Authored by Bobby Berk

When it comes to designing and decorating small spaces, there are a few tried and true tips the best designers use to make a room appear much larger than it actually is. Some of these techniques go against common logic, so let’s take a look at these methods, including misconceptions about making your spaces feel bigger. Here are Bobby Berk‘s top 10 tips on making a small room appear larger.

1. Ceilings
One misconception people have is that a dark ceiling feels visually impeding. We’ve had great success with dark or wallpapered ceilings, as the eye is drawn upward which gives the effect of a more vertically expansive space. Keeping walls and flooring light reflects more light and makes the space feel larger. Dark colors can make a room feel cozier, as more light is absorbed. Dark colors can work in small spaces, but lighter walls will definitely make the space feel bigger than dark colors will.

dark ceilings
2. Scaling
Make sure the pieces you select are in scale with the room. One large piece such as a sectional that spans the width of the wall, or a large etagere or display piece can actually fill the room, giving the effect of more space. This is another counterintuitive technique, but it can be successful if you stick to one large piece in lieu of several smaller ones with the same function (such as several chairs as opposed to a sectional). Don’t crowd the room with lots of large pieces however. Consider smaller scaled end tables and chairs.

one large piece

3. Base Selection
Another note about the pieces you select; Use chairs, sofas tables etc. that have legs rather than solid bases or skirts. Being able to see under and through pieces makes the room feel visually extensive. This effect can also be achieved with wall-hung desks, open shelving, and lucite pieces. If you don’t have a lot of room, consider a translucent glass coffee table or one with open storage below, for instance. When you can see through it, it will trick the eye into believing there’s more room. Sometimes using all pieces with legs can make for a ͞leggy͟ arrangement that looks visually cluttered on the lower plane of the space, so consider one solid or skirted sofa base and other open or legged pieces but avoid that too-many-legs trap. A pedestal base table such as the iconic Saarinen tulip table is a great solution to this pitfall.

floating sofa

4. Storage
If you can pick furniture with double-duty uses or storage, you will effectively reduce visual clutter, give yourself ample storage for things you don’t always want out, and reduce the number of pieces required in the room. Consider decorative boxes to store smaller trinkets.

multi0functional coffee table

5. Mirrors
Mirrors reflect light and make the space look visually twice as big. Consider a large mirror or arrangement of several mirrors to further open the space.

mirrors

6. Float
Consider floating furniture. Sometimes we like to think that if we push everything to a wall it will leave as much space as possible in the center of the room, but floating pieces a bit away from the wall or doing a seating arrangement in the center of the room can allow visual room and/or physical circulation that create a nice open effect. Utilize a space plan that gives the small space flow.

Floating Furniture

7. Windows
Don’t use heavy window treatments which can tend to impede visual space. Opt for roman shades, or go Dutch! If you must use curtains, make sure to hang them high. The closer the ceiling, the taller the space will feel.

shades

8. Stripe Effect
Horizontal stripes can have the effect of making a room feel more expansive on the horizontal plane, while vertical stripes make a room look taller. This can be achieved on the floor with a rug as well.

stripes

9. Scheme
If you stick to a controlled color palette, the room won’t feel so chopped up. You can go monochromatic or tertiary, but keep it light, airy and cohesive. Your staple furniture pieces should be neutral, and you can layer with patterned pillows and art. Make sure there are a variety of finishes and textures to make your space interesting in a subtle fashion.
Hallways
10. Pathways
Hallways and adjacent rooms should be airy and consistent in color to visually flow from space to space.


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