| October 25, 2013

Feel like the walls are closing in on you? No need to cry in a corner — it’s probably cluttered with furniture anyway.

READ: Transform Your Bathroom Into a Luxurious Spa

Lack of space is one of the most common issues people face when it comes to their homes, and while investing in a bigger space seems like a simple solution, not everyone has the funds to make it possible. Interior designers, too, are all too familiar with this common woe among clients.

“Luxury is not just about the silkiest fabrics, the richest carpets, or the finest woods — it’s really all about space,” says Debbie Wiener of My Designing Solutions. “We all want bigger yards, homes and offices, but most of us won’t get it, which is why luxury is space.”

Fortunately, working with your existing space is not only possible, but preferable among interior designers, especially if you’re looking to give your home a much-needed makeover without emptying out your wallet. And there are several tricks of the trade anyone can master with ease.

Try on these tips for size and discover how any teeny tiny room can reach new heights:

Courtesy of Amanda Gates
White? Forget About It

Many assume white paint can make your home appear wider and more airy, but some interior designers believe this decorating fable can actually cause more harm than good. “Painting your home white is often a huge misconception in making a home appear larger,” explains Amanda Gates, who specializes in residential interior design. “If your home gets a little light, a pure white paint can come off as shadowy and dirty, making the space feel dreary.” Gates recommends using a darker shade, which won’t require the frequent upkeeps as white does. “It helps the space appear larger and create a more intimate feeling, making the space cozy.”

Courtesy of Abbe Fenimore
Mirrors: The Ultimate Home Expander

“It’s no secret that using mirrors or mirrored furniture can open up a space,” says interior designer Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25. “They bounce light around in rooms with little to no natural light, which creates a sense of space in small areas. Leaning a full-height mirror in a corner or behind another piece of furniture is a great way to open up a space.”

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Illuminate

Don’t like the look of mirrors in your home? Mirrored furnishings also have the same ability to make your environment appear wider. “Ample lighting is key to making a room brighter and bigger,” states Darlene Molnar, a Washington, D.C.-based interior designer. “Getting the light to bounce around a room will double the effect. Do this with reflective surfaces or use Lucite or glass furnishings that will not only create reflection, but are transparent options that will appear to take up less space than heavy, opaque furnishings.”

 

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Invest in Great Drapes

A painting on your wall may be a great conversation starter among guests, but is it really necessary, especially if your house is already cluttered with furniture? Consider skipping the artwork, and instead focus on drapes, which will not only help keep the draft out during the chilly fall/winter season, but also amp up your walls. “When hanging drapes along a wall, take them from the ceiling all the way down to the floor,” suggests Beverley Kruskol of painting company MY Pacific Building. “It gives the illusion of bigger windows and longer walls.”

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Don't Forget About the Ceilings

“I usually recommend that the ceilings be painted the same color or at least a shade lighter than the walls,” says Erin Davis of Mosaik Design & Remodeling. “When you paint a ceiling white, the space appears to be chopped up because your eye stops at the color change. Any time you can keep the eye moving it will give you a sense of continuity and spaciousness. By painting everything the same color, including the lines, angles and ceiling, you make your space feel expansive because the color wraps around you.”

 

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Reserve a Decluttering Day

It may seem like a no-brainer, but interior designers agree that one of the common reasons why clients have minimal space is because they have far too many things without room to place them in. To truly make the most out of your home, reserve a day to clean out everything you don’t need. “Keep your favorite items and purge the rest,” says Jenna Pizzigati-Coppola, owner and founder of Pizzigati Designs. “With the little space you have, it is imperative to keep it free of clutter and too many furniture pieces. Instead, be sure to purchase multi-functional pieces to keep your small home open and more fluid of a space.”

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When it Comes to Furniture, Bigger Can Be Better

“One big thing is greater than many little things,” say Wiener. “One large mirror, one large light fixture one large carpet, and even one large painting, will make a space seem larger than several smaller versions or one smaller version of the same thing.” An added perk? Less things to clean, which means more time for you to relax and enjoy your home.

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Add a Mural

When guests come to visit, have them focus on one piece that interior designers say is becoming popular among clients. “Select a mural that expands the space and creates intrigue or curiosity,” says Gates. “It will deter from the small space you have, and instead, create a fun element.”

 

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Get a Bed with an Important Feature

 “Beds with built-in shelving underneath are a must in a tight bedroom,” stresses Wiener. “Everything from extra blankets to dirty laundry can come off the floor and hide — making your room look not only bigger, but cleaner!”