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Tips to make any space look and feel larger

Many of us now a days living in major cities, find ourselves short on living spaces. As we progress, we seem to lose more and more space in our dwellings. With houses we tend to have an option of an extension or the liberty of freeing up spaces and changing them. But, more often than not, many of the city dwellers live in apartments which give them limited opportunities to add extensions.

So how do we make these smaller apartments look and feel more spacious than they actually are? Since your apartment isn't getting any bigger, you may want to consider these tips to trick your perception.


Position for function:

This may be the simplest yet most impactful change you can make to your apartment. Think about the purpose each of your furniture is serving. If it has a single utility and use then try and see how it can be used for another purpose as well. There are sofas that turn into beds, chairs that turn into single beds as well, for your guests to sleep. And furniture that can be used for seating as well as also storage. Look into which pieces can be used to store linen and other things that would otherwise be kept in cupboards or in plain sight.

When you don't have space for an office table in your apartment, opt for a table that can be used for storage as well as for work. There are many other ways to compact your home without compromising on functionality. So opt for furniture that does more than just one thing.


Keep it neutral:

When it comes to colour, avoid a clash of different shades that bring attention to how small a space is. Keep the colours neutral and stick to mostly shades of beige and white. This shade palette makes any space feel larger and opens it up.

One of the most casual mistakes is to load up a book rack with books with multicolour spines. Now this is unavoidable. So try and organize the shelf in terms of colour. This will keep the space feeling clean and tidy leading it to look larger. Otherwise, keep things on display including a book rack to a minimum. Whenever possible choose white as your choice of colour. Monochromatic shades of grey and creams have light bouncing abilities which tend to open up a space.


Doors and windows:

Keep the doors in light colours as well and the hardware to a sleek minimal handle cum lock. Sliding doors along a track are far more likely to be less obstructive than standard doors. The windows may be draped with curtains but try and put the curtain rod above the actual window to create an illusion of space and grandeur. When the drapes go past the windows, vertically or even horizontally, it plays into the illusion of a larger room.

If your home and lifestyle allows it, opt for sheer curtains that let a lot of light in, to keep the room looking spacious. Otherwise opt for a blurring tint for the window panes so you can still use sheer curtains. If sheer curtains aren't an option, then stick to beige palette tone curtains without prints. This tends to keep the room looking larger than it actually is.


Scale and vision:

A small space doesn't mean sticking to small things; on the contrary, include big pieces of furniture in minimal numbers. It is always better to have a tidy space with big oversized pieces rather than several smaller ones scattered and looking messy. The key is to stick to our trusty beige or grey tonal palette again.

When viewed, the space seems to be large due to the lighter furniture along with the larger scales making the room even more spacious feeling. Play it up further by using furniture in an angle to draw the eyes away from the typical sight lines. To do this you may have to open up parts of the wall and change around more than just the furniture. Make sure the primary line of vision is a long shot with minimal distractions.


Wall work:

Keep your furniture slightly away from the wall, this may seem counterintuitive but these few inches make spaces feel more expansive. Instead of small frames and hangings, stick to one large painting or art pieces perched onto a light coloured wall. Pay attention to the framing and keep it simple. Hanging one large piece above your sofa which is equally wide gives the appearance that the room is larger than it seems.

Mirrors may also be placed in spaces which need to be made to look larger. For example, narrow corridors or passageways will appear much bigger if there is a huge mirror placed at the end of it. Controlling visual clutter is what the walls are all about. Keep the art impactful, minimal but large.


Floors and ceilings:

While carpets and rugs may be alluring, try and keep most of your flooring bare. If the floors and ceiling are light in colour and not filled with clutter, they tend to look clean and tidy giving a visual illusion of depth. The higher the ceiling, the better. If space is a problem horizontally, like in terms of floor space, think vertically and try and opt for an apartment or house with a good ceiling height.

Avoid too many light fixtures on the wall and instead place them in the ceiling, as cove lighting or bright LED lights. Keep your ceiling as simple and clean as possible. Avoid over the top decorative pendulum lighting.

Don't underestimate the power of utility and use as much of the space which is not clearly a visual obstruction for some function or the other. Keep the house fuss-free and tidy, this will very likely result in a clean more open looking space leading it to look bigger. Clutter should be removed from time to time. The process of declutter is harder than it seems and is definitely more rewarding as well.

So, here are some useful tips to maximise your space and also get utility out of it while creating an illusion of space.


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Ar. Mrudula Reddy

Master of Landscape Architecture