How to Make a Small Space Look Larger
By Thiyashi Koththigoda
If decorated badly, a small space can feel more cramped than it is. By making smart design choices, you can really open up space you live in and make it feel roomy. Whether you are looking to completely redecorate your room or just make a few small improvements, here’s how you can make your small living space look larger.
Colours have the ability to shift our perception of our surroundings. It’s common knowledge that light colours make things seem bigger while dark colours make things seem smaller. This basic principle can be applied to your space to make it seem larger than it is. Although darker colour palettes can create a cosy feel, it’s best for more spacious rooms. Similarly, a complementary colour palette made of opposing colours works better for larger rooms too.
Too many contrasting hues can create visual noise and interrupt the flow of the space. When creating a colour palette for smaller rooms, opt for light or neutral tones. Light shades of grey, blue and green are often ideal for this. These colours can be applied to walls for an airy and roomy feel. Another option is to go for a monochromatic colour palette, where your entire room is composed of shades of one colour. Walls facing each other could be painted with a deeper shade and then a lighter shade of the same colour. This would create a sense of depth and roominess while still maintaining visual interest.
Furniture and décor in matching shades can also be added to maintain a cohesive look and create a visual flow. You can also always opt for the timeless look of white walls to create a sense of openness. White has reflective qualities, allowing any artificial and natural light to bounce off and illuminate the space.
If bright white seems too jarring for your walls, consider an off white or a beige tone. Another tip is to paint your ceiling either white or any other bright colour. Matching the colour of your ceiling to your walls can blur the boundary between them. This helps the eye travel up easily and creates an illusion of openness.
Fix up the furniture
The bulk of a room is made up of the furniture placed in it. So adjusting what this furniture is and how it’s placed is key to creating the illusion of space. The most important thing to remember is that your furniture should be scaled appropriately and kept in proportion. Avoid oversized furniture that takes up valuable space. It’s also always better to have a few pieces of statement furniture rather than lots of small furnishings cluttering up the place. You can choose weed out pieces that take up too much space.
When arranging your furniture, resist the urge to push it up against walls. Leave some breathing space between walls and furniture. You could also angle the furniture away from the walls or even arrange them in one area leaving lots of open space around them. Leaving ample floor space and clearing out pathways can really open up a room. If you’re buying new furniture, be wise about the type of pieces you’re buying. Make sure to buy furniture with visible legs and avoid ones that lay on the floor.
The legs and space between the legs of the furniture can draw the eyes upwards and visibly create an open look. Furniture that is transparent or reflective can also really add depth. For example, glass coffee tables or marble top counters can let light through or bounce about. Since it’s important to clear out clutter or excessive objects, multifunctional furniture can also be beneficial. Being able to store away extra things or the furniture itself can help in creating a cleaner and more open look. You can opt for furniture like folding tables or coffee tables with built-in storage.
An extra tip is to pick furnishings that have plain and light colours. This can be taken a step further by picking some furniture that is the same colour as the wall, allowing them to blend in and create an air of spaciousness.
Lots of light
How you deal with the lighting in your space can also determine how spacious it looks. Allowing in a lot of natural light or adding in artificial light strategically are both guaranteed ways to brighten up and open up a room. First, it’s always important to consider the treatment of the windows. The simplest way is to just push the drapes or curtains you have away, exposing the window frames. Letting natural light flood the room is always an easy trick.
To step it up, you could get curtains or drapes that are light and airy. Dark and heavy curtains block out light and clutter up the window area. Try to get curtains that are lighter in colour or made of sheer material. A good option is lightweight sheer lace curtains. Alternatively, you could also try slatted window blinds or cloth blinds for more control over the light entering the room. Another tip is to ensure that the curtains reach from the ceiling to the floor by attaching the railing higher up the wall.
This can create a sweeping look, drawing the eye up. When it comes to artificial lighting, you can add either lighting fixtures or lamps to darkened areas of the room. One suggestion is to have several light sources throughout the room rather than one central piece of overhead lighting.
This disperses the illumination throughout the space, creating roominess. Changing out the type of bulb you have in your light sources can also make a huge difference. The key is to use daylight LED bulbs, which mimic the natural light given off by the sun. The light brighter and has a cooler colour, helping to open up your room through better illumination.
Decide on the décor
The final touch is the décor, which can also be curated and altered to create spaciousness. Like with furniture, it’s important to reduce clutter by getting rid of any unnecessary décor. Keep only several key pieces of décor and arrange them on designated surfaces. You can group up to 3 items and place each group in varying locations. Not all surfaces have to have décor; some can be left empty to accentuate the largeness of the space. Your décor can be colour coordinated to create a flow around the room or it can be accents of colour in a neutral palette that draws the eye too. If you’re going to buy new décor, consider investing in decorative mirrors.
Mirrors reflect both the light in the room and the view of the room, making it a great décor piece for expanding the space. You could also consider decluttering the walls by just putting up one large piece of wall art. Keep it limiter to one wall and avoid crowding the walls with multiple smaller art pieces. An extra tip when picking décor (or even furniture) is to pick small patterns, plain colours and especially horizontal and vertical stripes. The last two patterns can effectively elongate the space.