6 Ways to Make a Small Space Look Larger

By Barbara Pronin, RISMedia Columnist

When a New York family decided to rent out one floor of its two story brownstone, it left them with just 1,200 square feet of living space to be remodeled for their own use.

“It was a daunting project,” said Keith Pandolfi in This Old House magazine.“But they followed some tried-and-true formulas for making small areas look more spacious, and the result was both comfortable and pleasing.”

Pandolfi offers six solutions for opening up small spaces:

• Use paint and flooring wisely – Choose light colors, paint crown moldings white to match the ceilings, and install wood or tile floors in a diagonal pattern to give the impression of more space.
• Try mirrors – One large mirror is a good idea, but two mirrors facing each other create the illusion of more space and light.
• Install a bay window – Bumping out a bay window adds usable square footage and captures more natural light.
• Think vertical cabinetry –Take advantage of high ceilings by installing double cabinets, one above the other, for more storage in a small kitchen. Yes, you will need to use a step stool to access them, but the gain in space may be worth it.
• Build in bookcases – Use “lost” space, such as the foot or so of depth between the fireplace and the living room wall, to build in bookcases to hold knick-knacks and electronic devices as well as books.
• Use double-duty appliances – LGE makes a small microwave and coffeemaker combo that will cook oatmeal and make coffee at the same time in a 23- by 17-inch space. Make best use of limited counter space with appliances like this or a compact washer/dryer combo that can fit under a countertop or into a small closet.

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