Nine Ways to Visually Create More Space

Many people think of adding square footage to create more space. But that doesn’t have to be the case. You can make your home appear bigger without going through the hassle of renovating and remodelling. With just a few home modifications, it is possible to make more from less. And remember, often what the eye needs is the illusion of spaciousness not actually more space.

Here’s how to create the illusion of space without adding square footage.

1. Think diagonal views. Think back to geometry and how the hypotenuse of the triangle was the longest of the three sides. Apply that to the sightlines within your small-house design. Your house will appear much bigger than it actually is if you are able to stand at one corner of the house and look to the far corner without any obstructions. Also, if you have a room that will be tiled, place the tiles on a diagonal. It makes the space seem larger visually, pushing the walls out.

2. Think like a sailor. Sailboats usually have no wasted space and that’s what you should aim for. Look for opportunities for built-ins, such as building bookshelves in staircases, unique space-saving cabinets, drawers under beds, etc.

3. Use lighting to open up space and add interest. In creating the feeling of more space, it is important to give your house an airy feel. Use simple window dressings to bring in natural light and steal space from the outdoors and give it to the interior of the house.

If possible, use recessed spot lights as they are both visually appealing and have a low profile that is perfect for a small space.

4. Play with the furniture. Try to move furniture away from the walls if the space allows. It will give a feeling of more openness when a sofa isn’t butted against a wall. If you’re buying new pieces, try to purchase items that are on legs versus feet. The higher a piece sits from the floor, the more visual space is present. Also, armless furniture pieces give an illusion of extra space so consider an armless sofa or slipper chairs.

5. Accessorize. The bigger a piece of artwork is, the bigger the feeling of a space. A wall filled with many small pictures seems cluttered and less dynamic versus a wall with a large piece of art, which makes a bold statement. Also, “lighten up” your corners by using lights and plants. It will look stunning at night, casting shadows on the ceilings and giving an illusion of more space.

6. Use mirrors to reflect light. When using mirrors in a space, make sure that whatever the mirror is reflecting it is pleasing to the eye, or at least doubles the amount of light let into the space. In addition to mirrors, use other materials that reflect light and space (stainless steel, chrome, etc.). A glass table with stainless steel legs will allow light to bounce off it.

7. Colour your world. The colour of a room’s walls has the power to create a mood and affect the room’s appearance. Use just one or two colours per room for visual simplicity that expands a space. Also keep in mind that white, neutral or pale colours best reflect light, visually “pushing back” walls. Cool blue and green hues will make a space seem larger and airier. Warm reds and yellows cozy a room and can make it appear smaller.

8. Let there be height. Use at least one tall element in a room to draw the eye upward, towards the ceiling. Not only does this maximize the vertical space in the room, but it also draws the eye up to the less crowded ceiling space above.

9. Minimize the amount of furniture you have in each room. It is both wise and essential to select furniture and accessories that perform multiple tasks. The smaller your space, the more this applies, especially with furniture. Storage is an obvious second job for many pieces of furniture.

Every room has good proportions which make its space flexible enough to create any environment you wish. Compromises in decorating, colour techniques, furniture arranging and lighting considerations can all contribute to the illusion of space. By following some of the tips above, you can create a visually larger room.

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