Pages of glossy magazines are often filled with immense rooms and oversized spaces full of grandeur and twelve-foot ceilings. But the truth is that most of us live in houses, apartments or townhomes built on a much smaller scale. When faced with the size of some of these tiny rooms, it's easy to get frustrated when you're trying to decorate.
But what if those rooms could feel even bigger? What if you could visually add space with a few small changes? What if there were tips and tricks and ideas to make a small room appear larger?
Good news! There are.
If you're tired of feeling crowded in your home, all you need is a new direction. If you have a small space that you want to grow, here are a few ideas and a little inspiration to get you started.
1. Pick a Light Wall Color
You can visually change the size of a space with color. Darker colors are often used to make a room feel cozier and smaller. By contrast, lighter colors go a long way in helping to make the walls of a small space appear larger to the eye. Select light grays, whites, khakis and neutrals to help expand the visual impact of a room, like this small office space. Light floors, neutral walls and simple, classic decor give the eyes a place to rest.
Another space-expanding tip is to paint moldings the same or similar color as the walls. Contrasting molding can actually visually reduce the height of the ceilings in a room. By painting moldings to blend in with the existing walls, the room appears much larger. Here, the floor molding is painted white and the raised panel molding on the walls is painted to match the gray wall color, extending the expanse of the wall even further.
2. Keep Upholstered Furniture Neutral
Sometimes neutral walls can seem a little boring when designing a room. An accent wall might be the answer if you keep the larger pieces of furniture and accessories in more neutral hues.
To add depth to the space, draw the eye toward the accent wall by surrounding it with neutral furnishings. For example, the gray couch with white piping and the two adjoining accent chairs in a khaki linen help to balance out the pop of color on the accent wall. The pieces are in scale with the room and blend into the background, making the room appear bigger. In addition, the curtains, accessories and flooring are neutral as well, providing a visually large framework for this tiny living room.
3. Draw the Eye Upward
One of the simplest ways to make a room appear larger is to draw the eye upward. Giving the eye something to focus on in the upper part of the room creates the illusion that the space is actually bigger than it is. An easy trick is to paint a design on the ceiling, add a decorative medallion or install a beautiful light fixture.
A tone-on-tone painted wall treatment can also give the illusion of space in a room. A vertical pattern on the walls, such as harlequins or vertical leafy branches, helps to elongate a room. For example, in this small entryway, the painted gray and white stripes help to create the impression that the walls are actually taller than they are.
4. Don't Overlook the Flooring
Creating a focal point with rugs and decorative flooring also helps to open up a space. A floor with texture or a light color often creates the impression that the room is visually grounded. A small space can appear much larger with a simple design placed strategically on the floor.
Here, the floor tiles laid in a diamond pattern and the contrasting design of the decorative area rug help to establish a foundation to build the room upon. This small butler's pantry opens up with neutral walls and accessories, textured baskets, a decorative light fixture and the patterned color on the floor.
When planning smaller spaces, it is important to remember a few key points. Make sure to consider a neutral color when painting the walls. If you want to add a colorful accent wall, the rest of the larger furnishings and accessories in the space should be neutral. Keep it simple with patterns, textures and decorative flooring. Lastly, draw the eye upwards with a creative accent on the ceiling. Then, sit back and watch your room truly live large.
The award-winning decor website Thistlewood Farms is the online home of KariAnne Wood, who writes on decor and style for Home Depot's Home Decorators Collection. KariAnne provides wall and floor styling ideas, including rugs, to homeowners of houses large and small. To research a wide selection of area rugs for a room renovation of your own, you can visit Home Decorators online here.