If you are living in a small house or cottage, apartment, lodge, or caravan, there is plenty you can do to make your living space look and feel bigger.
Ambitious plans include removing or altering the position of a wall or screen, adding larger windows, glass or panel doors instead of solid doors, or building a separate level or platform for a bedroom or office. Major changes such as these will need professional advice and planning, but some simple decorating and home furnishing tips can also help, without any major expense or upheaval.
Decorate in neutral colours and think about creating clean straight lines in plain designs. Heavy, dark or floral wallpaper will make a room feel smaller.
Wooden flooring creates a feeling of space and is more practical to clean than light coloured carpet. Then, add a few carefully selected items in a strong, bright or bold colour to accent the neutral decor, such as cushions, a throw, or a vase. This will add taste and personality to the room without overdoing it. Try to keep surfaces clear, with only the minimum amount of ornaments. Hang a couple of your favourite pictures or photos if you want to, but be ruthless or the result will be cluttered and will make the room look smaller.
Choose furniture for your home that doubles up as storage; for example, an ottoman or laundry basket that can be used as seating, a stool for a nightstand, a sofa bed, futon or loft bed that can be used during the day, a nightstand with drawers or a unit that can be used as a mini-desk or bureau.
If space beside the bed is tight, hang a shelf instead, and use ceiling lights, wall lights, or sconces instead of table lamps. Store clothes and shoes out of sight in floor-to-ceiling wardrobes or cupboards so as not to waste space. Use any space underneath beds for storage; storage baskets or cubes for smaller or less-used items are ideal to keep everything tidy and organised. Hang a floor to ceiling mirror. Open up windows by removing heavy curtains and install wooden shutters to maximise the light coming into the room.
In the living area, choose an extending or drop leaf table, a nest of tables and chairs or stools that can be stacked or stored away in a cupboard. If possible, choose bespoke furniture that uses every bit of available space effectively; opt for built-in book shelves that fit into an alcove or small space.
Hang a mirror opposite a window to reflect the light, and look for clever artwork that creates an illusion of space – for example a tunnel effect or a forest scene. A wall-mounted television and a laptop or tablet instead of a PC will help to free up space and reduce clutter.
In the kitchen, reflective, light or white surfaces and cupboard fronts, as well as under cupboard lighting, will help the area to feel larger.
Give some thought as to how you can maximise the space that you have. By decorating in light colours, removing clutter, and making good use of every bit of room that you have, you can maximise your living area extremely effectively.
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