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David Kitchen
REALTOR®, ePRO
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Articles and Advice

How To Make Your Rooms Feel Bigger

Downsizing? Homeowners who move from a big house to a smaller dwelling often confront the problem of rooms that seem too small. Maybe the rooms are small, or maybe the homeowner miscalculated how much stuff could be moved into the new house and crowded conditions are making the rooms seem small. 

Whatever the reason, decorators have a number of cool tricks they share with homeowners to make a home's rooms seem bigger. 

  1. Get rid of some stuff.
    It may be hard, especially when you're a new downsizer who's moved from a large, spacious home where all your stuff had plenty of room to breathe, and now you've had to let so many of your prized possessions go just to fit in your smaller home. However, you are committed to making this smaller space work, so you may have to go through all your furniture and furnishings and do a ruthless assessment: What should you keep, and what should you let go of? Once you've weeded out what's disposable, if you're still feeling cramped, it might be wise to invest in a few pieces that can do double duty, such as a storage-type ottoman that might be extra seating or a coffee table.

  2. Move big items to the back.
    Move large furniture to the furthest point away from the room's entrance. For instance, move the bed against a wall opposite the bedroom entrance. Big, bulky items crowded near the front of the room make it seem smaller.

  3. Declutter walls.
    Trying to crowd all your framed photographs and your carefully curated artwork onto the walls is a big no. The gallery look will not work in a smaller room. Choose what you love most, allowing for that mysterious factor, negative space, to rule your arrangement of art and photos, and store the rest. You can rotate these items, retiring the ones you've had up for a while and putting out ones that have been stored.

  4. Camouflage furnishings with paint.
    Paint a table or other furnishings the same color as the wall, and you can make them "disappear." Well, not really, but they sort of melt into the background and are less obvious in the room. You can apply this trick to radiators, fans, and everything else that adds clutter to the room. 

  5. Avoid dark-colored walls.
    Leave dark colors for big houses. Go light in your smaller rooms to make the space seem bigger. Also, loud colors and patterns can make a space seem smaller, whereas soothing neutral colors will make the house seem larger. We're not suggesting you go totally beige, but do find some pleasing colors on the lighter side. And remember, contrasting colors break up a space, while complimentary lighter colors blend and make the space seem larger. 

  6. Keep it simple with rugs and window coverings.
    Too many rugs can add to clutter, so go minimal when it comes to items on the floor. 

  7. Do that trick with mirrors.
    Designers know all about it — how a mirror not only adds depth to a room by reflecting an image but also adds light — which, again, helps make the space seem bigger.

  8. Don't go crazy with tile patterns.
    Tile is fun to play with when decorating, but don't go crazy with too many patterns and general busyness. Keep it simple, and your space will look larger.

Making your rooms look larger than they are is one project that doesn't require a big outlay of cash. Yet another reason to celebrate small spaces: They are easier to organize and decorate, but also easier to keep clean.

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