Sure, “tiny homes” are now a fact of life in the real estate world. No, they aren’t the rage some would have you think, but a minimalist lifestyle is on many American’s bucket lists.
One doesn’t necessarily have to live in a dollhouse, however, to know the challenges of trying to furnish and live in and with tiny rooms. Homeowners in older homes are keenly aware of “small-room syndrome.”
One of the most important aspects of staging a home for sale is to declutter in an effort to make rooms, closets and cupboards appear roomier. Believe it or not, with strategic staging, even the tiniest spaces can look larger.
1. Lighten and brighten
Dark rooms have a cave-like quality – small and cramped. Obviously, adding more light will help, so opt for smaller lamps spread around the room. These will draw the eyes around the room, making the space seem larger. If the room is so small that it lacks the furniture to hold lamps, consider using wall sconces and floor lamps to lighten up dark corners.
One trick designers use is track lighting. It makes the room less cluttered and adds light across the room. Use small lights in the track lighting; large lights may overwhelm the small space.
Paint is the miracle cure for many things that ail a home. Not only does it freshen up a room but, choose your color strategically, and it will help the room appear much larger than it is.
Surf the Internet to find which colors make a room look larger and you’ll see that most folks swear that white is the best. As a matter of fact, nothing could be further from the truth, according to professional designers. Since they’re taught that “light colors advance and dark colors recede,” and visual perception tests back this up, dark colors will actually make the room seem larger.
“Now, if I’m in a room and all the walls seem to be closer to me, I would say that makes the room ‘feel’ smaller. Accordingly, the gray walls would seem to be farther away, giving the impression of more space between myself and the walls – to wit: a bigger room,” argues the experts at Sherwin Williams.
Now, that’s for the walls.
You’ll also want the ceiling to appear higher to add to the this-room-isn’t-as-small-as-it-appears illusion. The ceiling should be darker than the walls, according to Laurel Bern with Laurel Bern Interiors.
3. Choose accessories carefully
Too many accessories make a small space appear cluttered. Like an overstuffed closet, clutter makes a room appear small. You’ll need to be ruthless when ridding the room of the excess accessories. In fact, remove everything and then, “add back only the things that you love,” suggests Lori May, owner of Lori May Interiors.
When it comes to art work, hang the most interesting on the wall furthest from the door. “By drawing the eye to a distant spot that has a striking visual element, you expand the perceived depth of field,” Jeffrey Blum of SixZero6 Design in New York City tells Forbes’ Bethany Lyttle. “It gives the space a way-over-there feeling,” he concludes.
Another trick with photographs and artwork is to hang them lower than you normally would. “It gives the impression of a taller ceiling,” according to the experts at Amara, a luxury home fashion retailer.
4. Furniture placement
Yes, too much furniture and overly large and heavy furniture will make a small room feel cramped, but even smaller furniture won’t work if it’s not placed strategically. Pull the sofa out so that it’s 3 to 4 inches from the wall. “Leaving space creates the illusion a wall is further away than it actually is,” suggests the Amara designers.
Tall bookcases or shelves hung all the way to the ceiling also create an illusion of more room by emphasizing the vertical space. “Higher placement of design features helps create the feeling of volume in the room,” according to Houzz contributor Neila Deen.