With the rising cost of property, we, like many families living in capital cities in Australia, live in a small home. Our house is a duplex and similar in size to a large unit, so making the most of a small space is essential. Over the years as we’ve added to our family, I’ve picked up some tricks to make a small space look big. Here are my top tips for getting that ‘big home’ feeling.
It’s tempting to go for smaller pieces of furniture when you are working with a small space. I’ve realised over time that big statement furniture rather than small pieces actually makes the room seem bigger. Low furniture can also help to minimise the impact visually, especially for lounges.
Choose multipurpose furniture
When you don’t have much space you’ve got to get smart with storage. Wherever you can, go for multipurpose furniture. In the image above the coffee table is also a storage/toy box and I always go for side tables with plenty of storage in them. Even our bed has built in drawers!
White is your friend
Bright, light colours help to make a space feel bigger. Try to stick with whites for walls and choose light coloured floor coverings. Keep colours consistent throughout the space so that it all flows together. Darker furniture can still work well but try to keep the foundations of the space (walls, flooring) as light as possible.
Make use of mirrors
Mirrors give a sense of space by bouncing light around as well as making it look as though the space extends beyond its walls. Place mirrors opposite windows or hallways to give the illusion of more open space.
Streamline window coverings
I remember being amazed at the transformation when we got rid of curtains from our living areas. It totally opened up the space and made it feel so much bigger. If you need window coverings go for something super streamlined like roller blinds and avoid anything that adds bulk to the room.
If you don’t need the privacy or light block out, keep your windows free of any covers to make your room feel even more spacious.
The biggest killer of space is clutter. Try to avoid letting paperwork, mail and other random bits and pieces build up on benches and tables. Keep nic nacks and clutter to a minimum so the space feels as streamlined and open as possible. Our bench top is the biggest clutter hotspot in our house and it is a constant battle to keep it free of random rubbish. It’s right in the middle of our living area so the clutter really does impact the whole house. I’m always amazed at how much bigger the space feels when the bench is totally clear!
Vertical draws the eye up
Don’t forget to make use of vertical space. Put picture or book shelves up walls rather than adding to the clutter on the ground with more furniture.
The same is true for kids rooms. Consider bunk beds or a loft bed to free up floor space and draw the eye up. This photo below is of a friend’s kids’ room that makes great use of a small space with the bunk bed and cot underneath, plus a clever little play space.
Light with lamps
Overhead lights tend to pool light into one area of the room, creating shadows that can make the space seem even smaller than it is. Make use of lamps in key areas of your space to help spread light around and give a sense of openness. Lighting from lamps is also much gentler and warmer than overhead lights and makes a room feel welcoming and cosy.
Related content: 5 Simple Ways to Brighten Your Home
I’m guilty of pushing everything against walls to keep the middle of the room open but this can actually have the effect of making the room feel squished and crowded.
Avoid placing all of your furniture against walls, and instead leave some pieces “floating” in the open areas of the room. It actually gives a sense of space.
Do you live in a small home? How do you manage?
More ways to live large:
- 31 Impressive Space Saving Hacks for Every Room in Your House
- 15 Organizational Life Hacks You Need Right Now
- 12 Smart Ways to Declutter Your Bathroom
Images: Michelle Thompson-Laing