Mirrors aren't just for checking your hairdo. Hanging one ranks among the best methods to make a small space feel considerably larger. For maximum effect, position the mirror opposite a bright window to bounce light back into the room, so it seems bright and airy (though it may not, in fact, be either). Another approach is to cluster a group of framed mirrors: You get the same result but with visual interest, to boot.
Scale It Back
One of the most common mistakes in decorating is to fill a room with furniture that's too large for the space in question. Opt instead for smaller-scale pieces, ideally ones that can serve multiple purposes. Before making any purchases, use masking tap to mark out the footprint of the furniture you're considering. It's one thing to read the dimensions on paper; it's another thing to see how much space would actually be occupied.
Up, Up, and Away
The prevailing wisdom is never to use a dark color in a small room. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, that's still good advice. A safe play is to go neutral with light paint colors and furniture. Remember, neutral doesn't have to be boring—play with different textures and pops of accent color.
Leave Room for Rugs
Never underestimate the power of optical illusion. A well-placed floor rug, for example, creates a room-within-a-room effect. Where possible—such as under a dining room table—lay down a rug so as to emphasize that borders the floorcovering. Don't ask me why, but somehow that really works to make the room appear more spacious.
Let Stripes Be the Star
Knickknacks quickly crowd a room. Clear out the clutter, selecting only a few statement pieces to add interest and draw the eye. Also, trade bulky curtains for window treatments that are more streamlined. Indeed, mere inches count toward executing the illusion, and exposing more of the wall can help you achieve the desired result.
Choose furniture with glass components: You get the functionality needed without contributing to the visual heft of the room. For instance, forgo a heavy wood coffee table in favor of a glass-topped piece.
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