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Category:  Decorating

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Miracle Visual Tricks to Make a Small Room Appear Larger  

By Pamela Cole Harris  

If you can stand in the middle of your room and touch the walls on all four sides, then you probably need to add some visual space to your room (either that or see a surgeon about those gorilla arms of yours!). If the neighbor next door has a closet bigger than your room (and it's not a walk-in closet!), then you need a little help "growing" your small room!

Here are some miracle visual tricks to make your room appear larger:

1. Use light values when painting your room. That does not mean    you are doomed to white walls! (padded or not!) Try a pretty    celadon or chamois (light green or cream beige, for those    non-lyrical decorators out there!)

2. Place the large pieces of furniture against the walls so the    open space in the middle isn't broken up. (I know what you    are thinking! "Pamela," you think. "The large piece of    furniture against the wall completely COVERS the middle of    the room. WHAT open space?"  In that case, might I suggest    wall demolition? Moving?)

3. Choose a sofa and chairs with open arms and exposed legs.    This allows light to filter under the furniture, making the    room appear airier. (But you can no longer hide dust bunnies!)

4. Consider smaller scale furniture. A sofa or bed that takes up    less area will help visually open the room. (Probably not a    good idea to put a king-sized bed in that closet!)

5. Use vertical space for storage. Add a hutch or    floor-to-ceiling bookcases as a storage solution to reduce    the amount of floor space taken. (But I would discourage    hanging books and bric-a-brac from the ceiling - you never    know what will land on your head in the middle of the night!)

6. A large mirror in the room will reflect light around the     room. This is especially effective with near a window so the    outdoors can be reflected. (Just my own personal taste, but    I think mirrors on the ceiling and all the walls might be    just a bit tacky - unless they are helpful for your ... ummm    ... business!)

7. Arrange furniture at an angle if possible. This gives visual    interest to the small space. (I can hear you thinking again!    See item one above!)

With a few visual tricks and some rearranging of furniture, you can make any room appear bigger than its actual size. But let's be realistic here! If you want to move that four-poster bedroom suite into that closet - well, forget it! Unless your cousin Vinnie is in the home remodeling business! In which case, you may need more than just a miracle! Might I suggest liability insurance?

Pamela Cole Harris is an editor, writer and eco-decorator with over 35 years experience. Her website, is full of her unique decorating ideas and "how-to"s. Her new book, "100+ Wildly Imaginative Ideas for Creating Your Own Coffee Table - a Handbook for the Creatively Deficient Decorator " is available through her website or at


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