Trick the eye into thinking that your space is bigger than it really is


Contrary to popular belief (and vocabulary), a spacious room doesn’t need to have actual space.

It doesn’t take a lot to make a space feel bigger than it really is. The key is to extend your view upwards and sideways, far beyond the confines of your actual square feet.

1. Choose and place your furniture wisely

Living room with yellow accents

© Katarzyna Białasiewicz | 123rf

You may already know not to choose furniture pieces that are too large, but did you know that you also shouldn’t choose pieces that are too tall? Watch out for that back on that armchair, make sure that it doesn’t swallow the height of the room. Furniture that is lower to the ground leaves more breathing room for the eyes.

Speaking of breathing room, place your furniture away from the wall – don’t stick the back of that sofa to the wall, it will make the room appear stuffy. Also arrange your furniture to make way for walkways and don’t block traffic from entrances and exits.

To further enhance traffic and create an illusion of flow (and space), choose rounded tables without hard edges. As for chairs and tables, choose ones with neat, vertical legs instead of ones that splay out.

2. Single colour, multiple shades

While some experts say light coloured walls reflect light and make the room appear bigger, others say that dark walls appear to recede, making them seem like they are further away than they really are.

Our takeaway: Whatever colour you choose for your room, it’s best to keep to one colour for your walls, ceiling, and flooring, and for interest, vary the shades! This unifies the room and doesn’t interrupt the flow of one surface to another, making the room look larger.

3. One flooring to rule them all

The same way that a single colour extends a space, choose one type of flooring for an open space to reduce visual interruption. For the same reason, select wider floorboards or tiles.

While rugs add cosiness and make great decorative additions, minimise the use of rugs or keep them small or only slightly larger than the furniture it’s under. Never place whole sofas on a rug; make sure half of the base juts out of the rug.

4. Don’t cover your windows

It’s no secret that light makes a room feel more spacious. If you don’t get direct sunlight through your windows and if they don’t face a neighbour, consider leaving windows uncovered or minimally covered with sheer curtains.

Create an illusion of height and width by placing your curtain rod as close to the ceiling as possible, then extend the rod out from the horizontal measurement of the window.

5. Add reflective surfaces


© Katarzyna Białasiewicz | 123rf

To stream even more light through your space, add reflective surfaces like glass furniture, mirrored tiles, and reflective counters. Or even better, good ol’ mirrors.

The right oversized mirror will sit well in a petite space.

6. Doors are optional

Downsize your shelves and counters by having doorless options. In line with rustic interiors, open shelving is extremely trendy now.

Consider removing doors between rooms like the living room and dining area. Instead, use an archway to draw a line between the space without closing off rooms. You can also use sliding doors that don’t take up too much space and can be left open when you need the space. Barn doors are also extremely trendy!

7. Secret or strategic storage

When space is a premium, you’ll have to find ways to store your books, remote controls, and other knick-knacks in clever ways. Consider trunks that double as seating or ottoman that double as coffee tables.

If you’re going with over storage, then go all the way…to the top, that is. Ceiling to floor shelving makes the room feel taller than it actually is.

This article was originally published as Trick the eye into thinking that your space is bigger than it really is by and is written by Charmaine Kon.