House going to be bursting at the seams with guests and gifts this Christmas? Here’s how to make your rooms feel a whole lot bigger – without actually building an extension…
1 Have clear out
Yeah, we know. Obvious. But that’s why it works.
2 Invest in storage that does two jobs
If your home doesn’t have tons of built-in storage, you need furniture that not only stores, but performs another essential task, too. That way, you can pare back on furniture that’s not pulling its weight, and just keep the pieces that do. Need inspiration? Think footstools with lift-up lids, benches with cupboard spaces beneath, hall or coffee tables with drawers and shelves, beds with pull-out drawers beneath. You get the drift.
Pic: The Dormy House
3 Use visual tricks
Striped wallpaper, hung vertically, will make a ceiling feel higher; striped wallpaper, hung so the stripes run horizontally, will make it seem wider or longer. Painting the wall at the far end of a hallway a darker colour than the walls either side will make it feel wider. Painting it a lighter colour than those either side will make it feel longer. Laying tiles diagonally rather than in line with the walls will make a room seem wider. Wallpaper with a pale background and reflective metallics in the design will bounce light around making a room seem bigger… so many tricks, so little time.
4 Swap bulky curtains for streamlined shutters
We don’t object (too much) to curtains in a living room or bedroom (assuming they’re matched with shutters, that is). But we disapprove heartily of curtains just about anywhere else. Why? Because they do absolutely no favours at all to small rooms – their bulk takes up space and they tend to suck rather than reflect light. Our solution? Well, it’s bound to be shutters – and if you want them to have maximum space-enhancing impact, choose them in white or a light, warm colour. Don’t forget, we’ve got a Colour Match service to help you with that.
Pic: California Shutters
5 Get good lighting
Overhead lightbulb only? No, no, no, no, no. There are loads of ways to make a room feel bigger with good lighting – but we’re going to tell you just two vital ones because we know you’ve got other things to get on with. One: get table and/or floor lamps and dot them about the room to create different lighting zones that will make the room feel both cosier and more spacious when the overheads are off. Two: raise the ceiling with uplighters – wall-fitted ones are the best for saving space, but even table lamps that throw light upwards (to make the ceiling feel higher) as well as down will do the trick.
6 Paint the floor white
Your floor is a massive surface, second only to the room’s walls, so it stands to reason that if it’s light, it will reflect light around the room, making it feel bigger AND the floor area itself will look larger. So, if you’ve got dark floorboards, consider painting them white or give them a lime washed finish. Don’t fancy going the whole hog? A light-coloured (but probably washable or at least scrubbable) rug will have a dramatic effect, too.
Pic: Farrow & Ball
7 Zone your paint colours
Love bold colours but hate a dark room? Then keep more dramatic shades to the lower parts of the walls – below the dado rail, for example – and paint the walls above in lighter colours, or white to match the ceiling. Same goes for paintwork – if your woodwork is white (or at least pale), especially around windows, it will bounce more light into and around the room, the
8 Use hidden and vertical space
The less clutter that’s on show, the bigger your home will look. It might not be practical to have everything packed away, and anyway, maybe you like looking at your books/ceramics/pictures. But perhaps they could go somewhere less obvious, such as on the wall where the door to the room is (so that when you look in, you can’t see them)? Or maybe the clutter overspill can be accommodated by super-sizing the storage you have, such as with floor-to-ceiling shelving? This bookcase manages both tricks without breaking into a sweat.
Pic: Farrow & Ball
9 Group, then regroup
Got a collection of china statuettes? Houseplants dotted around the room? Pictures hung anywhere you happened to strike a nail? Spreading accessories about makes a room feel disorganised, poorly planned and, because it looks cluttered, smaller. So, without binning a thing, see if you could group your stuff together? That might mean putting your china in a display cabinet, your pot plants in a verdant huddle and your pictures in a neatly laid out grid. Whatever, it’ll work. We (just about) promise.
10 Hang a big, big mirror
Just about any room benefits from a big mirror (perhaps with the exception of kitchens, but we’ll come to that). The best place for one is on the wall adjacent to a window so that you can see the window twice, and get the benefit of the reflected light. However, anywhere it will reflect a great view or look good at the entrance to the room from will do. No room in the kitchen for one? Consider mirrored splashbacks or mirror tiles. Failing that, swap solid door wall cabinets for those with glazed or frosted glass doors, and have the interior of the cabinets lit. Can’t fail.
Pic: Graham & Green
Like our help when it comes to choosing blinds or shutters? Contact us or call 0800 012 6009.
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