Just because you have a small living area doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of various techniques to make the most of your space. Different design options combined with various lighting choices work together to create an open and lofty decor that looks larger than its square footage suggests.
Take a look at our compilation of suggestions to help you mix and match options to open up your bedroom, living areas, or dining room to accommodate a comfortable and spacious atmosphere.
Wall Colors vs. Lighting vs. Decor
Sticking a bulb in a lamp is not the only way you can add lighting to your room. Of course it is the easiest way, and there are many different solutions to add lighting to a room to help open it up and make it look more spacious (many of those ideas are discussed below).
But, you can also take advantage of the wall colors you choose, how you decorate, and even what kind of furniture you desire and where you place it. Done right, you can brighten up your room and trick the eye into thinking you have more space than you do.
Bottom line, your collective decorating styles and taste in furniture are all a part of how to open up your room to more light. Light Colored Walls
Keeping your walls white or light colored helps reflect your lighting choices and generally matches with a wider array of decor. Light wall colors brighten any space, including dark corners, to help open up your area and make it more welcoming.
You also are better able to mix and match simple decor to help create a more open, spacious area to relax within.
Small rooms can often benefit from a darker colored accent wall. Choose one that is against an outside wall if you can. The light and dark contrast creates depth and opens up a smaller room to look larger than it really is.
You don’t have to use a dark hue, but simply choose a color slightly darker than the rest of your walls. You can also use color for this if your other walls are white. If you do choose a darker tone, pick a wall that already is used for furniture such as bookcases or sideboards.
LED lighting is very versatile and can be brightened, dimmed, or even changed in hue and tone to match your space or time of day. It isn’t just a highly affordable and efficient type of bulb, it is the best type of bulb for a smaller room.
LED bulbs have a far reaching light as well, and illuminates better than fluorescent or traditional incandescent bulbs.
Minimize Wall Decorations
Open wall space is what makes a smaller room look larger. Avoid putting up shelving, pictures, or wall hangings which can make your room look smaller. If you do have wall decor to use, place them on one wall only, using them as you might use an accent wall.
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Complimentary Decor Colors
Contrasting, complimentary colors, such as red and green, purple and yellow, or blue and orange are a great way to add depth to a room. You of course shouldn’t use the brightest hues of these options, but lighter tones used as accents in your furniture, upholstery, throw pillows, blankets, and lighting options can help open up a darker space or small room. Choose rose and mint, lavender and the lightest of yellows, or pale blue and peach.
Floor and Desk Lamps
A good floor lamp or desk lamp set in a corner is a great way to brighten up a dark corner. Corners, wall recesses, shelving areas and the like can make a room look smaller and cast shadows. Use a lamp to help open up these spaces.
Create a Focal Point
Any small space can quickly look cluttered with too many pieces of furniture or furniture that is too large for the space. Create a focal point with main accent pieces, such as a desk, sofa, or bed.
This helps focus the eye toward one point and leaves the surrounding area open and roomy. And, avoid using any heavy looking or large pieces alongside it to keep from overwhelming your focal point.
Avoid Heavy Window Dressings
Windows provide an extension of the room outwards and you want to leave your windows as open as possible without compromising privacy. This helps brighten, refreshen, and open up your living space.
If you need to cover your windows, cover only the bottom half and avoid drapery. Drapes are too large looking and make your room look smaller by connecting the ceiling and floor together. Valances are a much better option if you want to add a bit of decor.
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Wall sconces work much like a lamp to help bring brightness to dark areas and shadowy walls. They also don’t take up any floor space. A wall sconce also creates a small footprint that doesn’t clutter up a wall, or works perfectly if you are creating an accent wall with paint color, wall hangings, or both.
String lighting is smaller and more discreet than it used to be. Small wires and tiny LED lights make them easy to hang and drape in just about any space. The fact that some are even battery operated makes this more true than ever.
Use them along the top of your walls where the wall meets the ceiling, or in dark corners and recesses. They also work well placed among plants, set along windows, or placed at the back of bookcases and along shelves.
Plants create open green spaces, add depth, and brightens your room. Placing plants through a room hints that there is more space beyond them, giving an illusion of a larger space. Many household plants don’t need a lot of light either, and can help filter air to create an open, light atmosphere.
Some plants also trail, and you can drape them along the top of your walls, bookcases, windows, and shelving.
Keep Clutter to a Minimum
One of the biggest things you need to keep in mind is that you need to avoid clutter in a small room. Look for space saving ideas that help you store your items out of the way, but easily accessible.
Underbed or under sofa storage solutions, stacked drawers, and other unique ideas can help you keep what you need on hand, but not in a manner that overwhelms your space.
A low profile chandelier is a great way to create a focal point and add light to your room. Choose a lighting solution that allows you to create different lighting solutions based on your needs. For example dimmable or hue changing.
You don’t want an option that hangs too low because it might look too large for a small space, but there are many choices out there you can take advantage of that provide the light you need without overwhelming.
Mirrors are an excellent way to help illuminate your space using light reflection. They provide depth and give an illusion of a larger space. They also work to brighten up dark areas and are especially effective with natural lighting.
Place an oversized mirror in a corner, leaning along the wall. And also mount one or two on the wall running the vertical length.
Track lighting is a unique solution to help focus light specifically where you need it. It is low profile and provides you the opportunity to customize your lighting needs. This is a great choice for small rooms with poor natural lighting or that had some darker spaces that need illumination.
Recessed lighting sits into your ceiling, doesn’t take up any space in a room, and often is designed with reflective surfaces as well as adjustable sockets so you can get light to where you need it. Recessed lighting can also be placed along walls.
It is a great choice for rooms that have angled ceilings or odd shapes since the lights can be wired into just about any area you want them to be.
Maximize Natural Lighting
As mentioned earlier you can maximize natural lighting through the use of proper window coverings and mirrors. Avoid placing furniture too close to your windows and take advantage of your entire window to maximize natural lighting.
Also, avoid outdoor window coverings that may block lighting.
Light Colored Furniture
Be sure to choose furniture that is light colored, such as white, light gray, or a light stained wood. You don’t want a heavy or dark piece as it could create a shadowing effect and overwhelm the space.
Also, choose furniture that is delicate in how it looks and avoid clunky, large, solid looking pieces. This is especially important for a bedroom or office where a bed frame or desk is more likely to be placed more in the middle of a room rather than off to the side.
Textured Lamp Shades
If you have lamps, consider textured lamp shades to help create the illusion of space in the evening. The textured patterns created by the light reflect off the walls to add depth and texture. Just be sure to choose something delicate and natural looking to avoid overwhelming the space the lamps are placed in by day Use Complimentary Decor
Some suggestions have been provided above concerning color and decor, but decorating is one of the best parts of making a room yours. Do choose lighter colors along with contrasts and complementary pairings. Take advantage of bedspreads, throws, pillows, and even rugs too help add interest, color, and above all – a suggestion of space.
If your area requires electronics such as televisions, sound systems, and gaming systems, take advantage of your wall to avoid taking up too much floor space. Mount a television high to create an effect of height, and use flush to the wall cabinetry to place gaming consoles.
You can also easily have built-in shelving installed to hold your electronics. Media centers or sound systems are also fairly easy to build into your wall and ceiling and require some simple skills to accomplish.
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Wrapping it Up
There are many ways you can start making a room look larger by taking advantage of lighting solutions combined with various other techniques. There is no need to give up on your decorative dreams, you simply need to be smart about your space and pick and choose how you want to decorate to avoid cluttering up the space or making it feel cramped and dark.
Hopefully the many suggestions and ideas listed above have you thinking about how to brighten your living areas to help them feel larger. Strategically placed furniture, color matching, and how different lighting solutions can make a space look bigger are all ways to create an airy, open, and comfortable space.
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