A modern interior doesn’t guarantee that your place will be comfortable. It’s all about smaller details. Sometimes, simple things like curtains, wallpaper, or a rug can change the proportions of your home. With their help, you can make your room visually bigger or smaller and can adjust the lighting as well.
At Enlighten, we found out what objects make the room visually smaller along with the best things to replace them with.
1. Large print wallpaper
Large print on wallpaper attracts too much attention and make a room look smaller. If you want to have the opposite effect, choose wallpaper with lighter colors and small print. It reflects more light, and the room will look more open and airy.
2. Open bookcases
Open bookcases look busy and crowded. If your room is small, it will look even smaller with them. Designer Kim Gordon says, “Try a piece that has doors so you can hide all your busy junk.” You can still read all your favorite books, but keeping them in a case that works with your room’s color scheme and preventing things from being too busy, visually, will help make your room seem much bigger.
3. An L-shaped sofa
It seems like everyone loves L-shaped sofas these days, however, they can limit the flow of a space and make a room feel less functional. L-shaped sofas are perfect for creating zones in a large open space, but they work against you when a room has a smaller layout.
4. Keeping decor at eye level
You may not realize that keeping everything at eye level is creating an illusion of a smaller space, no matter how low your ceilings are. But it’s not difficult to make the ceiling look taller, and therefore, make the room look bigger.
“Shelves, decorations, all that stuff, hang it higher than normal,” interior and furniture designer John Linden says. “This helps to draw the eye upward toward the ceiling. In a way, it also literally adds more space.” Also, he recommends getting books, bikes, and other items up and off the floor to give the illusion of more space.
5. The wrong mirror placement
Sure, you can use a mirror for looking at yourself, but its reflective properties can work to your advantage. Emma Pritchard, the editor of Country Living UK magazine, recommends placing a mirror in front of a window. It will add natural light that will make your bedroom or living room more visually spacious.
6. Furniture at the entrance of a room
A chair standing next to the doorway can clutter a living room, kitchen, or bedroom, and you can get the sense that the room is not spacious enough. If possible, group massive furniture against one wall. This will help to enlarge the space and add a few extra inches to the room.
7. Chairs and couches where you can’t see the legs
A couch or a chair that you can’t see the legs of looks way bulkier. Being able to see the legs of your furniture can help make less of your room appear cluttered and leaves a bit more open space.
8. Furniture with a tall back
A bed, a chair, or a pouf that is not too tall will make a room look more spacious. In a bedroom, a low bed in an Asian style will be appropriate. For a living room, choose chairs with a not-too-tall (but comfortable) back as they will make your space look more open.
9. Thick drapes and curtains
Thick curtains made of satin or velvet make the ceiling look lower and seem to build an invisible wall in the room. Additionally, they absorb the light coming from the window. Flowy, smooth fabrics, like linen, will make the interior more vivid.
10. A dark or multi-colored blanket on soft furniture
Dark colors make the space visually smaller. This rule also works with covers for soft furniture (especially with light-colored upholstery). A dark blanket will deprive the room of lightness and make it visually narrower. A multi-colored cover will provide the same effect. Light colors will enhance the size of the room.
11. A small rug near a sofa or bed
It’s so nice to step onto a warm rug in the morning after waking up, especially if you live in a cold climate. When choosing this interior detail, it’s important to think about its size. A small rug makes the interior more fragmented and narrows the space.
To avoid this effect, you should choose a carpet that will be big enough or go for no carpet at all. The entire piece of furniture, or just its front legs, should stand on the carpet. Light colors on things like wallpaper or curtains will also create the illusion of a bigger space.
12. Big toys
Big stuffed toys like teddy bears add cuteness to your home, but they take up too much precious space. Toys attract too much attention so you can’t see the interior anymore. If your home is not really big but you have children, keep toys in baskets or cute boxes.
13. Ceiling fans
Keeping your home cool and making your space look larger doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. “Ceiling fans skew the room tremendously and create shadows no matter where you are,” says Mary Graham, who recommends a white fan or low-profile task lighting instead.
14. Floor lamps
Floor lamps alone may not be enough to brighten up your space as they create an imbalance. While these lamps may light your ceiling brightly, they offer little light to the rest of the room, making it look small and dark. It’s better to choose different types of lamps that provide equal lighting.
15. Furniture standing against the wall
Owners of small apartments often try to push their furniture against the walls. This seems logical, but it may not give the result one expects. If you arrange all the furniture against the walls, the room will lack elements that brighten up the space.
Interior designer Anne Hepfer offers an easy solution to this problem. “Try floating furniture away from the walls. It may seem counterintuitive, but to make a living room look larger, don’t push furniture against the walls,” she says. “Instead, float furniture away from the walls to create a better sense of balance in the space.”
16. Stretch ceiling
Stretch ceilings are wear-resistant, they’re easy to install, and they also have a wide range of colors. However, such ceilings have a significant drawback that you should take into account when renovating or buying a home — they make the room smaller, not only visually but also practically.
When installed, the room height is reduced by about 11 inches, depending on the technique and material, which can be critical for a small apartment. If the ceiling has several levels, it will make the room seem even smaller.
Which object you would never use in your interior and why? Tell us in the comments below.