A spacious room is a joy to occupy: it feels brighter and more comfortable than a cramped, cluttered one.
If you want to make your living spaces at home feel larger, there are some simple, practical things that you can do. If you’re prepared to push the boat out a little, some rearrangement of internal walls could help you to achieve the home of your dreams. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Do a serious declutter
First, pause and take a long, hard look around your main living area. This room tends to be a magnet for bric-a-brac because you and your family spend most time here, and let’s face it, family life is not always streamlined and tidy. Aim to make a place for everything and then do the obvious: put everything in its place. If storage is a problem, consider whether you can add one or two clever yet compact furniture items to solve the problem. A slimline window seat, for instance, can make the perfect addition to any room, providing that precious extra storage and, when beautifully upholstered, adding a touch of glamour.
Reorder your furniture
While you’re tidying up, think about whether you have all the right pieces of furniture in suitable places. Larger items will make your room look smaller if they’re too close to the entrance. Do some experimenting with repositioning sofas and larger desks or cabinets to see if you can free up space and improve the ambience. If your TV isn’t already wall mounted, think about how this would change the look and feel of the living room. You might get a pleasant surprise when you take it off the floor – plus your TV stand may well be surplus to requirements.
Let in the daylight
Another change that you can make is your window treatments. If you have full-length drapes, remember that they create additional volume that takes up space, and even if your curtains are sill length, they will still be blocking out some light, even when open. Instead, make the most of natural daylight and install affordable shutters. You can control the amount of light that you admit to your room, and their sleek, stylish outlines will add a smart, elegant touch. Shutters are good for reducing external noise and will also give you extra privacy. They are ideal when teamed with a chic window seat.
If you have two adjacent rooms, such as a living room and a dining area, consider a color scheme that is shared, unifying both spaces. Pale, neutral tones are best to make rooms look bigger, and by placing similar-coloured furniture in both spaces, you will make a connection between the two rooms. You can, of course, opt to remove some or part of the wall between the two rooms. As long as it isn’t a load-bearing wall, it’s a relatively straightforward job, though it’s always advisable to use a qualified builder or engineer for a task such as this. The upside of creating a new, larger open-plan living and dining room is that you can afford to experiment with adventurous wall art, perhaps, or a bright, snazzy area rug.
Besides daylight, of course, your living room has to be illuminated after dark. The way that you choose and use your artificial lighting can make a huge difference to the appearance of space. Task lighting is used for areas where you do specific activities, such as preparing food – with the help of lights under mounted cabinets in your kitchen – or reading. Choose portable lamps, pendant lighting, or recessed and track lighting. General lighting is also known as ambient lighting and provides overall illumination. Aim to achieve a comfortable level of brightness, enabling you to perform tasks and move about safely.
Typical fixtures include chandeliers, floor lamps and wall lighting. Designers use accent lighting to highlight particular features – for example, paintings, sculptures, or plants. When used strategically, you can make your living room look larger by focusing brighter light on the features that you want to highlight.
Finally, a reliable way to make your living room look more spacious is to position your mirrors in such a way as to reflect the light, whether daylight or artificial. Just as a large mirror in a small bathroom will give the impression that the room is bigger, so a mirror that reflects light from your window or a lamp will create the illusion of space.