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How to make a small room feel bigger

Just because you're planning to move into a small home doesn't mean it has to feel small. With some simple decorating tricks, you can make cramped spaces feel open and inviting.

When you change your address, you may find yourself working with some smaller rooms. Just because you've scaled back on size in your new place, however, doesn't mean your home has to feel small. With some simple decorating tips, you can make any room feel spacious

First, be thankful - painting a smaller home is great because you don't have to cover nearly as much wall space as a large home. You can also be grateful, because painting is handy in making rooms feel much larger than the floor space indicates. Color and shade can create all sorts of optical illusions. Darker paints absorb light and can make walls seem closer than they actually are. Light paints are bright and reflective, making walls seem farther apart. As such, dark paints can make a room feel gloomy and cramped, while light paints can make a room seem spacious. If you're dealing with a particularly small room or hallway, opt for whites, pastels and other, brighter shades. If you want to add some more vibrant color, you can still add a dark shade, but only use it for an accent wall. Furthermore, if the room has differently-sized walls, make your longer walls light and your shorter walls dark so that the narrower dimension specifically feels wider. Paints can also be used on ceilings to make them feel higher or lower. 

Light plays just as important a role when it comes to sizing up a room. Natural light is optimal in making a space feel open and easy, so if you have cramped spaces, make sure there are plenty of windows. Hallways and laundry rooms are especially susceptible to feeling cramped. If you can't introduce natural light into a space, you should have plenty of bright, white light. Try to eliminate dark corners and shadows. Your use of paint should be used in tandem with your use of light, as the two will interact with one another to make a space appear large or small.

Overhead and track lights are great ways to provide even lighting across a room. Conversely, desk and table lamps will usually cast shadows and acute angles of light. However, don't feel like you have to use one or the other when lighting a space. Lamps can also give a room a cozy ambience. Use the two in combination to provide maximal lighting. With both, you also have the option of changing the feel of a room with the flick of a few switches. 

The size of your furnishings can also affect the perceived scale of a room. Even a relatively comfortable room can feel cramped if all of your furniture is large and overstuffed. For small spaces, pass on the massive Victorian-era chairs and lounges for something a little more space appropriate. Also, arrange furniture to maximize the amount of walkable floor space. However, don't make the furniture so small that it feels like you're living in a doll house. Before moving, measure the rooms of your new home as well as the dimensions of your furniture to see where your furniture will work best.

Using mirrors is an old trick for making spaces seem bigger than they actually are. Not only do they reflect light, but also seemingly expand the room's depth. Position them strategically so that they make darker and shorter walls seem longer. As an added benefit, mirrors double as wall decorations. Artfully arrange a series of mirrors in a room to make it feel more furnished as well as better lit. Also, don't think of mirrors merely as objects for checking your appearance. You can use very thin or small mirrors for an edgy, minimalist look or a reflective mosaic. Use a combination of large and small mirrors for a sense of variety.

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