Feel like the walls are closing in on you? No need to cry in a corner—it’s probably cluttered with furniture anyway.
Lack of space is one of the most common issues people face when it comes to their homes, and while investing in a bigger space seems like a simple solution, not everyone has the funds to make it possible. Interior designers, too, are all too familiar with this common woe among clients.
“Luxury is not just about the silkiest fabrics, the richest carpets, or the finest woods—it’s really all about space,” says Debbie Wiener of My Designing Solutions. “We all want bigger yards, homes and offices, but most of us won’t get it, which is why luxury is space.”
Fortunately, working with your existing space is not only possible, but preferable among interior designers, especially if you’re looking to give your home a much-needed makeover without emptying out your wallet. And there are several tricks of the trade anyone can master with ease.
WHITE? FORGET ABOUT IT
Many assume white paint can make your home appear wider and more airy, but some interior designers believe this decorating fable can actually cause more harm than good. “Painting your home white is often a huge misconception in making a home appear larger,” explains Amanda Gates, who specializes in residential interior design. “If your home gets a little light, a pure white paint can come off as shadowy and dirty, making the space feel dreary.” Gates recommends using a darker shade, which won’t require the frequent upkeeps as white does. “It helps the space appear larger and create a more intimate feeling, making the space cozy.”
MIRRORS: THE ULTIMATE HOME EXPANDER
“It’s no secret that using mirrors or mirrored furniture can open up a space,” says interior designer Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25. “They bounce light around in rooms with little to no natural light, which creates a sense of space in small areas. Leaning a full-height mirror in a corner or behind another piece of furniture is a great way to open up a space.”
Don’t like the look of mirrors in your home? Mirrored furnishings also have the same ability to make your environment appear wider. “Ample lighting is key to making a room brighter and bigger,” states Darlene Molnar, a Washington, D.C.-based interior designer. “Getting the light to bounce around a room will double the effect. Do this with reflective surfaces or use Lucite or glass furnishings that will not only create reflection, but are transparent options that will appear to take up less space than heavy, opaque furnishings.”
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE CEILINGS
“I usually recommend that the ceilings be painted the same color or at least a shade lighter than the walls,” says Erin Davis of Mosaik Design & Remodeling.”When you paint a ceiling white, the space appears to be chopped up because your eye stops at the color change. Any time you can keep the eye moving it will give you a sense of continuity and spaciousness. By painting everything the same color, including the lines, angles and ceiling, you make your space feel expansive because the color wraps around you.”
RESERVE A DECLUTTERING DAY
It may seem like a no-brainer, but interior designers agree that one of the common reasons why clients have minimal space is because they have far too many things without room to place them in. To truly make the most out of your home, reserve a day to clean out everything you don’t need. “Keep your favorite items and purge the rest,” says Jenna Pizzigati-Coppola, owner and founder of Pizzigati Designs. “With the little space you have, it is imperative to keep it free of clutter and too many furniture pieces. Instead, be sure to purchase multi-functional pieces to keep your small home open and more fluid of a space.”