If you live in a modest-size house, condo or apartment, chances are you're keenly aware of the limitations of small-space living. Don't despair: designers have a stack of tricks for making close quarters appear more spacious. The strategies below will help you make less seem like more!
DO hide storage in plain sight. Look for coffee or end tables with storage beneath, bookshelves that run from floor-to-ceiling, and armoires to house anything from linens to entertainment units.
DO create a seamless flow by covering furniture and walls in a single, unifying colour or pattern. The cohesiveness can visually stretch a space.
DO visually enlarge floor space by installing wall-to-wall carpeting rather than laying down multiple area rugs.
DO choose an ample two-seater sofa rather than a three-seater. You'll have room for an end table, and guests rarely occupy all three seats, so that third one is often wasted, anyway.
DON'T inadvertently emphasize low ceilings by choosing too-tall sofas and chairs or by highlighting wainscotting or chair rails. Instead, to open things up, aim for long low lines with major furniture and either eliminate chair rails and wainscotting or paint them the same colour as the walls.
DON'T block off open spaces. Choose furniture with legs rather than skirts, and console tables rather than chests of drawers. A low bookcase can act as a room divider between the living and dining areas; a glass coffee table allows the eye to travel unimpeded through the space.
DON'T underestimate the space-amplifying power of wall-to-wall mirror.