From dorm rooms to studio apartments and modern tiny houses, learning to live within small spaces is becoming the norm. And while you may not be able to knock down the walls and take over your neighbor’s place, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to feel cooped-up or claustrophobic in your own space. In fact, there are plenty of simple strategies you can use to make even the smallest areas in your home feel bigger and more breathable.
This one’s a bit of an optical illusion, but that’s okay–the key behind making small rooms feel larger is optics. Furniture on legs, like the couch and ottoman pictured below, makes the room feel larger and more open.
This one might sound a little counterintuitive at first…wouldn’t a big rug make a small room look even smaller? Not quite. Large rugs can be used to organize the space into different sections–a trick that’s especially handy in studio apartments or multi-functional rooms.
A set of floating shelves tackles two major hurdles of living in a small space: lack of floorspace for freestanding shelves, and a lack of surface space for your stuff.
Installing a hanging basket is a great way to tap into your room’s biggest untapped resource: the ceiling. By hanging plants from the ceiling, you’re freeing up the space they would otherwise occupy on the floor or furniture.
Light color walls
If your goal is to make a room feel larger, steer clear of dark walls and flooring. Light colors reflect light better than darker pigments, which tricks the eye into thinking the space is larger than it actually is. You can even take it a step further by painting the trim and crown molding a shade lighter than the walls–this makes them seem further away and opens up the room.
Never underestimate the power of a strategically placed mirror. Hanging a mirror–especially a large one–will make a small room look more open and airy. Placing the mirror near a window is extra effective because it bounces natural light back into the room!
When your floor space is limited, the only direction to go is up! While low ceilings can create a cramped, cave-like feeling, higher ceilings give the space (and everyone inside it) room to breathe.
Floor-to-ceiling windows do a better job at emphasizing a room’s vertical dimensions than smaller windows. Plus, they let lots of natural light in; well-lit rooms feel larger and airier than dim rooms filled with shadowy corners.
Breezy and delicate, sheer curtains allow more natural light into your home than thicker curtain styles like blackout, light filtering, and room darkening. Look for curtains made of fabrics like voile, tulle, and steer clear of heavier fabrics like velvet and satin.
And there you have it! Put a few of these practices into play and your small space will instantly feel bigger, roomier, and more comfortable.