With rising populations in urban centres, fueled by gentrification and flight from the suburbs into previously undesirable city centres, rents continue to rise and space is at a premium. Nobody likes to live in a small box, but if you have little choice, there are things you can do to take advantage of the space you have. Even if you own your place and you’re happy with the space it gives you, rearranging the interior to give the appearance of more space is usually welcome.
But what techniques can you employ to make this easier? Here are a few ideas you might want to consider…
“Nobody likes to live in a small box,
but if you have little choice, there are
things you can do to take advantage
of the space you have.”
- You can make your room look taller by painting or wallpapering the ceiling; this can draw the eye upwards and make the room seem bigger
- Another way to draw the eyes upward is to hang shelves near the ceiling too, which also maximises your vertical storage
- Too many books for small ceiling shelves? Consider full floor to ceiling bookcases, which is a great way to add storage…
- …but don’t necessarily fill all the shelves up, as leaving some empty space will give your place an airier look!
- Stripes will elongate your space; consider a striped rug oriented along the length of the room. Rugs can also help to separate a room into smaller spaces
- Dramatic art pieces can make a room feel less cluttered, especially if they are large and bold
All About Colour
Good use of colour can really help you to open up a space.
- Colour coding your shelves helps to make them look more streamlined, less haphazard, and gives a sense of structure rather than disorder
- Use different shades of the same colour on your furniture and walls also helps make the space feel more open; think about curtains and drapes here too
- Use lighter, neutral colours on the walls and floor, which increases the airiness of the room rather than making it feel small and cozy
Just Furniture Things
What you put in the room is at least as important as what colour you paint it. Choose your items wisely, as well as how to arrange them.
- Pull furniture away from the wall: this will make the space look more open and reduce feelings of crampedness. Try placing pieces at an angle or in the open
- When choosing furniture, use a few large pieces instead of multiple smaller pieces; de-clutter relentlessly!
- On this theme, follow the cantaloupe rule: use fewer decorations that are bigger, rather than the other way around
- Use hidden storage, like an ottoman or a coffee table/desk that can be used for multiple purposes, or furniture that can be folded/stacked away
Light and Space
Controlling the amount of light in your space can really affect how it looks.
- A clear shower curtain in a small bathroom will increase feelings of space; take advantage of the natural light through the window
- Similarly, uncovered windows, allowing more light in, will give your space a bit more depth; use roman shades or roller shades if you have privacy concerns
- Transparent materials like glass and lucite can also help with light distribution, as can furniture with exposed legs
- Mirrors are key to help with lightness and airiness, and to create the illusion of more space
- Overhead lights can be really harsh and concentrate all the light in one space; aim for smaller lamps instead
Making a space look bigger requires work on several levels: you need to think about colour coordination, what kinds of furniture you buy and where and how to place it, the clever use of light, and various other tricks to play with human perception to banish the conception that you live in a small space. It isn’t difficult, but it does require planning and careful thought to get right – plus a bit of experimentation! Remember, what works for some people doesn’t work for everyone… and anyway, the most important thing is to live in a place that you love, regardless of how much space you feel you have!
What are your favorite tips to make a small space look larger?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.
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