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Interiors Q&A – how to make your rooms appear larger

March 4, 2011

Dear Andrew, A couple of my rooms are not very big and my home feels small and cramped.  How can I make them appear bigger?

Before doing anything drastic in terms of structural work, ask yourself whether you could simply reorganise?  Nothing makes a space smaller than clutter, so have a clear-out and then recycle or dispose of anything you no longer need.  The main cause of a messy room is often a lack of storage and if your rooms are small it is essential that you have appropriate storage.  This can often be achieved by simply getting organised and The Holding Company has a great range of boxes and filing accessories to help you organise, as shown in a Study project below.  If your home does have awkward spaces it can be worth spending some money to get some bespoke furniture or storage solutions made for you.

After decluttering the first thing most people think of is knocking down walls, and although it can often be a good solution don’t just grab your sledgehammer!  Open plan living isn’t for everyone so think about it carefully and consider whether a larger room would work.  If you decide you don’t want to change the structure you can use focal points to draw the eye through the room and beyond.  Think about the sight line through your home, can you draw your guests through your home and into the garden?  Maybe just move a door to open up the space?

When you decorate choosing light, softer colours will embrace the feeling of openness and unless the room benefits from good natural light it is best to steer clear of darker colours. A tonal decorating scheme works very well for a small space so focus on one colour with various shades for the different aspects of the room.  In the narrow hallway below the colour scheme is primarily white to keep the room light but the long rug helps to draw the eye down the room, this line of sight is accentuated by placing a large clock above the far door.

Add interest by using a textured wallpaper – horizontal stripes on a feature wall can enhance your sense of space as shown below.  The eye is naturally drawn to the wallpaper.  Try to use the same flooring throughout your smaller rooms and if you want a tiled or wooden floor, think about how you lay it – laying it on the diagonal really helps to enlarge a space.

Counter-intuitively perhaps, bigger is often better for furniture so use a few simple pieces rather than crowding the room with smaller pieces.  Glass is a good option as it will create less of a barrier than a heavy wooden object, you might also choose to use mirrored furniture.  If your rooms are small but with high ceilings, you can use a large pendant fitting to draw the eye up to the ceiling.  In terms of window treatments don’t hang heavy curtains if your rooms are small, let the light into the room with roman blinds which will let in a lot of light when pulled open.  For finishing touches use mirrors to bounce the light around the room, the large mirror below from Graham and Green would be excellent to do this.

By employing a few simple interior design tricks you will be able to give the impression that your rooms are larger than they are and allow your home to feel spacious.

This Interiors Q&A first appeared in an abridged form in CityAM

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2011 8:35 pm

    Some great tips there to follow, nice and simple. I know someone with a very mirror to that and it does look fantastic, really bounces the light around.

  2. March 9, 2011 5:01 pm

    Excellent advice. Reorganizing often solves the dilemma. The “tonal” color scheme can work wonders as well.

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