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10 Ideas To Make Your Small Space Seem Much Larger

07/21/2015 12:54 EDT | Updated 07/21/2015 12:59 EDT

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In a compact living room, there are various ways to create the feeling of more space. Furniture configuration is No. 1, but color palette, furnishings and other elements can really lift the impact in a tiny social zone. But how much furniture and knickknacks to put in your space? And what should you leave out to make the room appear bigger? These ideas will help you rethink your living room, so it can become a space you truly want to spend your time living in.

Try multipurpose coffee tables and ottomans. While it’s essential to squeeze in adequate seating, don’t overdo it — adding too many sofas or large ottomans can make a space feel smaller.

This room, designed by Arent & Pyke, introduces compact coffee tables that work double time. They’re handy, decorative and easily rearranged, while the upholstered ottoman can be used as a footrest, coffee table or extra seating. For greater impact, introduce a standing light, like this Artemide Tolomeo Mega floor lamp, in the least-used corner.

Create unity. It’s worth having a few furniture pieces in the same colour palette as the walls. Even large items, such as matching armchairs, will then blend into the room, visually enlarging the space.

Work around the layout. When walls, windows and doors come into play, it’s tricky to demarcate an open-plan living and dining zone. A simple strategy is to add a standing light against the wall between the two areas, as well as a rug that lines up with the sofa.

Add a chaise longue or floating cabinetry. An L-shaped sofa not only provides extra seating, it separates the living and dining spaces. A wall-mounted console can help avoid clutter with its floating effect. It can make the thoroughfare seem wider, and cleaning underneath is a breeze.

Position for function. In a long, narrow space, there are several options to consider when configuring the furniture. Here, the midcentury modern-inspired sofa has been placed against a wall to create a natural pathway. Another nifty idea: Use a coffee table with a glass top, which helps give the appearance of an open and free space.

Hang a mirror. In close quarters, a large mirror creates the illusion of space. Not only does it draw the eye up, it bounces light around the room, making any space appear larger and brighter. Pay attention to the framing and look for options that complement other colours and textures in the room. Try to match the length of the mirror to the size of other furniture to create a beautiful symmetry.

Keep it neutral. The floor-to-ceiling bookcases convert this living room into a cozy library space. The book spines and artwork introduce a riot of colour, so the furniture fabrics have been kept neutral and understated. A collection of colourful cushions adds extra flair.

While it may be tempting to place two sofas facing each other, that can be overwhelming. Here the single Eames Lounge chair prevents the room from feeling claustrophobic.

Build in the furniture. This built-in sofa, inspired by midcentury modern design, ensures that no space is wasted. The cabinetry provides storage, ending with a wall-mounted shelf. The built-in unit appears to be suspended in air — a clever device that makes the room seem larger. Meanwhile, the green-upholstered Tank chair adds a colour contrast for extra impact.

Utilize every corner. The space under a staircase is often wasted, but an option like a custom console is a wonderful solution.

Show off your treasures. Why hide away your most loved items? Open shelving can help you show off your objects and books. Keep the items well edited, and try to adhere to a design theme.

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