1. START WITH A PURGE:
Too much STUFF makes a small space crowded. Get rid of the extra. Keep your surface areas clean (no extra trinkets on that mantel!) Compile your framed photos into a beautiful book. Is all the furniture in the room serving a functional purpose? (Don't keep that side table just because the lamp on top is pretty. You can find another lamp that doesn't need a whole table.) Make use of enclosed storage for your smaller items. Having a solid clean door instead of seeing your book collection makes the space appear more tidy. Okay, so you've dealt with the obvious... STUFF. You could put Marie Kondo out of business... you've PURGED. All the THINGS aren't the problem for you... but your space still feels small and cramped. Sometimes it isn't the clutter that gives you that squished-in feeling.
2. IS YOUR FURNITURE TOO BIG?
Skip the giant coffee table and add a small side table instead. Do you need a giant sectional for your place? Often you can provide the same number of seats with a much smaller impact on the floor space simply by choosing a different piece. Try a smaller profile three-seater sofa and a couple of poufs. Can your big screen TV be wall mounted instead of sitting on top of that really huge sideboard?
*couch images courtesy of www.wayfair.ca
3. HOW IS YOUR COLOUR AND PATTERN?
Freshen up the room by painting your space in a lighter or brighter colour. If you want a bold dark colour on the wall, choose light or low profile furniture to create lots of airy space (like a simple round end table with legs instead of one with a storage cupboard or drawer) Instead of a moody dark brown armchair with large square features, choose a modern curvy profiled chair with a fresh neutral that reflects light. Do you have a colour palette for the room? Does it go? Sometimes having too many different colours all at once makes the room feel very busy, which actually makes it feel smaller. Choosing a few colours and bigger or more subtle patterns calms the space down.
4. ADD LARGE MIRRORS!
Mirrors reflect light and expand a space by creating the illusion that there’s more. You can buy a large, full length mirror and lean it against a wall, or hang a decorative mirror. Choose where to place the mirror strategically by choosing to reflect light or a nice view in the mirror.
5. LET THERE BE LIGHT.
You need good lighting, so make sure that you have lamps throughout the room that distribute the lighting evenly, rather than a single source. Look for the shadowy areas and get some light there! Make sure your bulb colour is flattering. You don't want a cold hard light in your living area or bedroom. You want it to have a warm natural glow. Light will reflect off surfaces that have high sheen, like a light wood-laminate floor. A dark rug will suck the light out of that area.