Whether you're ready to do a little remodeling or just want to help visually clear out a room, there are small design techniques that will help you reclaim your living space.


No matter how generous your home's square footage, chances are, at some point it will seem like the walls are closing in on you. You don't have to take this downsized version of your life lying down. Whether you're ready to do a little remodeling or just want to help visually clear out a room, here are some tips to help you reclaim your living space.

  • Just like pinstripe pants make your legs seem longer, a striped floor will make a room appear to go on for miles. Use an oversize mirror to enhance the effect.

  • See-through furniture, either glass-topped tables or pieces molded from Lucite or acrylic will also fool the eyes.

  • Pieces that match your wall color within a shade or two take up less visual space.

  • The lighter the walls, the better as they reflect and multiply light, while dark colors absorb it.

  • Dual-use furniture creates more room by increasing the function of each space.

  • Create a furniture arrangement that's different. You don't have to have a sofa and love seat in your living room just because everyone else does, try four comfortable armchairs.

  • In the bedroom, if your bed works best when it's covering part of a window, so be it.

  • Light-colored countertops in kitchens and bathrooms make surfaces seem more spacious. Even if you're not ready to revamp a whole room, you can redo your countertops over a weekend.

  • Of course you'll need more surfaces when you're hosting a get-together but you needn't clutter your everyday space with unneeded tables. Use small, foldaway pieces to convert a room for a party.

  • Don't rely on overhead fixtures, which pool light in one spot. Try to have several lighting elements in every room.

  • If you're going to splurge, custom built-ins are the way to go. Lofty rooms reach their full potential with one-of-a-kind shelving units that reach from floor to ceiling. Custom storage also helps you maximize out-of-the-way nooks, like the area under a flight of stairs.

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