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How To Make A Small Room Look Bigger: Creative Design Ideas and Tips

How to make small rooms look bigger, decor ideas and tips

There are so many different things you can do to make a room look bigger. That is why this post is so long. How you hang your curtains, or the kind of ceiling lights you use can play a role in making your room feel more spacious. There is a range of different ideas here to help you transform your space – from simple ideas to the more full on makeover project ideas.

  1. The Right Color Choice

Color can play a big role in how a room looks and feels. Light colors make a space feel larger, spacious and bright. While dark colors will make a space feel cozy, secluded, and relaxing. So with a small space, you’ll want to use light colors. This applies to the paint on the walls, the furniture you choose, along with decor pieces such as curtains and area rugs.

The Art of Blending: The more you can blend everything together in a room, the more seamless it will look. This means it will feel like a larger place. To blend a room you’ll want to try and have items with a similar color (just like the bedroom in picture (2)). Say you have white walls, then you’ll want white (or slightly off white) curtains. Then you’ll want to blend the color of the walls with the color of the furniture and the rest of the room.

In the bathroom, you can have the same colored tiles for the floors and walls – creating a really seamless design for the space (6).

You can still add pops of color here and there. Plants are a good way of bringing in shades of green. While wooden pieces bring in warm brown tones.

  1. A Clutter Free Design

When it comes to small spaces you really want to keep it clutter free. This doesn’t just apply to keeping it tidy, but this also applies to the design of the space.

For decor pieces in a small room, you’ll want to go with fewer and larger pieces. This helps create a clutter free look. Instead of having 2-4 potted plants, see if you can get one large plant.

Say you want to hang up some pictures or paintings. Instead of creating a gallery wall with a number of pieces, it would be best to go with one or two large framed pieces. Not only does this create a less cluttered design, but larger pieces will make a room feel more spacious – check out the large canvas piece in the bedroom in picture (2).

  1. Storage as Decor

If you need to store things out in the open, then look to get storage pieces that look good. This way your storage pieces will also act as decor for the room. Look for a matching set. Here are some ideas for good looking pieces:

  • Wicker hampers, baskets, or trunks
  • Wooden crates and barrels
  • Galvanized or copper bucket
  • Glass jars
  • Wire baskets
  1. Smart Storage Design

When it comes to storage, built in storage is the ideal solution. Not only are built in units designed specifically for your space, meaning they are designed to efficiently use the space you have, they are also designed to blend in with your room. And with built in storage units, you can make the most of the height in your room and build floor to ceiling storage units – just like the home office in picture (4).

Use as much of your walls as possible. Either through built in units, or by hanging up shelving that goes all the way up the wall.

And make the most of the corners in your room. Either with corner shelving units, or a corner couch, corner desk, or even a corner gallery wall. To see more corner ideas, and some pictures, have a look at my post here: Making Use of The Corners In A Room.

My storage page has links to my room specific storage posts for more creative ideas such as: over the door storage hangers, and putting hooks and railings on the inside of closet and cabinet doors.

  1. Window Treatment and Design Ideas

How you style your curtains can play a big role in how spacious the room feels.

  • 1. Fit your curtain rod as high up near the ceiling as possible
  • 2. Use a curtain that is long enough to hang up high and reach just a few inches above the floor. By hanging a long curtain from up high you create the illusion that the room is taller than it is.
  • 3. Try and get a curtain rod that is slightly wider than your windows. You don’t want your curtains to block out any part of the window. This lets in as much natural light come in as possible.
  • 4. When it comes to the material for the curtains, a light colored one works best. The more it blends with the wall color the better as it creates a seamless look in the room. Or another option is to play with stripes. Vertical stripes can make the space feel taller, while horizontal stripes can make the space feel wider.
  1. Getting The Lighting Right

To make a room feel spacious you are going to want to make sure it is well lit. You want to have the entire space lit up, there should be light reaching all corners of the room.

A modern and tidy way of lighting a room is through recessed lighting. Recessed lights are fitted inside of your ceiling. This means all of the light fittings are hidden away, leaving you with a clean and modern look.

You can find specific lighting ideas over on my lighting page.

  1. Good Looking Wall Design Ideas

Add decorative elements to the walls:

  • Why not add some wainscoting. It can be the same color as the wall. You can even play with the height of the wainscoting. Having it only cover the bottom third or quarter of the wall can create the illusion that the space is taller.
  • Or add some texture to the walls to create subtle depth. You can create subtle textures with paint (Textured Wall Painting Ideas) or use wallpaper.
  • Crown molding is a good looking finishing touch
  1. The Illusion of Mirrors

Hang up a large framed mirror. The larger the better (following the clutter rule above – larger pieces make a room feel more spacious while smaller pieces make a room feel cluttered). Not only do mirrors add a sense of depth to a room,  but they bounce light around making the space feel larger.

  1. Choosing the Right Materials

Keep in mind that glossy materials, either for countertops or cabinet doors, help bounce light around the room making it feel more spacious. What would be even better is to use glass furniture pieces. Glass countertop for a coffee table, or a glass side table. Because of the transparency, it creates the illusion that the furniture isn’t really there.

When it comes to materials for flooring or walls for the bathroom or kitchen (tiles), you will want to go with larger pieces. Say you are tiling the bathroom floors and walls. Then go with large tiles. They are more expensive and harder to install, but because you have less grouting you are left with a modern and sleek looking design. And don’t forget what I mentioned earlier in the color section about blending to create a seamless design. In the bathroom, if you can use the same tiles for the floor and the walls, you’ll create a more seamless design in your bathroom – making the space feel larger.

  1. Using Stripes

Just like in fashion, stripes can create an illusion of width or lenth in a room. Striped curtains, furniture, wallpaper, or area rugs can create the illusion of a larger room.

  1. Using Furniture To Make a Room Look Bigger

If you can, pull furniture away from the walls as this will make the space feel more open. The empty space can be replaced with a narrow side table or console, just like in picture (5).

Also look for furniture pieces with legs, verses bulky boxy items. A couch or bed with legs is better than ones without.

 Here are some other home design posts to get more ideas from:

image credits 1/2/3/4/5/6

June 1, 2016 in Decor, Small

Small Garden Ideas and Designs: How To Make The Most of Your Space

Small Garden Ideas and Designs: Making The Most of Your Space

If you have a small garden you can either design it so that it feels larger and more spacious than it is. Or you can take advantage of the small space and create a truly cozy and relaxing garden sanctuary. This post goes over small garden ideas that will help you create either one of those options.

Create a Clutter Free Look

If you have a small garden space, then you might want to create a very clean and modern look for the space. To do this, try and create clean lines and have specific designated bordered areas (for flowers, vegetables, seating, etc.) – take a look at the garden in picture (2) as an example. The box hedges provide neat and tidy greenery, and they are contained within the pathway. And there is a designated small patio area for the seating.

For more modern garden ideas, have a look at my post here: Style Guide: Modern Garden Design Ideas.

Here are some design tips you can take from interior design out into your garden to make the space feel more spacious:

  • Go for larger pieces vs. a lot of smaller pieces. This can apply to the plants and furniture. One large potted plant, vs. three. One large couch vs. 2-3 chairs. This helps create a less cluttered looking space.
  • When choosing materials, such as paving for the floor or materials for the walls, go with larger materials (wide wall panels, large slabs of paving, etc.). Have a look at the flooring in the gardens in pictures (3) and (6). Larger flooring slabs create a cleaner and more modern look (as there are less connecting areas).
  • Choose light colored materials. If you are painting your walls, go with white just like the garden in picture (7). The same applies for the flooring, pots, and furniture. Light colors make a space feel larger, while darker colors makes a space feel cozy, and secluded.

Make The Most of Your Space

You might not have a lot of floor area to work with in your garden. But don’t forget you also have vertical space to work with.

The walls of your house and the garden fences can be used to hang up pots and lights. You can also add some trellises, or how about a pergola which you can use to hang plants from and add shade to your garden.

If you have a really small space garden, then look to get folding furniture. That way you can store it if you want to the use the space for something else.

Going The Other Way

Instead of trying to make a small garden design feel more spacious and larger, why not take advantage of the small space and make it feel cozy, intimate, and relaxing. Just like the gardens in pictures (1) and (5).

Put up a pergola, and shut yourself off from the outside world. Hang plants down so they act like curtains. Hang up some relaxing lights, and add some comfy seats – and you’ve created your own secret garden sanctuary.

Lighting Up Your Garden At Night

Remember that lighting plays a big role in how your garden feels and looks at night. Even if you don’t plan on using the garden much at night, it is always nice to have a good looking garden that is well lit that you can look out over when you are indoors.

Some simple lighting ideas include:

  • Tabletop lighting such as lanterns, table fire pits, and candles
  • Modern tiki torches
  • String lights
  • Solar powered pathway lighting
  • Hang up wall lights on the house pointed out into the garden
  • If you have a pergola, then lights can be fitted into the roof of it (5)
  • Light up any trees, water features, ponds, or bushes you have – just like the garden in picture (4)

Here are some other garden posts to get more ideas from:

image credits 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8

May 27, 2016 in Outdoors, Small

4 Ways to Maximize Space In a Small Home Office: Ideas and Design Tricks

Small Home Office Ideas and Designs: How to make the most of your space

There is always a way to fit in a home office space. Have you seen a home office fitted into a closet? Did you know that using a mirror can help make a space feel larger?

Here are small home office ideas that will help you create a great space to work in.

1. Creative Locations For Your Home Office Space

If you have a small room in mind for your home office, then you can skip this part. Here are just some creative ways you can fit a home office into your home:

  • See if you can clear out a closet that you don’t really need. This might sound strange, but a closet is a pretty effective way of creating a home office. You can check out the post I wrote on how to do this here: Creating a Workspace at Home: Closet Office Ideas
  • The bedroom is not the best place to have a home office if you can avoid it. You want your bedroom to be a relaxing, stress free space. And this is hard to do with your work on a desk nearby. But there are some ways to get around this. For example you could create a DIY room divider (use curtains, or a bookshelf) to hide the home office space when you are done for the day. Have a look at my post here for more bedroom home office ideas: Bedroom Home Office Ideas, Tips, and Designs.
  • And for ideas on how to create a home office in the basement, have a look at my post here: Ideas for Turning a Basement Space Into a Home Office

2. Creating Desk Space

The desk is the first thing to tackle in a small home office. Depending on your home office layout, you might need a corner L shaped desk, a thin desk, or a fold up desk. You might get lucky and be able to buy the right size/shaped desk at somewhere like IKEA. Or you might need to get all DIY, and build your own desk to make the most use of your small space.

DIYing your own desk doesn’t have to be a complicated and grand endevour. You simply need the right sized table top, and a way to prop it up. Most hardware stores (like Home Depot) will cut a sheet of plywood to your custom measurements. An old door, nailing pallet boards, or reclaimed wood can also be used as a tabletop. An old surfboard also works.

  • For more ideas and pictures, have a look at my post here: DIY Desk Ideas

When it comes to the legs of the desk, you could go with hairpin legs from Amazon or desk legs from IKEA. You could also build your own out of 2x4s. Or how about getting two draw units, or small filing cabinets that you could use as a base for your desk.

3. Design Tricks to Make Your Home Office Space Feel Larger.

Color Choice: Painting and decorating your home office with light colors will make your home office feel larger. Go with white, mint, or light grey.

Then again if you want to create a cozy feeling home office, look for a dark color to decorate your space.

Lighting: You’ll want to have your small home office space well lit. Try to have all of the corners in the room brightly lit, as this will make the space feel larger. A modern home office design will use recessed lights, as these are fitted into the ceiling hiding the light fixtures.

If you don’t plan on doing any remodeling, just make sure you have a bright desk lamp. If you are really limited on space, you can find desk lamps that clamp to the desk freeing up desktop space (you can get one in the Amazon window above).

And add some floor lamps if you have space, if not put another lamp on a shelf.

Mirror and Glossy Surfaces: See if you can hang up a mirror in your small home office. A mirror makes a space feel larger because not only does it create the illusion of more space, but the light bounces off of it making the room feel larger.

The same applies to using glossy surfaces. If you have cabinets, repaint them with glossy paint. Or if you are getting a desk, look for a top with a glossy surface. Or better yet, use glass – as this also makes a space feel larger.

One Large Decor Piece: In a home office, it is ideal to have a mini gallery wall of inspirational framed art and design pieces. But if you really want to make the room feel more spacious, it is best to hang up one large framed piece – as this creates a less cluttered and more streamlined look.

4. Storage Ideas For a Small Home Office

When it comes to storage for small rooms, you’ll want to make the most use of your walls. This means having shelving going all the way up the walls.

Some other creative ways of adding storage space to a small room include:

  • Hang a shelf above the door frame
  • Using over the door hangers and organizers. These can be put over the door to the room, or over any closet doors
  • Use the inside of your closet doors – screw in some hooks or railings

If you need to store anything out in the open, try and get good looking containers. This way your storage pieces also act as decor pieces in the room. Some examples of good looking storage containers include:

  • Wicker or wire baskets
  • Galvanized buckets
  • Wooden trays
  • A wicker hamper

For more home storage ideas, have a look at my post here: The Command Center: Home Office Organization and Storage Ideas.

Here are some other home office posts to get more ideas from:

image credits 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9

April 27, 2016 in Home Office, Small

Design Tips: Small Living Room Ideas

Design Tips: Small Living Room Ideas

Having a small living room space means you need to get creative in how you use the space. This will make you a better home designer, and is a fun challenge to have. Everything from the color you choose to decorate the space, to the curtains you use can change how spacious the living room feels. The small living room ideas in this post will help you make the most of your space.

5 Small Space Design Tips

1. Color Choice: When it comes to the color for the overall palette for the living room, go with a light color such as white, cream, mint or light grey – as a lighter color will make the space feel larger. Unless you want to create a really cozy space, in which case opt for a dark color.

For a small living room space you want to have everything blend together, that way it will feel larger – just like the living room in picture (4). This means no bold pops of color. Say you have white walls, then you’ll want white curtains (or slightly off white). The same goes for the decor and furniture pieces – try and blend everything together.

2. Curtain Design: Go for a curtain color that blends well with the walls.

Hanging up the curtains closer to the ceiling, and having the curtains go all the way down to the floor gives the illusion that the space is larger – just like in picture (3). Also get a wide curtain rod, since you don’t want any of the window blocked off bringing in as much natural light into the room as possible.

3. Mirrors: See if you can hang up a large mirror on the wall, just like in the living room in picture (1). This will add the illusion of depth, and will bounce the light around the room. Also try and get a frame for the mirror that blends well with the walls.

4. Glossy and Glass: Glossy surfaces, whether it’s for cabinet doors or the coffee table top, are ideal for small spaces since they reflect light around the room making it feel bigger. A better option is to use glass – glass side table, glass top for the coffee table. Since it is transparent, it makes the space feel larger.

5. Decor Pieces: Go with one large piece when decorating a tight living room. Instead of hanging up a gallery wall of 5-6 framed items, go with 1 large framed piece – just like the living room in picture (5). Having a number of different items makes the space feel cluttered, especially in a small space. Go with one large potted plant, if you have the space.

Small living room decor ideas

An Alternative To a TV

Instead of having a flat screen TV sitting on a media console, or hanging up on the wall, why not go for a projector instead. This can sit on a floating shelf above the couch and point to a clean white wall. This is ideal for a small living room design because a flat screen TV hanging on the wall kind of breaks the clean look of the flat wall.

Making The Best Use of a Small Living Room Through Furniture

When it comes to small living room furniture, try and get pieces that will blend in with the overall color scheme of the room. Also, look for furniture pieces that can double up as storage pieces. A coffee table that has a shelf under it. An ottoman that opens up. Or a couch and chair that has enough clearance to store things under.

Small living room layout ideas

Storage Ideas

As mentioned above, look for furniture pieces that can double as storage pieces.

Built in storage is the best way to go. Not only is it built customized to your living room, making the most effective use of the space, but it will be designed to blend in with the rest of the room making it feel larger.

See if you can get floor to ceiling height built in shelving so you don’t waste any space. Make the most of your walls – hang up floating shelves (3).

And try to use the corners of your room effectively. Use a sectional corner couch, or hang up corner shelving.

Making it a Bright Room and Spacious Room

If you are going for a cozy and intimate feeling living room, then avoid using ceiling lights and instead use a floor lamp or a table lamp to light the space.

If you want to make your living room feel large and spacious, then you’ll want to have it brightly lit. Recessed lights are the way to go (6). These are lights that are fitted inside your ceiling. Since the light fixtures are hidden and are out of sight, you are left with a modern and sleek look in the living room. You’ll want to make sure the entire space, including all of the corners, are lit up to make the living room feel spacious.

Hooking up your ceiling lights to a dimmer switch allows you to easily switch from bright spacious lighting, to more cozy and relaxing lighting.

Small living room ideas

Here are some other living room posts to get more ideas from:

image credits 1/2/3/4/5/6

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April 23, 2016 in Living Room, Small