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1. Clear the clutter! What what?? I know, revolutionary statement here! The less visual clutter you have, the bigger the space will look for several reasons. If your eye gets stuck on the piles of mail on the coffee table, you'll never notice the 12 foot ceiling. Aside from distracting from positive features of your space, clutter will also make it feel like you have storage issues (and maybe you do, but who wants to be reminded of them). I personally live by the old adage "a place for everything"... still working on the "everything in its place" part, though. My point is- if you have a place for things, it won't look like you have run out of storage space. It's a wonder what some good organization can do!
2. Scale furniture appropriately. Just because you can technically fit a sectional in your tiny living room doesn't mean you should. Try replacing the love seat side of the sectional with 2 slipper chairs. Not only will they feel more appropriate to the space, but they'll provide you with more flexibility.
image via McGill Design Group
3. Taking another lesson from the image above- show off those legs. If you raise pieces off the floor even by a few inches, it gives the illusion of more floor space. If you can see more rug, the room must be bigger, right?
image via Angie Hranowsky
4. Make use of vertical space just like the image above and my built-in in my own living room. Using vertical space not only gives you more of this coveted thing called storage, but it also draws the eye up, once again making it feel larger.
This guideline is the reason that soffits above kitchen cabinets drive the bejeezus out of me. Not only is it wasted space most of the time, but it's a missed opportunity for a more dynamic room.
One of my most important tips:
5. High and wide! Here, let me jump onto my soapbox for a sec. Repeat after me: high and wide. If I haven't spewed to you about where you should hang curtains yet, let me now: HIGH AND WIDE!
I couldn't have said it better than Erin Gate's Curtain PSA (also the source of the image). If it's not screaming at you from this pic, hanging your curtains high and wide will draw the eye up, make your windows look larger and grander, AND allow in more light. If you like small, dark, unremarkable rooms, by all means, hang your curtains on the window frame. If you've made this mistake in the past, it's not too late to change! Your room will thank you! *steps off soapbox*
Would you add any items to this list? How have you made your space feel bigger?