Tuesday, June 29, 2010

5 Tips to Make a Small Room Feel Bigger

We all seem to want more, bigger, better, taller, faster, etc. these days. We want our homes to feel bigger, especially as people are starting to downsize and economize. There are several design tricks that you can do to make a small space feel taller, wider or larger.

1. Use window treatments to maximize the size of a room. This can also maximize or call attention to a view. By bringing attention to the outside, you are also visually expanding interior space. Hang full length, floor to ceiling drapery panels beyond both sides of a window and 2-3" below the crown molding (or 4-5" below ceiling if there is no crown molding). It is amazing how effective window treatments can transform a small space.

2. Use paint colors to create visual depth in a small room by painting the ceiling the same color or a shade or two lighter value than the color on the walls. You can also play with depth by painting a feature wall in a room 2-3 shades darker in value of the same color on the walls. Also use the dark color for insets and the back of bookshelves to increase visual depth.

3. In a small room, use larger furniture. Small furniture in a small room tends to emphazise how small the room is. But be careful to not over-scale the furniture so that it "eats the space".

4. Use vertical stripes or patterns in wallpaper or paint to make a room feel taller. For example, after painting a room in a matte finish, a subtle striping can be acheived by taping off vertical wide stripes (8-14" wide) with a semi-gloss clear coat polyeurathane or a pearlized glaze to visually expand the height of a room. It works the same way to stripe horizontally to make a room feel wider or bigger. You can even get the expanded feeling by just striping one large wall as an accent or feature wall. Another example is to use a textured wallcovering such as grass cloth. I love it and it's back! Hang the grass cloth horizontally for a more contemporary look. The natural horizontal pattern will make the room feel wider.

5. Tall bookshelves will make a room feel bigger. Don't skimp, but go big! You can even use base cabinetry topped with open bookshelves all the way to the ceiling to really make a room feel much larger and more interesting. Be careful though, as you want to keep the open bookshelves free of clutter. Resist the urge to use lots of little nic nacs and photos. This is where a good interior designer can really help you merchandise the shelves so they can display collections and interesting objects that mean something to you plus, they provide great storage which is often lacking in small rooms.

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