How can I make a small space seem bigger?

Magicians use optical illusions all the time to trick the eyes. Coming up with design strategies for organising a room's layout, decor and colour scheme is no different – you can use these simple steps to make a small space, such as a studio or tiny office, seem much larger. 

Let there be light 

"Cream colours and icy blues are just a few of the best colour combinations that can convert a tiny interior into a seemingly bigger living area," wrote Mihai for Freshome Design & Architecture Magazine. 

Some shades for a creamy wall include Resene Eighth Thorndon CreamResene Quarter Pearl Lusta, and Resene Rice Cake. As for the icy, chill blues, you can lather on a coat of Resene Breathless or Resene Cut Glass to use the power of light tones for creating space. 

Trick the trims 

Paint your wall trim and joinery in a hue slightly lighter than the rest of the walls and ceiling, because this tricks the eye into thinking the wall is further back. As a result, your room looks much more spacious.

Walking on sunshine 

Wherever possible, try and let in as much natural light as you can. Large windows, sliding glass doors or skylights can all help transform a tiny space into seeming bigger. 

Hoarding horrors 

Clutter is your worst enemy when it comes to making a space look bigger. Don't let things pile up in every nook and cranny, as this will only make an already area seem more minute. Grab a basket or a bin, and de-clutter like a pro so your space is minimalist, only keeping the bare necessities. 

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Who is the largest of them all? Your room is, if you put a big mirror up on one of the walls. This age-old trick reflects the room to visually 'double' its size. Bonus points if you can place it opposite a window, as the light will bounce around the entire room to extend the space. 

Secret agent furniture 

Many furniture stores sell coffee tables with hidden storage compartments, or ottomons that can be lifted up to reveal internal hollow space for keeping blankets or cushions. Investing in such pieces can dramatically free up floor space in a tiny room. 

Soaring heights 

Draw the eye upwards to your ceiling – it makes the room feel bigger. Achieve this effect by painting it in a complementary or contrasting colour to the walls. 

Take a stripe in your stride 

Many fashion gurus will tell you that wearing clothes with vertical stripes can elongate your figure to make you look taller. The same applies for horizontal stripes – find a rug or carpet with long, horizontal stripes and lay it down on your ground to stretch out the room, or use a striped effect on a feature wall to make it seem wider or taller.

See right through me 

Choosing tables and chairs made of glass, lucite or clear plastic have the benefit of being translucent, so they don't fill up the space visually. Such items can make a room appear airy and open. Similarly, adding sheer fabric curtains or drapes in the same colour as your wall paint can unify your walls and windows to look bigger. 

Matchy matchy 

Upholstery on your big couches can match your wall's paint colour for a seamless blend, extending the size of the room. 

Floored by beauty 

In many ways, your floor and ceiling are like the fifth and sixth wall of the room. Don't use dark flooring such as charcoal grey carpets or deep brown wood, rather, lighten the ground so it too contributes to creating the spacious illusion. Toss on a white furry rug that covers the length of the room or stain wooden floors in Resene Colorwood Whitewash

Now all you need to do is put your feet up in your not-so-tiny room! 

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