If you’ve ever visited a model home you might have wondered how on earth the estate agents (or realtors if you’re in the States) make a 100 foot apartment look like you could easily live there with your whole family – grandparents and distant relatives included. How do they make the room seem bigger than it really is? Here are ten secrets to make your room look bigger!
1. One of the best ways to make a room feel larger is to buy smaller scale furniture. This immediately creates more room and opens the space between different items of furniture. Large sofas, armchairs and tables will make a small room feel crowded, whereas properly scaled furniture won’t. To make a room feel large, furniture should not be allowed to overpower it. This is a fabulous example here – just look how dinky the desk and bed are, and how thin the cupboard is:
2. Leggy furniture (as in furniture with long legs!) works much better in a small space than furniture that sits on the ground. Consider furniture with cleaner and more open lines, like glass tabletops, chairs with open arms and furniture with exposed space underneath them. Here are some great examples below: This furniture make rooms look bigger because they don’t block the eye and the brain assumes that’s where the room ends. By allowing the eye to be drawn underneath the furniture, you’re allowing your brain to realise that the room extends.
3. We all love having guests over, so an adequate amount of seating is important. You can squeeze in tons of seating without taking up visual space by using stools and benches. For a more luxe look (and comfy seat), daybeds are a good option because they lack a back, therefore your eye doesn’t hit anything until the wall behind it. See how this works in the example below – how clever:
4. When you’re making a room feel bigger, don’t just think about the width of the room, think of the height too. A clever way to visually increase the height of a space is to install curtains several inches higher than the top of the window. Even if the windows in your apartment are just tiny squares you can fool the eye by installing curtains as if they were actually full height windows.
5. A bit of myth busting here (you know how much I love to do that!): Don’t assume that small rooms should always have light coloured walls. Dark colours actually recess, so visually the walls are pushed back. Dark paint colours are great in small spaces, especially for spaces where you need to put furniture right against the walls (as opposed to floating them in the center of the room). Another great tip – a ceiling that is lighter than the walls will look airier. Similarly, wall trims and furniture that are lighter that the walls will make your room more spacious, etc. I wouldn’t necessarily make all the furniture and trimmings in the room completely white, so try choosing colours that are a few shades lighter than the colour of the walls. This is a lovely example here – can you see how the dark green really creates an added depth to the room:
6. Lighting should be localized and focused rather than ambient and saturating. Try to situate lighting lower down, rather than high up and avoid ceiling-mounted lights. The colour should be warm and of course natural light is also important – the larger the windows, the bigger the room will feel. Take advantage of any natural lighting the room has by using translucent shades or curtains and pulling them right back.
7. Rooms feel bigger when they are less visually broken, so think about pushing more things out toward the walls to create a larger unbroken space in the middle. This is also important when thinking about spacing near the entrances of rooms and the height and bulk of furniture.
8. Invest in mirrors. Mirrors and larger scenic artwork (painting or photography) create depth. Replace dressers and cabinets with open shelves with mirrored backs to create a feeling of open space.
9. Don’t place furniture evenly around room, but group it so a large chunk of floor can be seen. Keep furniture in the center if there is room to walk around it. If the room is really tiny, keep the furniture against the wall. Another great tip is to keep furniture that is taller than the bottom of any windows away from them – functionally, it’s easier to open them, but it will also stop light being blocked and keep the room beautifully airy.
10. Finally, minimize clutter. For most of us, it’s probably the hardest but most effective change we can make! Remove some of the furniture, keep surfaces clear and clean. You will make your room look bigger and, on top of that, you will feel much better!