Unless you’re a minimalist who lives alone (and sometimes even then), there just never seems to be enough space in your home. Closets get crowded, tabletops get cluttered and open space fills quickly. Families grow, tastes change, more Western furniture and decorative items are accumulated.
Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself wishing for more space. And since it’s not always possible for an instant house upgrade (wouldn’t that be nice!), your best bet is to learn to make do with what you have. In other words, you’ll have to fake more space. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to help with that.
Here are 15 ways to fake extra space in your home you may not have considered:
1) Buy as much handmade furniture with legs as you can. If you can see the bare floor underneath the furniture, your rooms will look larger.
2) Line the walls with furniture, but leave the middle of the room open. This will give you more space. If you don’t want to forego a coffee table, use something you can also use for storage, like an ottoman. Floor space is your best asset when you don’t have much of it.
3) Use white—lots and lots of white. Wall to wall white makes a space look larger, reflecting light and making objects look bigger. Plus, it’s bright and cheery.
4) Expand to the outdoors. Even if you have a small yard or patio area, adding an outdoor dining table will give you more space. When the weather is nice, you can host friends and gather at your outdoor table and still have all your indoor rooms for cooking, drink mixing and post-dinner conversations. Your outdoor space is an extension of your indoor space, so decorate with string lights and flowers.
5) Get creative—very creative—with your drawers. Tuck your dog bowls into a bottom drawer into your kitchen to add space and minimize spills. Hide your hampers in drawers in your laundry room. Add a narrow pull-out drawer next to your stove and keep your herbs and spices in it. You get the idea.
6) Then get creative with your home office space. Even if you don’t think you need one, you’ll be better off having a designated area to pay your bills, manage your accounts, send emails or write letters. But you don’t need an entire room to do it. A quiet unused alcove, a corner of your kitchen, or even a large closet will suffice. That way you’ll save space in the main rooms of your home for other things.
7) Think differently about your doors. Do you have a swinging door where a sliding door might be better? To keep your rustic look, you could get some old farmhouse doors and put them on sliders. This will give the illusion of more space.
8) Try flexible storage in your bedroom and your children’s rooms. For example, instead of a separate bookcase and toy box in your child’s room, you can stack modular cubes (or build them out of plywood) that will easily serve as both. As your child gets older, they can be used for other things and you won’t have to buy new furniture (or a bigger house).
9) Do you have an open layout? This means that the kitchen, dining room and living room can all borrow off each other’s floor space. The trick is to treat the whole area as a single entity. The materials used in the kitchen should coordinate with the living room colors… you get the idea.
10) When choosing your next sofa, pay close attention to the width and height of the arms. A low arm height and narrow arms work best for most small spaces.
11) Your window treatments can make a big difference in the way your rooms look. To make the room appear larger, you’ll want to find curtains that are the same color as your wall. Roller blinds are also a great option. Just make sure you don’t clutter the window with too many treatments, like using curtains and timber venetian blinds together. Simple is best.
12) Don’t have an entryway? Fake one. If you have a closet near the front door, take the door off of it and convert it into a storage alcove. Hang shelves inside and place baskets on them, hang hooks on the wall for your coats and set a small stool or bench beneath for people to rest when they’re taking off their shoes. This is a great way to create more space.
13) If there is no closet by your front door, do the next best thing and create a visual entryway. As long as you have a place to tie your shoes and hang your coat, that’s all that matters. Set a small bench by the door, hang a few hooks and hang a mirror above them to break up the visual space.
14) To make your master bathroom or dining room look bigger, paint stripes on the wall. Stripes in any direction create visual movement with the suggestion of more space around the corner or ceiling to floor.
Use as many of these tips as possible and you’ll soon be feeling like you’ve upgraded your space.