Giving the illusion: Design tips on how to make a space look larger

We love to keep you inspired to experiment with new looks and ways of styling and decorating your home. Let your own personality and sense of style guide you through the process, paying close attention to the colours and patterns you’re attracted too and the mood you want to create in your home. Styling and decorating should be fun – not serious!

Vanessa Houpert

Some rooms and spaces may be on the smaller side… perhaps you have a low ceiling, a narrow living room, a dark hall or a tiny bedroom. This can make you feel cramped and as if the space is encroaching on you. Well we’ve come up with some easy solutions just through playing with colours, light, furniture and accessories, so you can make the area feel more spacious and you can feel lighter and brighter!

Image Credit: Ikea

Fancy light colours

We love a moody dark room, however if you want a space to appear larger and brighter then it is true – the darker it is, the smaller it appears! White walls are a good option to brighten a room but if you want a more nuanced result, you can pick light beige, pink, green, blue… All pale colours are a nice way to enlarge the space in an on-trend, contemporary way. You can paint only one section of wall but be careful not to create too much contrast, as it tends to reduce the space. Strong patterns shorten the space so avoid heavy wallpapers.

In a small and tight space, a trick to help create a harmonious, light and bright room, have the same palette on the walls, floors and ceiling, so less contrast overall. This trick can work in a bathroom, for instance. Try wall to floor tiles in a neutral palette, a white ceiling and light timber cabinetry.


Image credit: Instagram @farahpro

Let the light in

For a room to feel immediately larger, it is important that you allow as much light in as possible. Even if you have small windows and if you live in the ground floor, there are simple tips to bring light into your home. First of all, avoid obstructing your windows with heavy curtains and dark blinds. Opt for transparent, lighter and breezier curtain that give a lighter appeal, and allow more light in, whilst still giving you the privacy you need. 

“The darker it is, the smaller it appears! This simple mantra might help you to decorate your room.”

Image credit: Instagram @desamble

Mirrors are a nice way to reflect the light and enlarge the space easily. Put a great mirror on the wall or on the floor, on the opposite side of the window so it can reflect outdoor at home. Another tip would be to put two mirrors at opposite sides so they can reflect in each other and give an illusion of larger space. Of course, clogging mirrors with objects and small pieces of furniture would block the light effect. Check that the section of wall you will use for your mirror will be entirely devoted to it.

In terms of style, go ahead with what you like, whether it is a simple mirror with a timber frame or a richly crafted mirror made of metal, resin, rattan or wood. As it is a key decoration to enlarge the space, the mirror is one of the only items that can possibly have a heavy look.

At night, special attention should be paid to lighting. A ceiling light will bathe the space in light, entering it to a larger scale. But it is also good to play with various levels of lights – floor lamps, table lamps, wall mounts, candles… – to lighten the room.

Image credit: Ikea

Use ingenious pieces of furniture

Select multifunctional systems like convertible sofas, high beds with drawers, folding chairs and tables, modular storage, nesting coffee tables… You will gain space without compromising style!

“Without reaching the minimalistic point, tidy up your home as much as you can; you can’t but reckon that mess won’t enlarge the room!

Image credit: Aude Christin, Instagram @aude.jolijour

Hiding most things in closed drawers and hidden storage will give an impression of a continuous and larger space. You can also invent simple storage systems to gain space like nails on the wall to hang stylish baskets or folding chairs when not in use. If you lack space for chairs when you invite friends, use wooden stools that can otherwise be used as side tables. You can also put a bench along the corridor or under a window, under which you will put storage boxes.

Image credit: Instagram @farahpro

Embrace lighter lines + Declutter

Choose low profile pieces with thinner legs to give a sense of air to the space. Mid-century furniture – with elongated cigar shaped legs and open backs or for a more bohemian style try rattan furniture as it allows light through the material and openness of the shapes. 

Allow some breathing space for your furniture, avoid using each inch of space, filling the floor with too many rugs, or cluttering up walls with lots of frames and shelves. Put your biggest pieces of furniture against the wall and avoid obstructing circulation areas.

Round tables tend to work best in awkward or smaller spaces as the softness of the curve is easy on the eye and allows room to easily stroll past and facilitate conversation. 

Declutter any unnecessary things around the house and choose to only highlight a selection of small objects that represent you and your style and then store away everything else behind closed doors. Then, try decorating on rotation such as seasonally. You don’t have to have everything out at once, shop your own home, you’ll be surprised what you forgot you had if it’s stored away for a few weeks!

Vanessa Houpert

Eclectic Creative Blog Contributor

French creative based in Wellington, New Zealand, I have worked for ELLE website, in Paris, as a lifestyle editor. I am now thrilled to live in the Pacific Ocean! I love: cats, halloumi, yoga, travels, flowers, and macrame. Regarding interior design, what I like the most is matching colours and textures. I believe style and poetry can be hidden in the simplest things.

Connect with Vanessa Instagram: @vanessawardrobe

| Pinterest @vanessawardrobe | Twitter @vanessawardrobe

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