Most new homes today are being built with generously-sized room and open floor plans. But many of us live in older homes and struggle to make our small spaces look less cramped. Here are some common decorating issues to avoid that are making your rooms look smaller.
1. Changes in flooring - It’s not uncommon to find multiple changes in flooring in a home, such as a tiled entryway transitioning to hardwoods in a hallway and then vinyl in the kitchen. Flooring is often chosen for practicality and different areas of the home need to function differently. The downside of this is that changes in flooring visually cut up the space and can make your rooms seem smaller. When the same flooring is carried throughout you avoid the hard lines of contrast where one room ends and another begins, and this serves to expand the space.
This does not mean that changes in flooring are a decorating mistake or something you need to immediately address. But if you are in the position of building a new home or remodeling an older one, keep it in mind. Flooring technology has come a long way with luxury vinyl tile (LVT), laminate, and even hardwood options that can withstand a great deal of traffic and wear. If you’re replacing flooring, consider going with a durable option that can be used throughout the entire space.
2. Accent walls - Accent walls have not been trending for a number of years but I still get asked questions about them regularly. Painting a single wall in a room a different color (or applying another material like wallpaper, stone, or shiplap) can work in a larger space when you want to highlight a specific feature, like a fireplace. But accent walls can also have the undesired effect of making your space feel smaller. Darker, bolder colors appear to come closer into the room. You also create points of contrast (similar to changes in flooring) where the accent color and main color meet, which serves to visually break up the space. In most rooms, particularly smaller ones, a single color on all walls will make it appear more expansive.
3. Furniture not properly proportioned - The obvious issue here is when furniture is too big for a room. Not only does this interfere with creating an easy path of circulation but it makes the space feel too full and therefore smaller. Another common mistake is filling up a room with lots of little pieces of furniture that make it appear busy, such as too many accent tables or small storage cabinets. The visual clutter of many small items will also make your room appear smaller. Furniture should be large enough to meet your functional needs while still allowing an easy path of circulation in and out of all doorways, and ideally these main walkways should be three feet in width. For more tips on arranging furniture check out this post.
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Make it fab!