Most of us wish that our homes were larger, but the obvious solutions like building an addition or moving to a bigger place are simply not an option in many cases due to budget restraints. There are, however, some excellent small space solutions out there that can either physically increase your living space inexpensively, or at least give an area the appearance of being bigger.
Making Small Spaces Look Bigger
For many people, the most cost-effective remodeling ideas are focused on increasing living space without increasing the size of the home. Sound impossible? It's not. One way to make small spaces look bigger is to better integrate indoor and outdoor living areas. In many homes, especially those that are a decade old or more, the indoor and outdoor areas are completely cut off from each other, but by blurring the line between inside and outside, you can give the feel of more space without actually having to add on.
Small Room Ideas: Windows and Glass Doors
Architects and designers have understood for years that, when creating physical space is just not practical, the illusion of more space can really go a long way. If you take a 10 ft. x 15 ft. room with windows and another without and ask people who've just been in both rooms, "Which room was larger?", nearly everyone will say the one with windows. Of course it isn't larger, it just feels larger. So, the simplest way to combine indoor and outdoor spaces is to add or enlarge windows. The bigger the window, the greater the feel of added space. A similar effect can be achieved with groups of windows. If you take an existing window and add sidelights (vertical windows flanking either side) or a semicircular top light, you can really open up and brighten a room.
Sliding glass patio doors are a small space solution that will enhance the look of a room and provide the option of physically connecting the inside with the outdoors, as well. Glass doors not only increase the feeling of space, they also allow you to move freely into the outside; add an awning or even some patio furniture and you'll essentially be expanding the living space of your home. When you find yourself heading outside to open the mail or relax with a glass of iced tea, you'll begin to fully appreciate the benefits of integrating the spaces.
Small Room Ideas: Painting
Proper color choice is another tool in making a small room look bigger. Lighter colors open a space up and darker colors pull a space in, so if you're dealing with an already small space, dark paint or dark stained wood paneling are your enemies. While painting a solid color on walls or ceilings can make a difference in how big a room feels, some folks have combined this small space solution with the openness provided by windows by actually painting a large window on the wall. It sounds a bit silly, but you'd really be amazed at how much bigger a room feels with even a faux window. While your painted window won't have all of the same benefits of a real one, faux windows offer one very interesting perk: the view from them isn't limited to your location. If you want a painted window to overlook the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids, or even a sunset from a memorable vacation, it is well within your reach.
Small Room Ideas: Furniture
One of the biggest factors in making a small room look bigger is the furniture you choose. Putting a full-sized couch in a cramped space only serves to make the room less navigable; opting for a loveseat frees up space and allows you more room to breathe. Storage is a must in small rooms, but a busy bookshelf can scream clutter; choosing end-tables, coffee tables, and foot rests that also provide storage space kills two birds with one stone. For a more permanent solution, consider custom made built-in furniture; it's expensive, but there's simply no better space saver on the market.
Most of all, remember that the most effective small space solution is good planning. Almost any room can be made to function better if it is planned out before it gets outfitted, and in a small space, getting the most from what you've got is essential. If you're working on a small space that is new to you, keep it empty until you know exactly how everything should fit together; if you're dealing with an existing small space, clearing it out completely will give you clean palette and a better idea of what options are possible. A good interior decorator or designer can be very beneficial, but if you take your time and consider your choices carefully, just about every homeowner can come up with a few small space solutions that will fit perfectly with his or her tastes!