With average house sizes shrinking since the 1970s*, we’re likely to notice our home lives becoming rather cramped.
Short of an expensive extension or loft conversion, what can you do to make your home feel more spacious? Here we share our top ten tips and tricks from clever storage and lighting to use of colour and furniture choices.
Read on for 10 creative ways to make your space seem bigger.
*see graph below or visit LABC Warranty for more data
Ten tips to make your home feel more spacious
1.Brighten walls and floors
Choose paler, neutral paint colours to reflect light and give a feeling of openness. Similarly, a lighter choice of flooring will help to make your space seem larger and more airy. Keep soft furnishings in different shades of the same colour to give a feeling of cohesion and visual unity.
Darker colours absorb light, so are a generally better choice for larger rooms which you want to make more ‘cosy’. That being said, you can make narrow doorways appear larger by painting their edges in a contrasting, complimentary colour.
2. Purge to create space
The less clutter on show, the larger your space will look. One fix for this is clever storage (see below), but a better solution is simply to remove anything that you no longer want or need. This particularly applies to clothing, papers and books. Take a look at our blog post on how to declutter your home for a happier life or try the KonMarie method to find what ‘sparks joy’.
3. Get creative with storage and shelving
Choose multi-purpose furniture where possible. Items with hidden storage, such as ottomans are perfect for small spaces.
A large trunk or chest can be used for storage of towels or bedding and double-up as a window-seat or bedside table. A fold-out table can give you the option to invite guests for dinner without compromising on everyday space.
Invest in custom built-in storage whenever you can, in order to utilise every inch of space (underneath stairs, in eaves and especially hard-to-reach kitchen corners).
With open shelving, where your items are visible, try to group and organise your items in a way that is pleasing to the eye. Arranging things with intention will give your shelves structure, giving an impression of spaciousness.
Colour-coded bookshelves may be a step too far for most, but there’s no denying that they look striking.
4. Go big with artwork
While we might assume that large pictures will make a small space feel even smaller, in fact the opposite is true. A couple of carefully curated oversized art pieces can create a dramatic focal point and make a room feel bigger. However, be careful not to go over the top with this.
5. Trick of the light
Lighting can completely transform your room. More light creates a sense of depth.
Use lighting to open up a room by illuminating different areas. Always opt for more than one light source. Side table and floor standing lamps will draw attention to different areas of the room, while overhead lighting can be harsh.
Consider illuminating corners and recesses. One lighting trick to make a room seem wider is to light up the spaces either side of a chimney breast.
Pay attention to natural light. Where possible, leave windows undressed. If you need privacy, choose blinds for a sleeker look. Or play a visual trick by positioning a curtain rail slightly above and wider than the frame of your window. This will prevent curtains from blocking any natural light once opened and give the impression of a larger aperture.
Allow natural light to move through your home by replacing doors with glass or opting for open shelving. Open shelving will also incentivise you to declutter and stay organised.
6. Mirror mirror on the wall
As we’ve learned, depth gives a sense of spaciousness. Mirrors make your home feel more spacious by reflecting light and giving an illusion of extra room. The best way to achieve this effect is by placing a large mirror opposite a window, but do check that the reflection is a pleasing one (i.e. a park or garden rather than a fence or wall)!
- – Create symmetry by choosing a mirror frame that matches the size of your sofa.
- – Give the illusion of a whole extra room in your home by tucking a full-height mirror behind a sideboard.
7. It’s all in the details
Interior designers use these tricks to make a small space appear larger:
- – When choosing ornaments and accessories for your room, choose just a few larger decorative pieces (think no smaller than a bowling ball)
- – A striped rug can elongate a room. Exaggerate this effect by having the stripes run in the direction of the length of the room (as opposed to the width).
- – Create a sense of more than one space within one room by using lighting and rugs to represent different areas or zones. This works especially well in open-plan properties and studio apartments.
8. Take up position – furniture placement
Position furniture away from the wall to make your home feel more spacious and less cramped. By doing this your room will look more open and just a few centimetres can make all the difference. If you’re worried about wasting this space, place a slim console table behind the sofa. This can double up as a place to rest your cup of coffee and tuck away other items such as magazines underneath.
Whenever possible, face your seating, especially your sofa, towards a window, gracing whoever sits there with both natural light and a view. If you need help figuring out the best furniture layout for your room, take a look at this guide from The Spruce for some helpful ‘rules’ to follow.
9. Sofa, so good – furniture choice
When furniture shopping, less is more. Your space will feel cramped if you try to squeeze too much into it, so choose wisely. In a small sitting room, one statement piece, such as a large sofa will look less cluttered than lots of smaller seating and will make your room feel larger too.
Choose furniture with slim, exposed tapered legs (see image below). This allows light to move beneath, tricking you into believing that you have more floor space. It also makes it easier to vacuum underneath!
Transparent furniture elements can be useful in making your room appear more open. Choose glass-topped tables or lucite (clear acrylic) pieces to remove visual barriers and add a sense of space.
10. Dizzy new heights – think upwards
Make use of space near the ceiling, which is often wasted. Gain space instantly in a small bedroom with a lofted bed. Use the space underneath for a desk.
Consider floor-to ceiling shelving or wardrobes to optimise storage. Or draw the eye upward with a book shelf that runs around the edge of the room at ceiling height.
If your room has wonderful high ceilings, but has limited square footage, focus attention upwards with long hanging pendant lighting and tall, thin furniture choices.
Now you know how to make your home feel more spacious, learn how to create a stress-free sanctuary with our top five interior design tips.