Many houses (especially more modern houses) can appear deceptively large from the outside, yet are a disappointment inside. Such rooms can often feel claustrophobic and thus not provide a comfortable, relaxed living space. However, there are some simple steps which will allow you to transform a small room into one which looks much larger and more comfortable.
This will not only improve your quality of life but will also prove useful when it comes to selling your house: a room which maximises its space will prove a more attractive selling point than one which seems cramped.
Something as simple as the colour scheme of your room can prove vital when trying to enlarge the feel of a room. Stick to light and bright colours when decorating your room as these colours reflect any natural light and thus fools the eye into seeing a larger space. Watch out though: white walls can look too sanitised and stark, to say nothing of the fact that they also get dirty very quickly. It is best to stick to the wide variety of cream shades available in all DIY stores in order to create a more relaxing environment.
Conversely, ceilings look far better painted white. The ceiling is unlikely to suffer the potential problems which walls do. It is rather difficult to make ceilings dirty (unless of course you are a smoker) and the softer shades of your walls will counteract the possibility of the white paint appearing stark. Painting the ceiling bright white will maximise the reflective potential of the surface area of the room and instantly make the room feel bigger.
If a ceiling is painted a dark shade it can have the somewhat disconcerting effect of making you feel that the ceiling is falling in on you. White paint makes it much more difficult to judge where the ceiling actually is in relation to the floor, thus increasing the apparent depth of the room.
If you want to decorate your room with wallpaper, it may prove more difficult to make the room seem larger. However, if you must, steer clear of intensely patterned designs as these can decrease the reflective, open nature of the room. Stick with one shade wallpaper or else one with a tiny, discreet pattern on it in a light colour. Similarly, try to avoid dark wood panelling as this can make the room feel cramped instantly.
If the idea of cream walls and white ceilings strikes you as mind-numbingly boring, you can be more adventurous with the shade of the soft furnishings or pictures in the room. A darker coloured sofa can act as an original focal point for an otherwise bland room, without making it feel smaller. Choose pictures with an interesting splash of colour to liven up your room if you are concerned about the shade of the walls.
Positioning your Furniture
Strategic placement of furniture can instantly transform the apparent size of your room. Many people fail to make the most of the dimensions of their living space because they fall into the trap of placing furniture particularly their sofa straight along the wall without considering the use of angles. Mathematically, the longest straight line in any room is its diagonal and so placing furniture at a diagonal angle (even if this angle is only slight) draws the eye away from the shorter straight lines of the walls and seems to enlarge the room instantly.
It is also important to be realistic and sensible with the type of furniture you place in your room. If you try to place a three-piece suite in a small room, it will instantly make your room look cramped and tiny. However, if you stick to a simple sofa which is in scale with the dimensions of your room, the floor space will obviously be increased dramatically, making the room seem larger.
Consider using furniture which has a dual function in order to avoid clutter and increase floor space. Glass-topped coffee tables can give the impression of taking up no space at all due to their transparency. Alternatively, buy a fold-down table which can be stowed against the wall when it is not needed. Sofa-beds can turn your room into a guest bedroom if need be. Many modern sofas actually offer the option of storage in the form of a single drawer along the length of the sofa, which can prove very useful if you are short of cupboards.
Significantly, placing your furniture at an angle not only helps to increase the size of your room but also allows you to store possessions behind the space produced by the angle. In the bedroom, consider the use of built-in wardrobes and wall units to store items which otherwise clutter, such as the television, books and suchlike.
Fool the eye
We've all been in the situation, whether it be sitting in a restaurant, hotel foyer or even in someone else's house, of being fooled as to where the room starts and ends, as a direct result of mirror usage. Mirrors can have an instant effect on fooling the eye into thinking a room is much larger than it is. This is because they have the same reflective power that white or cream paint does, only intensified! Mirrors reflect light all around the room and do not just rely on natural light to have this effect.
Artificial light can also be reflected by mirrors and so even in dark conditions your room will appear larger. In bedrooms, consider the use of full-length mirrors (or even mirrored doors on the façade of your wardrobe), which can often seem to double the size of the room. In living rooms, where full-length mirrors may not seem appropriate, do not worry. Mirrors of any size will have a similar effect, albeit to a slightly smaller extent.
Not only will strategically placed mirrors have the effect of making your room seem bigger but can also act as interestingly coloured, original centre points in your room. An added tip is to place mirrors where they can reflect outdoors as well as indoors, as this maximises what can be reflected and creates a continuum of space.
This brings us to consideration of the importance of light in your room. The basic rule to keep in mind is that the more light there appears to be in the room, the larger it will seem. Add lamps (with lightly coloured lamp shades) around the room to increase the amount of artificial light and keep curtains drawn back fully during the day to maximise the amount of natural light permeating your room. Also, try to keep windows plain by avoiding patterning on them, to increase the amount of natural light able to enter your room.
Skylights are another option to consider. They will boost the effect given already by a brightly painted ceiling but bear in mind that a skylight is obviously only a possibility in certain rooms in your house, so do not rely too heavily on this method.
Use the same type of flooring throughout the space you wish to enlarge. Breaking the floor up with multiple rugs will have the effect of breaking up the space, rather than allowing a continual impression of clear space. If you choose to use wood flooring or tiling in a room, make sure you run the flooring on the diagonal. This will have the same effect that placing your furniture along the diagonal has, albeit magnified because of the multiple lines which will run diagonally (rather than just one).