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How to Maximize Home Space

Updated on November 4, 2009

Houses are expensive to buy and the cost of building is rising; furthermore, the bigger the house, the higher the price tends to be. As a result you could well be living in a place that is significantly lacking in terms of the space that you require. It’s uncomfortable and can often easily be untidy and darn right irritating. You may feel that you are stuck with what you have – space, after all, is space – but, there are things that you can do to maximize the space that you do have, create space and make your home more comfortable and pleasurable to live in.

There are ways to maximize space in a small room
There are ways to maximize space in a small room

Smart Furniture Choices

There are three things to consider when it comes to furniture:

  • Throwing out what you don’t need.
  • Making the best of what you have.
  • Being savvy when you buy furniture.

Let’s look at the third point here and become aware of what you need to consider when purchasing furniture for a small space: 

  • Look for dual-purpose furniture. For example, units with flap-down or retractable work surfaces that can double as desks or dining tables; sofa-beds etc.
  • Purchase furniture with storage space – such as coffee tables or beds with drawers.
  • Choose smaller furniture when it comes to chairs, coffee tables etc.
  • Maximize your wall space by using wall units or floor-to-ceiling shelves.
  • Choose simple and plain furniture. The more intricate the design, the more imposing and bigger it seems.
  • Cane or wicker furniture is light and airy.
  • Favor tables with glass or transparent surfaces. These let the light through and appear to take up less space.
  • Look for pieces with curved edges rather than square.
  • Buy furniture that doesn’t have legs which take up space.
  • Wherever possible, try to use units that can be place directly against the wall or are built-in.
  • Use stools instead of chairs which occupy more space. Or choose chairs that you can stack in a corner when not in use.
  • Choose armchairs with open armrests and space underneath to increase the sense of lightness.

Placing Furniture Carefully

This is about how best to handle the furniture that you have and then anything you buy so that you can make rooms look bigger.

  • Put large and tall furniture against the walls to open up the centre of the room.
  • Keep a sense of balance with the furniture. One large, bright object can be overbearing and crowd the room.
  • Have a focal place in the room and build your décor out and around that. This creates a radiating effect that exudes space.
  • Keep the view at eye-level as unobstructed as possible.
  • Make sure there is sufficient space between furniture.
  • The more floor space you see the larger the room appears.
  • Place some furniture at an angle. In a room the diagonal is the longest straight line. The eye will be drawn to the diagonal created by the furniture and not the shorter length of wall behind it. You can also use the space behind the furniture for storage.

Using the Right Colors

Color choice can instantly affect many aspects of home decor – one of them being the perceived size of a room. Choose wisely because – it is not something that you want to have to redo.

  • Go light and go bright when it comes to painting the walls of a small room. The cool colors such as blues and greens reflect light and give the air of room whilst darker colors absorb light and make a place look smaller.
  • Use white, neutral or pastel colors. Limit the number of colors and patterns as these will make the room feel close, cluttered and smaller.
  • Paint wall trims and moldings a lighter color as this will make the walls seem as if they are retreating and the room is larger.
  • Making bulky furniture light in color so that it can blend in with a light-colored wall and create a sense of space.
  • Vary textures and shades of your main colors rather than different colors to bring life and depth.
  • Paint the ceiling a lighter color than the walls.
  • Keep the flooring simple and light in color. 

The Importance of De-cluttering

Clutter build-up is the quickest way to make a place look smaller. The less there is in a room, the more spacious the room will feel. It can be clutter from just having too much stuff or it can be clutter from untidiness. What you do:

  • Sell or give away any items that you don’t need.
  • Maximize space for storage. Make use of the attic, space under the stairs and beds or in the garage. Use shelving for more storage. Wall hooks are good for items such as jackets and blankets.
  • Be aware of the use of accessories in a room as these can easily cause clutter and take away any sense of space. For example, too many cushions or ornaments; too many different and brightly-colored objects; too many items that don’t need to be there.

Creating the Illusion of Space

A few easy home decorating tips and tricks can go a long way when it comes to “increasing” the size of your rooms.

  • Ensure that the room gets as much natural light as possible. Open windows, use light curtains and even install a skylight.
  • If the room is naturally dark, ensure that you make use of sufficient artificial lighting. Try lamps that throw light up towards the ceiling or recessed wall lights.
  • The doors of cabinets can make the space seem smaller, so you may want to try removing them.
  • Try to have at least one wall without units.
  • Don’t use rugs.
  • Use mirrors on walls, doors or cupboards. These reflect light as well as making it seem as if there is more space in the room.
  • Place items in front of a large mirror to create a sense of depth.
  • Use paintings on the walls, but choose one large painting over an arrangement of smaller pieces which can be too busy.
  • Remove a wall. For example, between the dining room and lounge. Making two areas flow into one another will open the space immensely.
  • Keep the walkways in the room open.

Space at home is a valuable commodity both from the point of view of having enough of it for all of your belongings and having an environment that you enjoy. There are quick and easy ways to increase storage place and make your home look more spacious. By implementing them you can create a more restful, relaxing and organized home.

Image credit: Nutloaf


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