Trapped at home? We've got 5 easy tips for making your space feel open and airy.

Small space living is a reality that a lot of people are facing, whether by choice (minimalism, low overhead) or circumstance. This is especially true in big cities such as New York, where two-thirds of the city’s 8.5 million residents are renters.

Limited square footage doesn’t have to equate to a perpetual sense of confinement, though. Here, we’ll share 5 easy tips you can apply to make your space feel bigger and brighter. 

Mirror, Mirror on the…Everywhere 

A tried and true tool for visually expanding any space: mirrors. This is an industry secret that is often employed by interior designers and real estate agents alike. 

A mirror’s reflective capability can double natural light by bouncing it around the space. Adding mirrors can also open up smaller rooms by creating the illusion of depth.   

This is one of our go-to tips because it’s completely non-restrictive. Place mirrors absolutely anywhere, from the bathroom to the bedroom and anywhere in between. You can pick mirrors of any size, shape, and finish. The results will remain the same. 

They don’t even have to be hung on walls, either. A large mirror propped in a corner or up against a wall serves the same purpose. (Don’t forget to consider mirrored furniture, such as trays, bar carts, side tables, and lamps, too!)

Large, round, wood-framed mirror on white wall reflects light to make bedroom feel bigger and brighter

Paint it Up 

Is there anything a fresh coat of paint can’t accomplish? We doubt it. Sometimes the key to making your home feel bigger and brighter lies at the bottom of a can of paint. 

There are a number of ways you can use paint to air out your space. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Some colors are revered for their space-optimizing properties. Paint walls and ceilings a bright shade of white. White evokes spaciousness, even in the smallest room. 
  • Paint the ceiling a lighter color to promote the illusion of more vertical space. 
  • If all-white as far as the eye can see isn’t your cup of tea, consider using light colors such as pale greens, soft blues, and neutral shades like beige, taupe, or gray. 
  • Horizontal stripes in solid colors make a room appear elongated; just be careful with dark or bright colors, as they can easily become overwhelming in a small space.   

If you’re looking for tips on how to paint the walls of your rental (and get away with it), be sure to check out this blog post

Closeup of paintbrushes and open quart-size cans of white paint sitting on newspaper

Floor-to-Ceiling Curtains 

If installing floor to ceiling windows isn’t a realistic solution for your home, why not fake it? Floor-to-ceiling curtains capitalize on optical illusion to make the ceiling appear higher than it is. 

If floor-to-ceiling curtains aren’t your thing, you can easily apply the same logic in other areas to achieve the same effect. Think floor-to-ceiling bookcases, a full wall of shelving, towering floor lamps, and full-length mirrors.

Sheer, white floor-to-ceiling curtains in white room

 


Smart Storage Solutions 

In the battle of bigness, clutter is the enemy. Not only is it visually disturbing, but science says it also can have some pretty significant negative psychological effects

Don’t let it kill your vibe. Steal a page from Marie Kondo’s book and roll out some strategic, minimalist storage solutions guaranteed to help you breathe easier around the house. 

Utilize storage solutions such as over-door hanging storage and hooks, ottomans, floating shelves, free-standing wardrobes, and baskets to keep surfaces and floors clear of clutter. 

Grey ottoman with natural woven basket nearby, representing storage solutions for small spaces

A Secret Swept Under the Rug 

This last step to making your home feel bigger, brighter, and overall better is one that surprises a lot of people. 

Rugs, man. Rugs. 

We just said to keep things off the floor, but the logic behind this tip is simple: big rugs make a room feel bigger, while small rugs make a room appear smaller. 

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Just like with paint, light-colored rugs help make a space look and feel bigger than it is. By contrast, dark or deeply colored floor coverings ground and warm a space, or act as a strong (downward) focal point.  
  • If you pick a patterned rug, make sure that the pattern is scaled appropriately to the rest of the room. A busy pattern in an otherwise minimalist space might work, regardless of size, but it will surely clutter things if you’re a collector of tchotchkes, art, or furniture.   

White living room awash in natural light, style with a large area rug in a natural shade with black tribal pattern

 

You don’t have to live in a mansion to feel like you live in a mansion. 

Ok, ok. Maybe that’s a stretch, but you can easily expand your living quarters using optical illusions, smart storage, and airy tones. If you find yourself short on tools for your brightening project, we know someone who can help.

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