Take the Weight Off: 5 DIY Tricks to Make a Heavy Furniture Piece Look Lighter

Take the Weight Off: 5 DIY Tricks to Make a Heavy Furniture Piece Look Lighter

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Adrienne Breaux
Mar 18, 2015

Do you have a piece of furniture in your home you love, but it's just a little too "heavy?" We don't mean weight-wise (though certainly, it could be heavy that way, too). We mean, visually heavy. A piece that feels like it takes up too much room. Like it knocks off the visual balance of a space. Here are five of the best tricks to visually lighten up a heavy furniture piece and still make it look great.

1. Use painted-on shapes

You know those dresses that feature a light color on the front and strips of black on the sides that visually "pinch" in at the waist? And you know how they make the wearer look thinner in the middle? The same sort of idea can be applied, loosely, to furniture you might have: You can use color and painted on geometric shape. This DIY painted dresser makeover on The Sweetest Occasion kind of illustrates the idea of using a little bit of paint (instead of an all-over paint job) to make a difference.

2. White it out

Or, you could simply give the piece an all-over paint job. It's simple, but dramatically effective. If you have a heavy piece you love the shape of, paint it white. If you want to make the piece disappear completely, paint it the same color of your wall. If you just want it look less heavy, paint it a lighter-than-it-is-currently hue.

3. Add shine or reflection

Adding some shine in the form of a really high-gloss paint or finish will surprisingly affect the heaviness of the piece. As will adding mirrors to certain parts of a piece, like within the doors or the table top.

(Image credit: Dena Stormer)

4. Make it leggier

Adding legs to a piece or adding taller legs to a piece that has stumpy ones will dramatically increase the visual lightness of a piece. It's one part lifting it up off the ground and allowing air to circulate under it, and another part fooling the eye into thinking it's lighter because it rests on small, thin pieces of wood (though do put legs on that will be strong enough to support the piece). This Before & After illustrates the idea: A Vintage Dresser Goes From White to Wow!

(Image credit: Sugar & Cloth)

5. Wall-mount it

It's the same principle as making it leggier, and certainly can't apply to everything. But if your piece can be wall-mounted, you'll see its visual weight decrease and the whole room feel a little lighter and airier.

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