If you are planning a move from a big home to a smaller apartment — perhaps you’re moving from a luxurious Toronto home to a small apartment in rural Champaign, Illinois— then you may be concerned about how to give your new place an open feel, especially if you are doing a major downsize.
There are some decorator’s tricks that will make your apartment seem a lot bigger than it is, and here are five good ones:
Get Rid of Stuff Before You Move
This may be obvious, but some people will find themselves at the storage facility renting a couple of 10 x 15 units because they simply did not take the time to cull their belongings; instead they procrastinated and then were stuck with a bunch of stuff that physically did not fit anywhere.
Do you really need those crates of scratched vinyl albums that are hardly playable? That closet full of questionable items that you earmarked for a trip to Antiques Roadshow that never happened? Every computer monitor you ever owned? You get the idea—either sell it, give it away or throw it away before you move.
Also, save yourself some time and hire a laundry service to help clean and fold while you’re packing; it can make things much easier on you and your family.
Paint It Black
OK, we meant to get your attention with that but here is a counter-intuitive method to make room look bigger: Paint your ceilings a dark rich red or blue! Yes, we know that dark walls will create a chamber-like claustrophobic effect, but richly painted ceilings can do the opposite as they will give the illusion of great depth. Try it before you say no.
Move It Away
Instead of parking your furniture items against the walls, leave a gap of three inches. While you think that this might waste space, the illusion of furniture sort of floating instead of butting up against a wall can have an amazingly spacious effect.
In your old house, you had a bed, shelves and a dresser, and all of them performed their functions independently. Of course, you may have many big bedrooms and lots of room. If you’re faced with a radically smaller area, get furniture that does more than one thing.
Shelves built into the bed frame are a great example. And remember your grandma’s house that had an ironing board that folded up into a closet? Or those old cartoons where the bed went up inside a wall? Start online and search for multi-use furniture and you’ll find lots of items that combine duties while saving space.
Respect the Light
Never under any circumstances should you cover up a window. Natural light makes rooms look bigger—it’s that simple. Avoid tall dressers, bed frames, big desks or ancient stereo systems placed where they cover windows and hamper the entrance of natural light. Also avoid heavy drapes and thick curtains that make it more difficult to let the light in. Natural light is king, and if you hinder it, your space will look smaller.
Downsizing can be a daunting experience, much like buying your first home, but by using the designer tips above, you can make a small space look amazingly larger.