Breathing Space

By Sharon Naylor

February 24, 2014 4 min read

All of the bedrooms in your home can look and feel larger and airier, without the enormous task of knocking down walls or undertaking a huge construction job. It just takes a few easy and often inexpensive interior design tricks to make it seem like you have higher ceilings and lots of extra space.

Here are the top tips for making your bedrooms look and feel bigger:

1) Choose beautiful wall colors. Stephanie Saul, design blogger at the Fab You Bliss website, says, "Light and brightly colored walls are more reflective, so painting your small room with such colors can go miles in making a space feel open and airy." Saul says that lighter, more neutral colors open up a room, while dark hues tend to make a room feel smaller than it is. Cool colors like champagne, light yellow, light blue and light lavender can make the walls appear to recede and the room looks larger. White can be too stark for walls, but a white or ecru shade on the ceiling creates the illusion that the ceiling is higher up.

2) The design experts at Lowe's website suggest using a monochromatic color scheme on bed linens, rugs, walls and furniture. "Select different shades and textures of your single color," they say. When there's less contrast between colors on the larger elements of the room -- walls, bed, furniture -- the eye blurs the dimensions of the room instead of seeing blocky colors that minimize the space.

3) Use lots of glass. Saul suggests a glass coffee table, since glass tables reflect light and "help maintain a sense of airiness in the room." And decor elements made of glass, including lamps with glass accents on the base, also work toward enlarging the space.

4) Hang mirrors. By reflecting light coming in from windows and from lighting fixtures and lamps, mirrors can create a spacious look, especially when hung across from each other on opposite walls. Saul says that a mirror hung in a dark corner isn't ideal, so look for the lighter spaces in the room and let a mirror work magic there.

5) Add more light. Wall sconces, skylights and torchieres can open up a room. Hanging a pretty chandelier above the bed or over a sitting space by windows has become trendy. And switch from heavy curtains to sheers so that more natural light can get in through the windows.

6) Choose light-colored flooring. Lowe's design experts say that light oak or a light-colored carpet can make a room look bigger and brighter, whereas a dark rug and dark hardwood floors work against your space-creating efforts.

7) Choose furniture in ideal sizes. A big, heavy dresser will shrink the space and may create an unbalanced feel in a room filled with smaller pieces. A king-size bed still has a place in a bedroom, since all of these steps create the effect of added space.

8) Use round furniture. Saul says that round pieces can "cut the rigidness and allow for more flow in the room." Bedside and coffee tables should be rounded, as should chair arms and the shape of the headboard.

9) Choose one big piece of artwork, rather than lots of smaller framed pieces. The Lowe's team says that one large painting adds visual interest without a cluttered effect.

10) Eliminate clutter. Remove all tchotchkes and small frames from dressers, tables and shelving units, and store them in a collectibles box out of sight. Organize books on bookshelves as well to create orderly stacks, and if possible, display only books in lighter, neutral colors that coordinate with the monochromatic colors of your room. Brighter and darker books can be stored away.

And always keep bedrooms neat, with shoes, clothing and toys put away in closets and storage bins. This clean appearance goes a long way in making bedrooms appear larger.

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