Clear the Clutter
So this step seems like obvious advice, but there is a reason this is number one on my list. Not only does clutter free up much needed space, but will make storage and organization much easier to maintain if everything has its own place. This also gives you the opportunity to see where your house needs work once all the clutter is cleaned away. So grab a storage bin, a trash bag, your significant other or bribe a friend and get cleaning, whether that’s stacks of junk mail, magazine, old cereal boxes or that dirty sweat shirt still hanging on the kitchen chair from last week.
Lighten Up with Light Colors
One thing I’ve learned is that light colors can really open up a space. Whenever possible consider painting your small space a light, airy color. Colors like light greys, off white, and light blues and yellow are all fantastic options. If you’re in an apartment that will not allow painting consider using accent décor to add a touch of brightness. Painting your molding and wall the same color can also help to create the illusion of height.
Get it Off the Floor!
This goes hand in hand with getting rid of clutter, by now most of your clutter should be trashed or thrown away. Take anything left off the floor and stored away, think vertically when organizing and creating storage this really helps to open up your room. In bedrooms and bathrooms that lack square footage use towel bars, hooks and over the door storage to keep floor space clear. Apartment Therapy has some fantastic storage ideas.
Smoke in Mirrors
Aside from knocking out some walls and adding on additional square footage, making a room seem bigger is all about illusions. Mirrors are great for this. Mirrors reflect natural lighting and can really open up a space. Adding a few well-placed mirrors is simple and in most cases is relatively inexpensive. We have a mirror in almost every room of our home and it truly makes a huge difference!
Going Verticalrobe hooks and over the door storage to keep things organized and out of the way in the bath, but for “living spaces” like the kitchen and dining room, shelving is king. Extra shelving helps to maximize space without cluttering the floor. Plus it will make the room seem taller if you store vertically. Use decorative baskets or boxes to store books, photos or vases. This is sure to break up the space and create an airy, open feel.
Create Space with Furniture
Throughout college my wife and I collected A LOT of hand-me-down furniture from parents and relatives. Most was which was meant for a larger family room or bedroom not a small apartment, that is not to say that large furniture cannot work in a smaller space it just needs the correct placement to keep things from feeling cramped and cluttered. Furniture placement plays a big role in the look and feel of a room. The best advice I can give is to make sure that no furniture is blocking the paths that people walk. There is nothing that makes a room feel smaller and more closed off than a chair slightly in the way of a door way or a couch pushed to close to a coffee table making moving around the room a challenge. It is also important to let as much light into a small space as possible so obviously blocking light with any furniture is a big mistake. There are plenty of guides on the interweb that can help with room layouts and “feng shui” of your home.