While it may feel like the world is being overtaken by McMansions everywhere you look, our homes are actually getting smaller. From 2015 to 2018, the average newly-built single-family home in the United States decreased in size by approximately 79 square feet, while the size of an average studio apartment decreasing by 18 percent over the past decade. However, that doesn’t mean our spaces have to feel cluttered and cramped. So, how do we make our small homes feel spacious?
“First ask the question, ‘What is the function of this room?’” suggests interior designer Gwen Snyder Siegal, owner of The Nest Design. “Most likely in a smaller home or apartment, the room will be multi-functional. Even so, it is extremely important to place pieces in the room that are practical and likely to be used on a daily basis. In smaller spaces, there is no room for anything extraneous. This makes the fewer items you do choose to place in your small space even more important.” Ready to start reinventing your place as a more spacious and thoughtfully-designed home? We’ve rounded up 30 home design tricks that will make your space seem larger in no time. And when you want to de-clutter, try these 30 Genius Home Storage Hacks That Will Clear Up So Much Space.
Hang Curtains Above Your Window Frames
If you’re hanging your curtains across your windows, you might be inadvertently making your space look smaller. “Hang window treatments outside of window frames and right at or a couple of inches below the ceiling to fool the eye,” suggests interior designer Denise Gianna, owner of Denise Gianna Designs in Beacon, NY.
Move Furniture Away from Your Walls
While it may seem counterintuitive, moving furniture away from the walls and corners of your rooms can actually make the space look larger. “Your stuff needs space! Float furniture, even a few inches from that wall; keep corners clear and open; avoid the dreaded ‘catty-corner placement’ of furniture—it almost always reads as ‘my stuff was too big and I shoved it over here,’” says Gianna. And when you want to spruce up your space even further, it’s time to learn these 20 Home Maintenance Tips Everyone Should Know.
Paint Your Walls in Light Colors
The wrong paint job is the mortal enemy of a spacious-seeming home. If you want to make your house look larger, opt for light, neutral hues, like shades of white, yellow, and tan.
Add Mirrors Across from Windows
Want to create a larger-looking space in an instant? It all starts with careful placement of your mirrors. By placing mirrors across from windows or door frames, you can catch a glimpse of the outdoors or other rooms in their surface, making your space appear larger and more open. And when you want to keep your whole space spotless, start with these 20 Genius House-Cleaning Tricks That Will Blow Your Mind.
Choose Sheer Curtains
Those dark curtains are doing your home no favors. If you’re eager to make your space appear larger, do your best to maximize the natural light in the space, like using sheer curtains. The natural light passing through the curtains will draw your eye past the curtains, making any room seem more spacious in no time.
Add Built-In Bookcases
Freestanding bookcases may be convenient, but if you want to make your space seem larger, built-ins will serve you better. Since they’re recessed into your walls, built-ins will save you valuable square floor space and keep some of the clutter that tends to collect on bookcases at bay.
Hang Your TV
Want to buy yourself a few extra feet of floor space in mere minutes? Mount your TV on the wall. Ditching that bulky TV stand is one of the quickest ways to make any room look larger. Want to make your space seem more adult, as well? Add these 40 Items Every Man Over 40 Should Have in His Home to your must-buy list.
Install Crown Molding
Crown molding is an undeniably elegant design choice, but did you know it can also make your rooms look larger? Crown molding draws the eye upward, making your ceilings seem higher and the room larger as a whole.
Choose Drop-Leaf Tables for Dining
Love entertaining, but have little space to do it in? Opt for an expandable table. A table that magically transforms into one big enough to seat a large group of friends by installing a single panel—and can still fit in the corner—is a great choice for any apartment-dweller.
Add Some Clear Accent Pieces
The solution to a cramped space is usually always clear—literally. Much like sheer curtains, clear accent pieces, like lucite chairs or glass-topped tables, can create the impression that a room is larger than its actual square footage.
Maintain Consistent Color Schemes in Rooms
Don’t go crazy when it comes to color if you want to make your space seem bigger. Sticking to a cohesive color scheme in each room, or at least opting for pieces in hues that complement one another, will make the whole space feel larger. “Tints and shades in one color family make small spaces feel and look elegant and spacious!” says Gianna.
Stick to Low-Slung Pieces
Those high-backed chairs and tall lamps are a poor fit for a small space. Low-slung pieces will serve you better, making your ceilings appear taller and your rooms larger because they occupy less visual space.
Leave Some Unused Space on Open Shelving
A little clutter goes a long way in a small space. If you want to make a room look bigger, leave a bit of unused space on your shelving—not every inch of a surface needs to be covered in tchotchkes, after all.
Scale Back the Patterns
Patterned rugs and furniture can liven up a space in no time. Unfortunately, they can also make it feel smaller. If you want to make a room feel larger and more visually cohesive, stick to a single accent piece per room.
Organize Your Shelves by Color
Our brains tend to see clutter in busy spaces, but a few organizational tips can help remedy that. One easy way to make your space look neater and, as a result, more spacious, is to organize shelves by color, stacking books or dishes that are alike in color with one another.
Opt for Striped Accent Pieces
While many patterns can make a space look smaller, there’s one exception to the rule: stripes. In fact, stripes make spaces look larger, so if you’re decorating a small room, opt for striped curtains or a striped rug to maximize its visual space.
Choose Table Lamps Instead of Overhead Lighting
It may seem counterintuitive, but using table and floor lamps instead of overhead lighting can actually make a space look larger. While overhead lighting creates a single focal point in a room, table and floor lamps draw the eyes to different parts of a room, making it seem larger as you look around.
Add Storage Furniture Throughout Your Space
Clutter is the mortal enemy of small spaces, making them look even more petite. To mitigate this issue, choose furniture with built-in storage, storage ottomans and benches. Keeping that clutter out of sight will make your space look bigger in seconds.
Choose Larger Pieces of Furniture
Those itty-bitty chairs and tables are doing your small space a serious disservice. Counterintuitive as it may seem, larger pieces of furniture can make a room feel bigger—just make sure you limit the number of items in each room. “A couple of larger pieces keep a small space uncluttered. Too many little pieces just read like you have way too much!” says Gianna.
Match Your Furniture to Your Wall Color
One simple way to make any space look bigger is to match your furniture and walls. Too much contrast between your walls and your furniture can register as clutter, making any room seem smaller.
Ditch the Doors
Want to make your space seem bigger? Go open-concept. Even if you can’t knock down entire walls, ditching unnecessary doors between rooms will open up the space in no time.
Opt for Light Colored Flooring
Dark flooring is more than just dated—it’s actually making your space seem smaller, too. Light flooring, much like light paint and furniture, will make any room seem significantly more spacious.
Keep Your Curtains in the Same Color Family as Your Wall
Sheer curtains are a good start, but if you really want to make a room seem larger, you should keep them in the same color family as the paint on your walls, as well. The more cohesive a color palette is in a room, the bigger it will seem.
Choose Furniture on Legs
A little lift goes a long way when it comes to making your home seem more spacious. Furniture on legs allows light to pass under it, tricking you into thinking a space is larger.
Hang a Single Piece on the Wall
Instead of hanging a cluttered gallery wall, opt for a single piece of décor on each wall. Nixing that visual clutter is sure to make your space seem larger and more serene. “One or two large pieces of art or decor are much more appropriate in a small space than a group or clutter of small frames. Hang a painting or picture almost as wide as your sofa right above and at eye level for impact and to help the space appear spacious,” says Gianna.
Regularly Pare Down Your Collections
A clean space always looks larger than one that’s overloaded with stuff. Whenever possible, declutter and you’ll find your space looking larger in no time. “Clutter exacerbates stress and makes any size space look insufficient and messy. Decluttering. Curating. Organizing. Whatever you call it, keeping stuff manageable only works as an ongoing habit,” says Gianna.
Keep Your Floor Visible
While rugs and carpeting may protect your floors, keeping some bare floor space can make the room look bigger. To keep your floors safe from guests, simply have them take their shoes off when they come inside.
Choose a Clear Shower Curtain
Much like clear furniture, clear curtains in a shower extends the visibility in your bathroom. This, especially if it makes a window visible, will make the whole room seem larger.
Uncover the Windows
If all the sheer curtains in the world couldn’t make your tiny space seem bigger, ditch them entirely. A view outdoors makes any room look larger.
Use Multifunctional Pieces
Don’t let your furniture get lazy on you. If you want to make the most of your small space, choose pieces that multitask, like a kitchen table that you can also use as a desk, a bathroom vanity with storage space underneath, or a bed with drawers. And when you want to keep your space looking picture perfect, pick up these 20 Products That Make Cleaning So Much Easier.
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