Tips & Tricks to Enlarge Your Small Space

I have a Pinterest board full of dream apartment ideas. I want a sleeper tub, a comfy sectional couch and lots of exposed brick. But in the real world, my first apartment could barely fit my queen size bed, and my “grand windows” opened up to the ground level of a parking lot. Budgets can get in the way of our dream spaces, but with a few simple tricks and tips, you can visually enlarge your cramped space into a cozy abode.


Stick to Small Punches of Color
I spoke to Sabine Schoenberg, a home improvement expert and host of Homes & Estates—Today & Tomorrow, on how to use color schemes to make a small room look bigger. Schoenberg suggests sticking with soft colors or neutral color palettes when decorating. your apartment. “Lots of people choose to have a coffee table in the center of the living room with a vase of fresh flowers as the focal point,” Schoenberg says. “This is going to draw the eye to that vase of flowers. If you put that punch of color on a shelf at the far end of the wall, the eye will be extend farther.” Similarly, avoid brightly colored window treatments in a bedroom that will serve to stop the eye. Choose instead a bright headboard against the far wall of the room for a punch of color. Textures can also add interesting dimension to softer or neutral color home pieces.


Find Furniture that Fits Your Space
Sally Morse, a design expert for Hunter Douglas, stresses creating balance in a small space. “Replace large and overstuffed furniture that overwhelms, with trim, tailored pieces more in scale with the space,” she suggests. When furnishing a small apartment weighty pieces of furniture should be placed on opposite sides of each other to maintain balance. While smaller items like armchairs or end tables can be placed in corners to open up the room. Another of Morse’s small space solutions is multi-tasking furniture pieces like the ottoman below that also serves as storage for throw pillows and blankets.


Stay Organized
The smaller your space is, the more necessary it is to keep organized. “You want to get as much as you can out of cabinets or storage spaces that you already have,” says Schoenberg. Pullout storage drawers under the bed can keep shoes or winter sweaters neatly out of sight in a small apartment. Pull-out drawers and drawer organizers installed in the kitchen keep dishes and utensils uncluttered. “If you just put pots and pans in a cabinet, there are going to be some you never see or can never reach. The pullout drawers help you access everything you need without digging around.” These small space solutions are often cheap and easy enough to do on your own.


Utilize Natural Light
To give a small space big style—and brightness to boot—be mindful of window treatments and lighting. “Even if the home feels cave-like with less windows and light than desired, capitalize on what you currently have,” Morse says. Mirrors can easily enhance the light in a room when placed across from windows, or a piece of wall art you enjoy. Choose window shades that soften harsh sunlight while still letting in some. Schoenberg also prefers spending a little extra on better quality lighting. “Better quality lighting opens up a space much more, especially with some of the new LED lights out, there is a feeling of extension."


With a “less is more” attitude and some organization, you can enlarge your small space on a budget. And save up money for that dream home. Because, well, I still want that oversized bathtub.

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