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Visual Tricks To Make a Small Room Look Larger


by Pamela Cole Harris

If you can stand in the middle of your room and touch the walls on all four sides, then you probably need to add some visual space to your room (either that or see a surgeon about those gorilla arms of yours!). If the neighbor next door has a closet bigger than your room (and it’s not a walk-in closet!), then you need a little help “growing” your small room!

Here are some miracle visual tricks to make your room appear larger:

1. Use light values

when painting your room. That does not mean you are doomed to white walls! (padded or not!) Try a pretty celadon or chamois (light green or cream beige, for those non-lyrical decorators out there!)

2. Place the large pieces of furniture against the walls so the open space in the middle isn’t broken up. (I know what you are thinking! “Pamela,” you think. “The large piece of furniture against the wall completely COVERS the middle of the room. WHAT open space?” In that case, might I suggest wall demolition? Moving?)

3. Choose a sofa and chairs with open arms and exposed legs.

This allows light to filter under the furniture, making the room appear airier. (But you can no longer hide dust bunnies!)

4. Consider smaller scale furniture.

A sofa or bed that takes up less area will help visually open the room. (Probably not a good idea to put a king-sized bed in that closet!)

5. Use vertical space for storage.

Add a hutch or floor-to-ceiling bookcases as a storage solution to reduce the amount of floor space taken. (But I would discourage hanging books and bric-a-brac from the ceiling – you never know what will land on your head in the middle of the night!)

6. A large mirror in the room will reflect light around the room.

This is especially effective with near a window so the outdoors can be reflected. (Just my own personal taste, but I think mirrors on the ceiling and all the walls might be just a bit tacky – unless they are helpful for your….ummm….business!)

7. Arrange furniture at an angle if possible. This gives visual interest to the small space. (I can hear you thinking again! See item one above!)

With a few visual tricks and some rearranging of furniture, you can make any room appear bigger than its actual size. But let’s be realistic here! If you want to move that four-poster bedroom suite into that closet – well, forget it!

Unless your cousin Vinnie is in the home remodeling business! In which case, you may need more than just a miracle! Might I suggest liability insurance?