It can be challenging to create an open and inviting feel when you’re working with a small space. Living and working in cramped spaces can give you a sense of claustrophobia, increasing anxiety, and irritability. If you’re stuck with a small space, here are some fantastic strategies to make it feel like you’ve got more room than you do.
Use Mirrors Wisely
A large mirror on a wall can instantly trick your eyes into thinking you have twice as much room as you have. You may be surprised at how quickly adding a mirror can open up a narrow space. If you have a solid wall with no windows (a shared wall with another building or unit), strategically placing a few smaller mirrors on that wall where they can reflect natural lighting will make it feel like there’s nothing on the other side of the wall.
Get rid of anything in the space that isn’t useful or doesn’t serve a necessary purpose. Having a large number of objects crammed in around each other makes space feel smaller than it is. If the area is already tiny, all you’re doing is adding to the cramped feel. Invest in creative storage solutions such as cube shelving with baskets to get the stuff out of sight. Check out this article on decluttering tips for some ideas about what to purge.
Use Natural Light and Light Colors
Light colors reflect more natural light, giving a space an open, airy feeling. Darker colors make things feel smaller. This applies to walls, curtains, furniture, and flooring. To make a room feel larger, remove any heavy drapes, using light-filtering blinds or shades inside the window frames. It gives a clean and airy feel and can extend the sightline between a window and a corner, making the room feel bigger. Ask a realtor about current trends in color schemes that are popular.
You don’t have to give up on having a sofa or a large bed. Make sure that your furniture is all slimmed and sleek designs (in light colors, of course). You can get a sofa that comfortably seats three with a narrow profile and trims arms, reducing the footprint of the piece, all without sacrificing seating. Instead of a large, massive, and ornate bed frame, get a platform bed and a trim, wall-mounted headboard. You can save yourself 6 inches around the mattress, adding an extra foot of space in either direction.
Do you need two end tables and a coffee table? What about the bookcase and the night table in the bedroom? Figure out which pieces you truly can’t live without, and ditch or repurpose the others. Combine functions; put a few favorite books on the lower shelf of your night table, and donate the rest
A storage bench or ottoman can help hide your mess, and double as extra seating if you have guests. Instead of a coffee table, get an ottoman that can support a large tray when needed. You can put your feet up to watch the game, or you can serve coffee after dinner to your guests. A coffee table with some interior storage and enough room for your laptop can turn your living room into a home office in a pinch.
Remember that when working with a smaller space, light, and simplicity are your best friends. One or two decorative pieces can finish off a minimalist space, but anything other than the absolute necessities will start to bring that cramped feel back into the room.