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  • Writer's pictureKristin Bergunder

How To Make A Small Space Seem Bigger

It’s not unusual to want your home to feel bigger and roomier than it is. Maybe you want your studio apartment not to feel so small. Maybe you want your small house to feel a little bigger. Maybe you hope your mansion will feel like the larger mansion next door. Whatever brings you to this desire, here are some ways you can make your home seem bigger.

1. GET SMALLER STUFF This tip is brought to you by Captain Obvious. But just because the good Captain has a knack for stating the obvious, that doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Your sprawling couch might have been great for your last house, but maybe a loveseat is more appropriate for your new space. Do you need a kitchen table that seats 12, or would a smaller table work just as well? As we said, this may seem obvious — maybe even silly — but the experts agree on this one.

2. LIGHT, LIGHT, LIGHT Darker spaces feel smaller, and lighter spaces feel larger. While you probably can’t install floor-to-ceiling windows (though, if you can, go for it!), there are ways to fill a space with light and make it seem bigger: Install a skylight, paint your walls and/or ceilings in light colors, replace a dark rug with a light one (or light wood flooring), and use more electric light — particularly floor lamps — to keep areas bright. Any of these methods will brighten up and make a room seem bigger.

3. USE STRIPES The advice you’ve heard about clothing applies to rooms, too. Vertical stripes on a wall help a room seem taller, and a striped rug with the stripes running in the room’s longest dimension will make a room feel longer.

4. PULL FURNITURE AWAY FROM THE WALLS This one is counterintuitive, and you have to see it to believe it. When you pull your furniture (couches, chairs, tables, etc.) away from the wall slightly, it creates the illusion of spaciousness. This hack sends the subconscious message, “This room is so large that things don’t need to be put right against the wall!”

5. MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL It’s not about vanity, it’s about the illusion of space. A mirror on the wall in a room can give the feeling of more space because, when you see its reflection, it shows another whole room! The larger the mirror, the more dramatic the effect. That said, remember to keep it tasteful — too large and it’ll start to feel weird!

6. PICK FURNITURE THAT SHOWS SOME LEG Choose the couch with exposed legs rather than legs that are covered up. Choose the dresser with legs rather than one that sits on the ground. Put your bed on a simple frame rather than letting it sit on the ground. Seeing underneath furniture with exposed legs helps a room feel bigger because of the space between the floor and furniture.

7. INVEST IN FULL-LENGTH CURTAINS When you’re choosing curtains for your windows, use floor-length curtains even if the windows aren’t huge. Full-length curtains draw the eye upward and create the impression of height, even in a small space.

8. BUILD HIGH SHELVES While we’re on the subject of drawing the eye upward, consider building a shelf higher up on a wall and putting your books on it. Like floor-length curtains, a high shelf draws an eye upward and helps a small space seem bigger.

9. KEEP MORE THINGS HIDDEN AWAY WITH STORAGE Remember how your grandmother had her glass animals, her mug collection, her fine china, and her 153 thimbles on display? Remember how, although you loved her dearly, her house always felt a little claustrophobic? The more things that you leave visible in your home — particularly smaller items like books, DVDs, knickknacks, cords, office supplies, whatever — the more cluttered it’ll feel. To make your home feel larger, keep more things inside drawers, closets, in storage, wherever they won’t be just one more item taking up space.

If you look around your home and wish it were bigger, there are ways you could make it so. Unless you’re planning to take a sledgehammer to the walls and expand, tricking the eye into thinking your space is bigger is your next best bet. Good luck!

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