Five Simple Design Hacks: How to make a Small Space Appear Bigger

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Imagine a large spacious room with sky high ceilings and full-length French windows letting in an abundance of bright natural light. Now imagine how that makes you feel – light, airy and classically grand all at once? It can seem impossible to invoke the same sense of space in small city apartments and maisonettes, but these five simple design hacks can help you do just that and maximise the potential of your home.


1. Maximise Natural Light


This one seems like a no brainer, but I’ve often seen homes where the key sources of natural light are blocked. If your sofa is too high and covers even a part of your window, move it away. That chest of drawers that’s slightly higher to your windowsill? Move that against a wall. Rearranging furniture is often one of the easiest ways to allow more natural light into your room. You also need to ensure that you keep any windows squeaky clean.


2. Paint Your Walls and Ceilings in the Same Colour


When your walls are a different colour to your ceiling (no matter how subtle the difference), it creates a visual division which accentuates lower ceiling heights. Instead, try painting your entire room (ceilings and all) in the same colour. The continuity of colour creates an illusion of greater depth and height, making your room appear bigger than it is.



The colour you do choose for your room is also important. If your room has more natural light , white walls and white ceilings are the way to go. The white surfaces will help to bounce light around and make your room feel airier. If your room has less natural light consider dark walls and dark ceilings. This may sound bonkers, but trust me. Adding dark paint to these surfaces makes the walls recede and the junction between wall and ceiling dissolve into one another. That tiny little space is now suddenly a cosy haven with gorgeous rich tones.


There’s obviously a little grey area in between


3. Use Curtains Strategically


There are two tips you need to follow to make your curtains work for you – length and placement. When it comes to length, I always opt for full length curtains (they need to touch the floor and break the crease just once to give you the perfect length), even if you don’t have full length windows. This adds a sense of opulence and grandeur to any space. Curtain placement is also key – make sure any curtain rod you install extends beyond either side of your window casing and mount it several inches above where your window ends. This will make your windows and therefore your room appear larger and give an illusion of height.


Alternatively if you space is super small and you don’t need to block off the light completely (somewhere like a living room) consider blinds and shutters. Not only can this make your room look and feel expensive, they don’t intrude onto your space ensuring you can use every square inch.



4. Give Your Space Room to Breathe


This goes without saying but avoid clutter at all costs. It can be tempting to fill your shelves with decorative items and books, but make sure you give your space “room to breathe” by deliberately allowing empty spaces on your shelves. Keep décor items on your coffee table minimal and try to simplify what you choose to display on available surfaces.


Even when it comes to artwork or photographs, a handful of larger frames and canvases are a better choice than clusters of smaller painting or pictures. One single art piece should cover 65 – 70 % of the wall size on average, and will immediately make you home look more expensive and larger.


The same applies to furniture – pushing your sofa back to the wall seems like the obvious choice but bringing it slightly of the wall (10 cms) will allow it space to breathe and that statement artwork above the sofa is now the pride of a wall that is undisturbed by furniture.

Make sure to leave space (50-60cms) between items of furniture as well. This will give your furniture its own stage, as well as allow you space to circulate in between.



5. Lighten Up Your Floors


Dark or fully carpeted floors can make a room feel smaller or more closed off. Choose light coloured wooden flooring where feasible. If you can run that same type of flooring throughout the house your rooms will extend into one another and feel bigger than they actually are.


If the expense to redo your flooring is too high, you can always add a light-coloured rug to achieve a brighter and airier colour palette.

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