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10 simple ways to expand small spaces

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Time, they say, is a quantum concept. It expands to fill your needs. Designers often repeat the same line about spaces. Can a tiny space, no matter how cosy in its smallness, morph to a larger space to suit its tenant’s requirements? The short answer is it can. The longer addendum to that is there are some tricks and tips you need to apply to help your space appear large enough to suit your needs. Here are some things can try right away:
 

COLOURS

The most obvious trick in the box is the smart use of colours. Light, bright colours expand spaces. If your ceiling is a lighter shade or even white it will create the illusion of height and depth. Neutral colours that do not create any focal distraction or remain muted create a sense of expansiveness. Some exquisite ones are taupe, grays, the sparkling range of creams and of course, undeniably, beige.

Living room design with blue walls - Beautiful Homes

Both light and bright colors can expand different kinds of spaces. Image courtesy, Shutterstock

Luxurious seating area with hanging lights - Beautiful Homes

Skylights, glass doors and french windows move the space outwards, while hidden lighting and sconces can create an open and airy effect. Image courtesy, WhiteTeak by Asian Paints

LIGHTS

Light in any form creates airiness, and therefore space. If you have the scope and permission for tweaking your windows and widening them to allow natural light to stream in, this would just push out your walls dramatically. Skylights, glass doors, French windows move the space outwards. Where this luxury of natural light is not possible, then using hidden lighting along the ceiling, the walls, liberal use of light sconces, can mimic this airy effect.

MIRRORS

Use mirrors wisely to create the illusion of depth. For working the magic of depth perception, it is best to go bold and use a large one. Placing it where light will bounce off it will further heighten this illusion of space, while adding to the sense of airiness. To maximise its impact, best to prune off all distractions from the frame and keep it austere, even plain. Using mirrors on certain other furniture (cupboards, for example) can carry this idea further. However, having too many small mirrors will be distracting, unless positioned wisely.

Floor to ceiling mirror for room interiors - Beautiful Homes

Placing mirrors where light will bounce off will heighten the illusion of space, while adding to the sense of airiness. Image courtesy, Shutterstock

Storage space in wooden cabinet - Beautiful Homes

Allow the storage accessory to meld easily into the rest of the room, without being a visual block. Image courtesy, Asian Paints

STORAGE

It needs the flourish of design genius to create unobtrusive storage solutions for small spaces. A large floor-to-ceiling cupboard with complementary colours and design elements borrowed from the rest of the room will allow the storage accessory to meld easily into the rest of the room, without being a visual block.

FLOOR VISIBILITY

When you enter a room, how much floor you can see immediately gives you a sense of the space there. This means a small space that wants to masquerade as large must go minimal on carpets or avoid them altogether. Wherever you can afford the option of folding furniture that can be stacked away when not in use is also a great way of keeping things open and natural.

Marble flooring with white sheer curtains - Beautiful Homes

To keep things open and natural, try to make use of folding furniture that can be stacked away when not in use. Image courtesy, Shutterstock

Green & white furnishing in a wooden living room - Beautiful Homes

The liberal use of glass replicates the idea of sheer curtains, airiness, flow of light. Image courtesy, Asian Paints

FURNISHING

How furnishing affects space is a huge topic. Avoid elaborate trimmings for chairs or sofas. This cuts off the sight of the floor (see above) and adds a sense of clutter. Long curtain drapes give a sense of height to the space, while sheer materials carry forward the idea of light and airiness.

GLASS

The liberal use of glass replicates the idea of sheer curtains, airiness, flow of light. Partitions, washroom doors, glass sliding doors and windows that compact themselves when not needed are the most commonsensical way to expand your space.

Full size glass windows in a spacious drawing room - Beautiful Homes

Geometric designs despite drawing focal attention also step back their neatness recedes tension, creates ease and space. Image courtesy, Shutterstock

Yellow pillow accessorized with pillow & upholstery - Beautiful Homes

Avoid elaborate trimmings for chairs and sofas as it cuts off the floor sight and adds a sense of clutter. Image courtesy, Asian Paints

ACCESSORIES

This is a tricky, even a touchy topic. We all want to fill up our spaces with objects that we love, the art that moves us and with which we want to spend our time. However, in a small space too many objects or decor items will create the inevitable sense of clutter that is perhaps the most disastrous way to shrink any space. We can compromise by exhibiting a few at a time, storing the rest away recycling their display every few months. If you have art to display it is best to have a large one. A large piece, through the play on our perception of proportions, will create the illusion of depth and space. Displaying it at eye level creates a natural intention of neatness. A neat design has a similar impact as neutral colours; it is soothing, calming and expansive.

GEOMETRIC PATTERNS

Again, where individual accents are concerned these are very personal, emotional and intimate choices. But having a broad idea of how these choices affect your spaces may moderate their usage. Geometric designs have a similar impact like neutral colours. Despite drawing focal attention, they also kind of step back, their neatness recedes tension, creates ease and space. Large flamboyant decor or accents or colours will clutter up a small space. Geometric design choices can be used for furnishing, wall accents, headspaces, flooring, glass inlays etc.

Elliptical coffee table with hanging light - Beautiful Homes

Neutral colors that do not create any focal distraction or remain muted create a sense of expansiveness. Image courtesy, Shutterstock

Blue wall gloss texture with yellow sofa & cupboard - Beautiful Homes

Large furniture pieces, through the play on our perception of proportions, will create the illusion of depth and space. Image courtesy, Asian Paints

GLOSS

Glossy textures, in the choice of paints or veneers, expand a space. They help bounce off light, adding to the airiness in a room. They also enhance the available light. Matt veneers modulate light, and in some cases create a play of light and shadow that can distract from the space, contracting it. And if there are too many different textures happening throughout the room it can clutter up a space.

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