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Clever interiors: how to make a small space look bigger

HOME DESIGN: How to make your home look bigger

RESIDENTIAL SPACE has probably never been more at a premium. As our cities have become more crowded and bustling with more people moving into them, this has put pressure on the amount of living space available - leaving many of us with cramped rooms and poky apartments.

However, many interior designers are already aware of these challenges and have used various tricks to draw more out of dwindling space. Here are some ways to visually grow a space's perceptible size.

Stick to just a couple of colours

Resist lavishing a rainbow of colours in a given room. "A couple of colours will help a small room feel spacious and calm," Carolyn Bailey, Good Housekeeping's Homes Editor, remarks. She advocates that you "paint walls, skirting and even the ceiling the same colour."

If the walls are already in a common colour, that will make it easier for you to source the likes of sofas and curtains of a matching shade and cultivate a spacious feel.

Mirror, mirror, on the light-reflecting wall

Have a few mirrors spare? Attach them to your walls. If you give each room a couple of mirrors, especially relatively large ones, you can trick yourself and others into perceiving the spaces larger than its actual size. "The reflection carries the eye, giving the illusion of more space", says Bailey.

She adds that "it's a good idea to position mirrors opposite a window to reflect the light to brighten up the space at the same time."

The only way is up? Possibly yes

If high ceilings are leaving you with a lot of upper space going unused, you could make more of your wall space - such as through installing high shelving and putting framed prints and books on display.

Such measures can produce several merits, including more storage solutions and drawing the gaze upwards to encourage you and visitors to notice more of the previously underutilised space. Through adding an extra floor, you could even...

Make that space multifunctional

Given the many demands which we might make of our spaces in the modern age, it's little wonder that multi-purpose rooms have become more necessary - a trend observed by Harper's Bazaar.

You could make an extra bedroom or office from a new floor, says the made-to-order decor retailer, from which you could also source pieces for that new space. Chairs, tables, beds and lighting are all available from this firm, which has showrooms in London, Birmingham and Yorkshire.

Contrary to expectations, go big in a small space

Resist buying into the myth that your space should have small objects to go with its own modest size. Otherwise, you could make the room appear even smaller and almost like a dollhouse.
You should go in the opposite direction and splash out on oversized pieces - think wall art, plants and floor lamps or pendant lighting. Lighting appliances, in particular, can provide valuable light for your mirrors to reflect and so further avert that cramped feeling that might have festered for too long.

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