Increasing Your Square Footage Without Needing A Construction Crew
by Kevin Scott
Trickery and deceit are never a good thing—unless we’re talking about home design. You may not be able to actually increase the square footage you’re working with, but you can certainly utilize some clever tricks to make a space look larger.
Design is really about understanding how to take advantage of everything from furnishings to window treatments to open up a space. Following these tips can take a space from small and cramped to airy and spacious.
The key to decorating a small room is to draw the eye upward. If you have a boxy room that seems small, use tricks that will bring your eye toward the ceiling. The effect is that the ceilings not only appear higher, but the room will also take on a more grandiose feeling.
So how do you do it?
Choose Artwork that is long, and reaches up toward the ceiling. If you don’t have art that fits this description, consider creating a gallery wall, where you can incorporate a collection of several smaller pieces of art or photographs, and bring them up to the ceiling.
Utilize vertical stripes. This can be done in many ways; using wallpaper with vertical stripes, using painters tape as a template to paint vertical stripe, or even something as subtle as choosing window coverings that feature a vertical pattern. Much like vertical stripes in clothing can make you appear longer and leaner when you’re wearing them, the impact can be similar when used in a room.
Pendant lighting is also a good way to incorporate vertical components in a room, because the length of the light hanging from the ceiling immediately draws the eyes upward
Creating zones is an easy and functional way to trick the eye into believing a room is larger than it really is. What this means is designating various spaces within one room. For example, if your bedroom is small, think about having the area where the bed is, but then also designating a reading area with a couple of well-placed chairs and maybe a small table in-between. In a living room you can create a similar effect, using things like shelves or decorative room dividers to delineate different areas. When doing this, just ensure you plan a clear and usable traffic pattern, otherwise you run the risk of having a room that feels cramped and cluttered.
Functional and Streamlined Furniture
Don’t overwhelm a small space with burdensome furniture. Instead, choose items that are multi-purpose, low to the ground, sleek and streamlined. It’s also a good idea to choose furniture that pulls double-duty, to best take advantage of the available space. For example, choose a bed that has storage built-in underneath, and also sits low to the ground. You can also opt for sofas that are low to the ground, and rather than using large entertainment centers or bulky shelves, go for a floating effect by installing shelving directly on the wall. You’ll save valuable floor space, making the room appear larger and also maximizing what’s available to you.
Simple and Elegant Window Coverings
In order to open up a small space, simple window treatments often work best, and they should be kept uniform throughout the room. Choose something that can easily be adjusted to allow for ample natural light. Additionally, if your ultimate goal is increasing the apparent size of a room, a good rule of thumb is to choose window treatments that are similar to the color of the walls. The reason? When there’s contrast in the color of the window treatments and the walls, it causes a break in the space, which makes it look smaller than it does when there’s continuity.
Another great tip? If you’re using draperies, mount them as close to the ceiling as possible. This all goes back to our first tip—anything to draw the eye upward.
Harness the Magic of Mirrors
Mirrors are an amazing tool in the world of decorating, and they can really create the illusion of space in even the most confined of rooms. Mirrors have dual purposes—they reflect light, but they also eliminate boundaries within a room. Try using a tall mirror placed on the floor, mirrors to reflect the view from a window, or creating an arrangement of mirrors on a wall. All of these are instant space-creators.
Just Get Creative
Whether you live in an urban apartment, or have a small room in your home that you’re starting to decorate, having limited space doesn’t limit your design possibilities. With a little creativity you can create the appearance of a spacious, beautiful room, even if you’re lacking in square footage.