26 Nov Inside Design – Enhancing Space
Everyone loves a beautiful room of course, but there is something that designers are often asked to achieve that goes beyond making a room look lovely. One of the more common ‘briefs’ from a client is to maximise space in a room, and there are clever design tactics to do just that – and do it in both the conceptual sense, by making a room look or feel bigger, and in the literal sense, by creating more usable space in a room.
Mirrors can be beautiful as well as functional
Mirrors are one of the most effective ways to give a room a heightened sense of space. This is especially true of large mirrors placed to reflect light or a view; they can give an impression of greater floor space. In some circumstances, mirrored panels are ideal for this purpose, and when they are made from mirrors with a textural look, say burnished or aged, they can perform double duty by also adding an element of interest to the room. For framed mirrors, you can choose a neutral frame to blend in more with the surrounds, or you can bring in another aesthetic aspect by choosing, say, a beautiful antique frame.
Mirrors can give an impression of greater space
In your average interior design project, the placement of windows is not typically modifiable (sadly!), but there are times when a designer gets to work at the build stage, and so can influence the placement of windows to maximise their impact on the interior of a room. Windows bring in light and air, which absolutely enhances a sense of space in a room – you would probably agree that a large, but dark room can feel smaller than a smaller room flooded in natural light.
Remember though, that a room with large, or multiple windows can make furniture placement difficult, so make sure you keep some wall space free for furniture. Otherwise, keeping furniture away from the windows often means you have to bring it in towards the centre of the room, which makes the room feel smaller – putting us right back at square one. Also, in that situation, there will be less usable space in the room, worsening the effect.
Light flooding in from generous windows and the use of a reduced colour palette can make a room feel more ample than it is.
It is not only furniture placement that can affect the size and usability of a room, but also the number, size and scale of the pieces themselves. That old saying holds true here – when it comes to furniture, less is more! And when you want to maximise space around furniture, bigger is better! Larger scaled furniture can add to – rather than detract from – a sense of space. Bespoke and built-in cabinetry can also help to this end, by homogenising the space, making it seem larger and also providing storage, making the space more usable.
Built in furniture makes the most of limited floor space
Colour & Pattern
There are simple rules about using colour and pattern to enlarge a space – light colours on the wall will make the space appear larger, while dark colours make a space seem cosier and the ceiling lower.
Carefully chosen textures and patterns can work, but choose larger format patterns or similar colours and tones to minimise visual distractions that can make a room feel cluttered and small.
In choosing both colour and pattern, a reduced palette will help enlarge the appearance of a room.
Using a neutral palette makes walls seem to fall away, which makes a room appear larger
As we mentioned earlier, lighting (or lack of it) can transform a room. Carefully applied lighting not only allows function, but also enhances space. You need to find a balance between natural and artificial light for the best effect, and skylights and recessed ceiling lighting can help with this without any intrusive detail. Then, you are free to use more detailed fittings to provide a decorative element or function as task lighting.
Of course, a sense a space is completely enhanced by removing clutter and replacing it with order and harmony – but don’t go too far. We want space, but we don’t want a cold, sterile space; we want a room that welcomes us.