Need advice on making the most of tight quarters?
Who better to ask than Apartment Therapy founder Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan? He shares solutions from the site’s Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces.
1. Edit, Edit, Edit
You’ve got to leave some breathing room. Emptiness allows the eye to travel someplace and rest. Every space will feel bigger if you leave some things out.
2. Hang Curtains
Take the doors off doorways and closets and replace them with a curtain. Doors are a huge impediment to flow, and they take up space when they’re open.
3. Arrange Closets Carefully
Well-organized closets are essential. And if there’s no lighting in there already, always install it—a closet is only 50 percent useful if you can’t see in it.
4. Let There Be Light
Have at least three points of light at eye level in each room—and turn them on! By giving your eyes multiple focus points, lamps help expand a room visually, creating the illusion of more depth and space.
5. Use Rope Lighting
Buy LED rope lighting by the yard and put it anywhere—in your closet at shoe level, as up-lighting on top of kitchen cabinets, and under cabinets for counter lighting.
6. Make a Mirror Image
Mirrors—an old, neat trick—help make any room feel more expansive, and they double the light.
7. Create Contrast With Color
Stain the floor dark, use light colors on walls, and paint the ceiling a lighter white. This helps the eye travel up the walls, giving a sense of more space.
8. Include Oversized Elements
Don’t be afraid to go big. I know a woman with a teeny-tiny bedroom who built a huge four-poster bed. It made the room into a truly glamorous boudoir.
9. Reach New Heights
Floor-to-ceiling curtains make walls seem taller and windows larger. Do this with your shower curtain, too, to create the impression of a big, luxurious shower.
10. Wash your windows!
The eyes stop at a dirty window, but the gaze travels out through clean glass.