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I’m an interior designer and these are the 5 mistakes you’re making which make your home look small


Many of us know all too well that houses in the UK are 27 per cent smaller than they were 50 years ago.

Given the current economic climate coupled with a reduction in the number of available rental properties, people across the country are staying longer in small flats.

But while it may not be possible to get bigger, the truth is that we don’t have to settle for a cramped environment either.

According to interior designer Anne Haimesare we missing a trick by making classic mistakes that make our houses look smaller than they actually are.

In a conversation with FEMAIL, Anne explains the five pitfalls we fall for time and time again, and outlines simple tricks that immediately create more space.

According to interior designer Anne Haimes, we’re missing a trick by making classic mistakes that make our homes look smaller than they actually are (stock image)

1. Choose oversized furniture

Considering the scale and dimensions of your room, as well as the items you place in it, is one of the most important factors in designing a room to appear larger.

“For example, a huge sofa in a small room is not only impractical to move around, but will inevitably make your room appear smaller. A good rule of thumb when choosing a sofa is to go no larger than two-thirds of your wall length.

“The same goes for choosing artwork or even choosing a TV. It can be tempting to think the bigger the better, but choosing furniture and decor should not only suit your style, but also be proportionate to the scale of the room. This gives your house more cohesion and ultimately makes it appear more spacious.’

2. Choosing the wrong color scheme

While great for creating a moody, cozy aesthetic, darker color schemes will likely make your room appear smaller.

This is because pale tones reflect natural light, making a room feel airier and more spacious. This is the main reason why homeowners are advised to paint interiors white when selling a home.

“The only caveat here is if you’re painting an already small room that doesn’t have a natural light source, such as a wardrobe.

In cramped, dimly lit spaces, dark colors recede to give the illusion of more space, while light shades appear closer. In these cases, painting a dark color can actually add depth to small spaces and have the opposite effect of perceived distance.’

3. Badly chosen window coverings

‘You also need to think about the material and style of your curtains.

“A heavier fabric with lavish details can promote a down-draft feel if your space isn’t big enough for heavy window coverings.”

Instead, opt for a combined back design and lighter fabrics that let some light through.

How you choose to hang your curtains can also affect the perceived size of your room.

“If you hang curtains too low to the floor, your room will feel smaller and closed in.

“You also want to avoid curtains dragging on the floor, as that draws attention downwards.

“Instead, you should hang curtains so that they run across the floor and come as close to the ceiling as possible. This creates the optical illusion of higher ceilings and a more airy space.’

4. Messy and cramped maximalism

‘Maximist interior design may be all the rage, but too much decor can quickly make a room feel claustrophobic.

“The trick to perfecting maximalism is to balance it with some open and uncluttered areas. This prevents a chaotic schedule and is more aesthetically pleasing to look at.

“Instead of cluttering your space, take a more mindful approach and plan your interior around a few curated pieces.

“Form a color scheme around these decor pieces and balance the scale of smaller and larger items for a harmonious look.”

5. Neglecting lighting

“Lighting is perhaps the most important consideration in interior design, especially when it comes to making a room appear larger or smaller.

“If you have a north-facing room that doesn’t get a lot of natural light, there are some tricks you can easily employ to create the illusion of a larger, brighter room. For example, strategically placing mirrors in your room will reflect light, making your space appear brighter.

‘You can also create depth with layered lighting by lighting your space with different light sources, such as lamps, Christmas lights and strip LEDs.

“Be sure to avoid harsh, overhead lighting that will make your home appear flat and smaller.”

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