Do you struggle for space in your home? Do you sometimes feel like the walls are closing in on you? Living in a small and overcrowded home can become stifling at times, but this issue is often a mental one.
We all need space to breathe, relax and be alone with our thoughts — but that’s not always easy when you can’t swing a cat without hitting a relative or cohabitant. Don’t despair just yet, however, as many of your problems can be solved relatively simply… with no need for extensions and renovations.
By making just a few changes to the layout, decor and overall feel of your home, you can create the illusion of space — and that’s often nearly as effective as extensive building work if done correctly.
These six relatively simple tips should give you the illusion of more space without a hefty builder’s bill.
1. Embrace all things monochrome
While you may love to bathe your rooms in colour, this could be making them appear a lot smaller and overcrowded. Generally speaking, monochrome colour schemes allow the eyes to move more easily around the room because they aren’t constantly being interrupted by different visual stimuli. If you want to magically grow the size of a room, paint it white — you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
2. Use mirrors
Mirrors reflect light, which can make a living space feel more airy and spacious. And because you’re reflecting the existing space in a room, you’re adding depth. The odd ceiling-to-floor mirror placed strategically around a room can completely transform it in an instant. Wherever possible, place a mirror opposite a window to harness natural light.
3. Be selective with your furniture
Avoid placing large, cumbersome items of furniture in your smallest rooms. Also, use couches and sofas that are raised by legs, as skirting around the bottom blocks light. Anything made with light woods such as beech is always a good idea. Think carefully about what you do and don’t need in terms of furniture and general possessions. Is that bookshelf with old CDs really necessary? Is the old Hi-Fi table taking up space needlessly? Think light, mobile and minimalistic, and you should be able to make the right space-saving decisions.
4. Create large expanses of floor space
Nothing breaks up a living space like different areas of flooring. If you have open-plan spaces in your home, try to maintain one consistent floor type throughout. For instance, you don’t want carpet in your living room and hardwood flooring in your dining room if they aren’t divided by a wall. Choose a plain, light-coloured carpet or real wood flooring, and fit it throughout your living areas.
5. Use curtains and drapes strategically
Enclosing your windows with heavy and dark curtains will make things look a little crowded. Natural light always makes a room appear bigger, so it’s important to leave windows as open to sunlight as possible, which also includes moving furniture away. When you do use curtains or drapes, fit them well above the top of the window — as near to the ceiling as possible. Also, make sure they reach the floor. This will create the illusion of a much larger window, thus increasing the perceived size of the room.
6. Keep the lights low
Ceiling lights create large shadows, which can create the illusion of a much smaller space. To counteract this, make sure you have plenty of low-level lights in the room — on the wall, standing on the floor and on tables and desks. Where ceiling lights are essential, make sure they are pendant lights and suspend them as low as you can without causing a health and safety hazard.
If your living areas seem oppressively small, don’t get the builders in just yet. Try these space-creating tips first to see if you can create the illusion of larger rooms without the price-tag.