Nothing fills a person with self-satisfaction, worth and glee (not to mention a spot of confidence) more than a DIY project gone right. It’s being able to take a step back after hours and days of hard work and battling through little problems as you mutter to yourself, “yeah, I did that.” Sure, piecing together a piece of Ikea furniture that only has three parts can make you feel fantastic, but it’s nothing compared to accomplishing something all by yourself; something totally bespoke to you and your home.
However, DIYing your way to success doesn’t mean you have to build something awesome with your own two hands, like a dining room table carved from a tree trunk and resin, or a picture frame to go around your wall-mounted TV, or a jewellery holder out of clay. Of course these are fantastic DIY achievements, but sometimes DIY has another purpose altogether. In fact, some of the greatest DIY projects are the ones that try achieving something totally different, such as a making your small spaces feel bigger.
It’s a rewarding challenge that totally changes the space you live in and reimagines the totality of a room. DIY isn’t always about creating a masterpiece, but sometimes about changing the dynamics of a room. It’s finding ways to make your tiny pad feel like a giant penthouse, which is no easy feat, but one that is going to be so worth the hiccups and hurdles.
Here are some genius ways you can make your small space feel so much bigger by doing it yourself, no interior designers or contractors necessary.
Photo by Nathan Fertig
- Decorate the ceiling
One of the simplest ways you can make a space feel that big pinch bigger is by decorating the ceiling. It doesn’t matter whether you paint it, wallpaper it, or cut out stencils and spray stars onto it. So long as you come up with a way to draw the eye upwards you’ll make a room feel taller and more spacious. It’s the simplest trick in the book and yet one that still seems pretty untapped. So get yourself a sturdy box to stand on and start dressing that ceiling of yours. Of course you’ll want to avoid painting the ceiling black or a dark colour as this will give the opposite effect and can make you feel boxed in. Keep it light, bright and airy.
- Lighten the walls & floors
Dark colours are fantastic at making a space feel warm, welcoming and fifty shades of cosy, and it’s all to do with the way darker shades soak up the light; absorbing it instead of reflecting it. So if you flip that whole concept on its head, it becomes easy to understand why you need to stock up on white (or light) paint. Instead of pulling a space in, they will reflect the natural light of your space and push the walls out more. But don’t stop at white walls. Try opting for lighter flooring too. Sand down your heavily varnished floorboards, lay down a few light rugs or opt for some bright lino tiles, all of which will give a room that airy feeling you are after.
- Don’t touch the sides
You might not have realised this, but when you push your furniture up against the walls (like everyone does to try and create more central floor space), you are actually making your rooms look and feel more cramped. We’re not saying you need to bring everything in a few metres because that just isn’t possible. But even a couple of inches between your bigger furniture items and your walls will make a world of difference. It will open the space up and give off that impression you can afford the space around your furnishings. Pull your sofas out, opt for a freestanding gas log burner, and take your chairs in a couple of inches. It all works. What’s more, you can get your woodwork on by creating some console tables to slip in behind your sofas so that space isn’t entirely wasted. Genius.
- Multi-purpose furniture is ace
If you’re a dab hand at woodwork and pretty confident when it comes to DIYing tables and whatnot, then you might want to find a way of adding a storage solution to each piece you create, because having furniture that doubles up as a hiding place is a great way to add more space. Add cable tidies to the back of a desk to keep unsightly wires out of sight and to stop cluttering up your small space, for example. If you’re not able to build such masterpieces yourself, however, there are plenty of coffee tables, ottomans and desks out there that have built-in storage, which you need to get your hands on ASAP.
- Raise your shelves up
Just like in the first point, by raising your shelves so that they hang just below the ceiling, you will be forcing the eye to look upward and that will create the illusion of more space. It’s about using that space between your window and the ceiling, or the forgotten area above your door frames to pop your books and ornamental pieces. As we all know, hanging a bookshelf isn’t rocket science, but the outcome of it can be incredible.
- The honeydew melon rule
You may or may not have come across this rule, but it’s as simple as it is effective. When it comes to decorating a space you want to feel bigger, make sure you aren’t picking up accent pieces and trinkets that are any smaller than a honeydew melon. Lots of little things will simply make a room feel crowded. Instead opt for fewer items but bigger ones. That’s how to make a space feel that little dollop bigger.
- Dramatic artwork always wins
It can be so tempting to fill an empty wall with lots of little pieces of art and photographs and prints and all that sort of stuff to make it look like your walls are big enough to handle lots of little bits and pieces. Lots of little bits, however, can make a wall seem smaller and cramped as it looks more cluttered instead of open and spacious. If you really want to make your space feel bigger, you want to dispel the idea of a gallery wall and choose art pieces that are big and bold and fill the entire space as much as possible. Just make sure you are going for art that a) you absolutely love and b) is done with light colours so that the light is being reflected. That’s how to do it best.
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