Five Easy Tricks for Handling Problem Rooms
Pamela Cole Harris
Do you have a room that's just too much? Too long? Too narrow?
Too tall? You can camouflage that problem space with a few visual tricks!
1. Is your room too long? Divide it! Create two or more separate
groupings in the room. Have an area for conversation, one for music, or one for
media viewing. The possibilities are endless! Use area rugs to define each space
and tie the whole design together. Dark colors on the short walls at either end
of the long space will make them appear to advance and shorten the space
2. Is your room too narrow? Arrange your furniture on the
diagonal to fool the eye! Linear elements such as art, shelves or rugs should be
placed on the short wall to add visual width. Painting the longest walls a cool
color which will make them appear to recede can trick the eye and visually widen
3. Is your ceiling too low? Add height to your room with tall,
vertical elements, such as bookcases. Long curtains which drape on the floor can
also add visual height, as will tall lamps or torchieres. Painting the ceiling a
light, cool color (which appears to recede) will make the room seem brighter and
4. Is your room too tall? Lower the ceiling by incorporating
more horizontal lines in the room. Shelves, art and crown moldings are just a
few of the elements that can lower the height of the room. Another way to lower
the room is to install molding or chair rails one half to three quarters of the
way up the walls. This trick visually shortens the room. Painting the ceiling a
dark, warm color will also shorten the visual space.
5. Is your room too big? Divide it into more intimate areas!
Grouping a couple of chairs with a loveseat, two chairs and a small table, a
sofa and chair, or other similar arrangements will make the room seem cozy. Warm
colors advance visually, so painting the room a warm color will make the room
seem more intimate.
Whatever problem your room has, a combination of color and line
can make a huge difference in the way the eye perceives the space. Now, if only
I could make my hips recede!
Pamela Cole Harris is a writer, eco-decorator and author of "100+
Wildly Imaginative Ways to Make Your Own Coffee Table - a Handbook for
Creatively Deficient Decorators." Visit her website,
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