I’m sure this topic is going to come up over and over again, but it’s an important one for the Urban Housewife looking to maximize her space. When your apartment is tiny, shared and full of stuff your in-laws gave you that you can’t throw out, how the heck can you make your space look bigger? Whether you’re fighting a little living room or a kids-sized kitchen, there’s help on the way! Here I share three time-tested tricks to making a room look bigger.
Making a Room Look Bigger: Light Colors
It’s a scientific fact that light colors give the impression of space. (I’d also like to point out that white is “positive” space while black is “negative” space!) Let’s assume that your landlord lets you paint your walls (like mine, who is lovely.) Don’t just settle for white – it’s so “positive” and blank, it is pretty much the one light color that can have a confining effect. Instead, think about creams and light pastels. Optically, this creates the illusion of more space. Emotionally, those lighter, brighter colors create an inviting feeling. Another trick is to paint the molding and trim in a room a lighter color (now’s the right time for white) than the walls. This creates a receded effect and makes the walls seem farther away and, subsequently, the room bigger.
Making a Room Look Bigger: Mirrors
No surprise that mirrors make the list! But this isn’t a tired tip – it’s a classic. There is no denying that a well-placed mirror can instantly make a room feel bigger. In part, that’s because they reflect both natural and artificial light. (Remember we learned above that lighter = bigger.) But the main reason is that, obviously, mirrors create the illusion of more space. Place mirrors in such a spot that they’re reflecting off a certain focal point, creating opening, wide angles. You can also put a mirror in a position to reflect the view outside through a window. That really opens a room up by creating the feeling of outdoor space. I suggest hunting down big mirrors in thrift and antique shops. Even leaned against a wall, mirrors are the best way to create optical illusions.
Making a Room Look Bigger: Creative Furniture Creation
So remember when I mentioned all that junk – I mean thoughtful gifts – you have lying around from your in-laws? Put that stuff to work! The set of encyclopedias they gave us last Christmas (apparently they’re still not quite caught up on that whole Google phenomenon) now acts as a side table next to the sofa. My own mother actually gifted us the antique-looking sled my brothers and I used to play with as kids, and now that’s our coffee table. Rather than letting those items (useless short term, priceless long term) pile up and create cramped clutter, put them to practical use and kill more than a couple birds with one stone. We saved money not having to buy an actual coffee table, avoided creating an even smaller feel in our living room with a sled propped up in the corner, and it’s actually a great conversation piece.
So there you have it. If you’re trying to make big things happen in small spaces, the three tricks above are absolutely essential. Hit the comments and let us know if you have any other ideas!