Portland Interior Designer’s Top 10 Tips to Make Your Small Space Look BIGGER: part 1
Are you living in a smaller space than you have in the past and feeling a little cooped up? Do you want (or need) to downsize, but you’re not sure how you’ll feel in a smaller space? If you are selling a smaller home, your place could be perfect for those looking for smaller or starter homes. But the very people who are looking for those smaller spaces may have a hard time imagining how to live in them. Whatever your reasons are, I’ve got 10 great tips for making small spaces feel B-I-G-G-E-R!
1. Fewer Pieces … of Anything! In small rooms, the more pieces of furniture you put in, the more crowded it begins to feel. Think carefully about each piece you put in. If you have a coffee table, will you really need side tables too? It also begins to feel more crowded with lots of accessories on top of tables & shelves. A few nice, large accessories will create stronger focal points and give the illusion of a spacious room. Even with art, which is hanging on the wall, a single large piece of artwork will make a place feel larger than groups of small pictures.
2. Reduce “Visual Weight” of Furnishings: Believe it or not, the style of your furniture is even more important than the actual size. Select seating pieces that have open space under the cushions (8″ or more is good) rather than upholstery or skirts down to the floor. Think “leggy”! Because you can see under the furniture, it doesn’t stop your eye, and the room feels bigger. Glass table tops can be seen through, so they don’t take up as much “visual space” even though they may be just as large as a wood table. No sharp corners on these because it is a bit easier to bang your shins. I’m speaking from experience here. Simple, clean lines are also easier on the eye than very ornate pieces and keep the room looking bigger. I would tell you this even if I didn’t love modern design. I swear!
3. Smoke & Mirrors: Okay, well I was kidding about the smoke. That won’t help you at all. But mirrors are pure magic when it comes to adding the look of large! Consider putting sheet mirror on an entire wall. In a miniscule kitchen I once had, I had mirror custom cut to fit on the wall behind the sink and continued it under the cabinets above the backsplash. It was amazing how much bigger my kitchen felt with the windows on the other side reflected in this mirror. Or you can try standing a large, framed floor mirror against a wall. It will feel like an open doorway into another room, thereby expanding the space. Just remember the one cardinal rule of mirror placement: The mirror needs to reflect something beautiful and bright – not a vacant white wall.
4. Floors – the Foundation for an Expansive Feel: That’s expansive – not expensive! Having the same flooring continue throughout your home will allow your eye to move past the boundaries of the doorways, making each room feel a little bigger. If you have tile flooring, setting it on the diagonal always makes the room look larger than setting it square. This is a great trick for tiny bathrooms!
5. A Room With A View: Opening up any views the room has will improve the feeling of extra space. Window drapery panels should be floor to ceiling and the curtain rod holders should be set at least 8″ to 10″ past the sides of the glass so that when the drape is pushed back, it exposes the entire window and gives the maximum view. Hanging the draperies this way makes the window look larger too. Do you own your home? If you have smaller windows, replacing them with larger ones or with French doors will visually expand your space into the great outdoors. If you don’t have a view, consider a full wall mural of an outdoor scene. A good one can really make you feel like you have more space. Continue reading part 2, tips 6 through 10 … PLUS Bonus Tip For Home Sellers!