality of the space.
Luckily, there are many decorating tricks to fool the eye into believing that a room is more spacious than it actually is, and here are my top 10 tips for creating that high style look when you’re low on space.
1. GET RID OF CLUTTER.
There’s nothing like having too much stuff to make a room feel cramped. Mess causes stress, so make sure to carefully edit what to keep in your space. Keep things simple and remember that less is more – one larger piece of artwork as opposed to a busy gallery wall of smaller prints; shelving with open spaces feel more airy than shelves packed full of books and other items.
Mirrors make a room look larger and reflect light. Try placing a mirror near a window to reflect the view outside or behind a pair of nightstands flanking a bed, to give the illusion of greater depth. Mirrored furnishings, kitchen cabinet doors with mirrored inserts and mirrored closet doors in bedrooms are clever ways to incorporate mirrors in a space to create an optical illusion.
3. THE RIGHT COLOR PALETTE
Light colors make a room look bigger and brighter, whereas dark colors tend to absorb light, making a room look smaller. Choose a light and neutral color palette to visually expand your space and to create a soft, relaxing ambiance. Paint the walls and trim in the same color – keeping things as simple as possible so that trim and doors blend with the walls unifies the space.
4. THE FIFTH WALL
The ceiling, often known as the forgotten fifth wall, is a great opportunity to draw the eye upwards and create the illusion of higher ceilings. Make your ceiling pop in a bright color or with wallpaper to create a stunning focal point in the room.
5. CLEVER DRAPERY TRICKS
Make ceilings appear taller and windows look larger by hanging the curtain rod close to the ceiling and extending it wider than the window. Sheer curtains let the light in and are a great choice for smaller rooms, but should you opt for fabric curtains, try to blend the fabric color with the wall color. A solid color or a small-scale pattern is preferable to a large-scale print, and stripes elongate a space.
6. HIGH AND LOW
Bring bookcases and kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling to lead the eye upwards and fake the appearance of a taller space. Floor to ceiling built-in storage is a great space-saving option. Additionally, the wrong size rug makes a room feel smaller. Bigger is better – at the very least, the front legs of the furniture pieces should rest on the rug; having all the furniture pieces on the rug makes a room feel even more spacious.
7. OVERSIZED ARTWORK
Just because a room is small, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be dramatic. A large-scale piece of artwork creates a beautiful focal point and makes a room feel grand.
8. SHOW SOME LEG
Opt for furnishings that are raised on exposed legs. This creates a more open feel than pieces which sit directly on the ground or which have a skirted base.
9. THINK CLEARLY
Transparent materials, such as glass and lucite, take up less visual space in a room. A glass dining table or desk is the perfect choice for tricking the eye into thinking that there’s more room than there actually is. Glass or lucite living room tables, open up the space around larger upholstery pieces.
10. LESS IS MORE
Fewer, larger furniture items, as opposed to numerous smaller items, make a room feel less cluttered and consequently larger. For example, a sectional scaled to the size of the room is less bulky than a sofa and two armchairs. Also, furniture that is multi-functional, allows for greater flexibility and can free up a lot of valuable space. Ottomans are a great example of this – they can include room for storage, as well as function as a table or as additional seating. Be creative!