There are plenty of ways to "open up" your living spaces by fooling the eye to make others (and yourself) think that your home is much, much larger than it actually is. It doesn't always require tearing down walls or major renovations (although sometimes those help too), so check out this bag of tricks at your disposal.
Choose Monochromatic Colors
Monochromatic schemes are more peaceful as a rule, as the eye can move easily around the room without abrupt interruption by other colors. Use different color values to add depth and interest to the space.
Go With Glass
If you are doing a bathroom renovation, choose glass shower doors over a shower curtain, which becomes a visual barrier instead of letting your eyes take in every inch of space that exists. Similarly, you can replace wooden doors for french doors, or any doors with interior glass panels.
You can choose either individual mirrors, or mirrors that go from floor to ceiling, to reflect light and make a small room feel more open. Think about what parts of the room you wish to have reflected before hanging anything.
Choose the Right Furniture
Avoid heavy, solid furniture or skirted sofas. Instead choose pieces on raised legs, or made of clear materials, that have less visual weight.
Unify Your Flooring
Solid continuous flooring makes rooms look far more spacious. Don't break up your room by installing linoleum in the kitchen space, and hardwood in the living room. Also, avoid most patterned carpets and rugs (although stripes that run vertically through the room can make the room feel longer).
Lower Your Lighting
Ensure that you have lighting at floor, table and eye level to help limit shadows versus ceiling lights. That means hanging any pendant lamps as low as possible.
Raise & Widen Your Curtains
Extending the curtain rod beyond the actual window- both in terms of height and width, makes you think the window is larger, and the ceilings taller, than they actually are. If there are two or more windows side by side, try one curtain on the entire wall – hanging separate pairs unnecessarily chops up the space.
Use Paint Strategically
Choose a wall color that's the same as your flooring, so that the edge where they meet is less noticeable. Paint the walls and trim in similar shades of one color. Lastly, create the illusion of high ceilings by continuing the wall color onto the ceiling, making wall appear taller in the process.
What other tricks have you learned over the years?
Re-edited from a post originally published 7.30.2014 - cm