5 Ways to Make a Small, Dark Room Feel Larger

Putting together our post on modern sun rooms, we saw a lot of light, open spaces. But what if you live in a small, dark apartment? There are ways to lighten the space and open it up. Click below to see them...

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In general, light walls make a small room feel larger. This image is from Victor and Soeun's Loft from Small Cool 2007. There are exceptions to this rule: a dark accent wall can bring definition and scale to a small space and bright colors can definitely help to enliven a small room. Unless you're going for a cloistered, cozy feeling avoid dark chocolate browns on all four walls.

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If you can paint the floor white, it's a good trick for making a small space appear larger. This image is from Joseph D.'s Wicker Park Nest. By painting white floors and white walls, he was able to make a very small space seem open and airy.

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Hang curtains at the edges of the windows. You can make a window appear larger by flanking it with floor-length curtains that visually extend into the wall. In this image from the Shade Store, a small window has a lot more presence because of the drapes.

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Don't fill the room with too much furniture, and choose pieces with a small footprint that are visually lightweight. Low-profile furniture or pieces with legs (and open space underneath) will make a room seem larger. Image: Eames Chair from Room & Board. (Also notice how the artwork is hung a little lower to fit the scale of the room in this photo.)

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Use accessories that emit and reflect light. If you don't have the space for floor or table lamps, use wall-mounted sconces (especially in areas that don't get a lot of light). Hang a mirror on a wall opposite a window to reflect light into the space. Ron's Hotel "Sweet" from the Smallest Coolest 2007 Contest makes good use of lamps and mirrors.

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