We all know Vancouver is a mecca of apartment and condos. While many are size challenged, a small space doesn’t have to feel small. In fact, you can gain extra square footage by following these clever tips to make your home look and feel larger without moving walls. So whether you’re renting or owning, there’s something here you can adapt to your abode with great reward. Are you looking to buy in Vancouver? Don’t be put off by the size. Just re-think the space for its potential by considering these helpful ideas.
Clear the clutter
Always first is decluttering! Your space will instantly become roomier and you’ll have less to clean. Ask yourself what is necessary, what is not and is there a better place, sight unseen, for this item to live. Another good rule of thumb? If you haven’t used it in a year or you wouldn’t buy it now, move it on out. Also keep the floor visible as much as possible! A sense of order means your mind can be at ease.
Ceiling treatment for tall results
Anything that draws the eye upwards makes a room feel bigger so paint or wallpaper the ceiling to achieve this. But keep in mind…
Use light colors on the walls and the floor
Coziness may come from dark colours but they also absorb light instead of reflecting it, making a space feel smaller. Choose lighter coloured flooring AND wall colors to make the room feel airy. But if your floor is dark, paint your ceiling a light shade as it will give the illusion of space and draw your eye upwards. The rule should be dark to light from low to high. With Vancouver’s winter greys, you’ll be glad you kept things light.
Corners of the room are eye-friendly
Tallest and largest furniture (i.e. standing lights and bookcases) should be placed in the corners of your room so your eye is drawn into them. Also hang paintings near to the corners to draw the eye to the widest points of a space. You can also save space with wall-mounted lamps and floating bookshelves. A single bookshelf near the ceiling could also draw the eye upward.
Invest in hidden storage and multi-purpose items
You want to keep as much floor and wall space on view as possible so choose multi-use furniture such as an ottoman that doubles as storage space, seating and a table. Furniture that can be folded, wheeled away or stacked is also smart.
Pull furniture away from the wall
Avoid that feeling of being cramped and pull your bigger items, sofa/couch in particular, away from the wall by a few inches. It will open it up with some breathing room and add shadows which give the illusion of more space. This may also help you think about how to create a space for conversation.
Choose statement pieces and avoid lots of small objects
One large couch instead of multiple pieces decreases clutter and expands space. To that end, pieces with legs help. Too many small decorative accents crowd a room. Choose fewer and larger items to keep the balance of space and open it up.
Color code to create structure
Whether it’s with size or color or type, anything that makes a group of smaller items look intentionally arranged will make it feel more streamlined. This works for anything that is visible in your home like books, shoes, collections, objects, etc.
Natural light & curtain call
We all know we need help getting light in our rainy Vancouver winters. Keep your curtains open! More light gives a space depth. Choose the same colour for your curtains as the walls so that they flow rather than are broken up by a different colour. Mount the curtains near to the ceiling and have extra-long drapes as that will make the ceiling look higher, and the space appear bigger.
Use different shades of the same colour
When it comes to your furniture, rug, wall, soft furnishings, fittings, ornaments and curtains – pick different shades, tints and tones of a single hue. They’re easier on the eyes. Contrasting colours and bold patterns interrupt flow. Visual coherence make a space feel open.
Strategically place mirrors
Place a mirror across from a window to reflect light and give the appearance of another window. If on a budget, try grouping smaller mirrors together on a wall and paint the frames in the same colour to create uniformity. It’s a great illusion! If you prefer something more stylish, go for an impressive, oversized, framed mirror you can lean against the wall.
Other space-y tips
Buy glass or lucite items. They don’t take up too much visual space and objects seen through them seem further away. Choose large and bold art pieces rather than a gallery wall. Use a clear shower curtain in a tiny bathroom for added depth. Try a striped rug in the longest part of a space to elongate it. Or use multiple rugs to separate one room into smaller spaces.
Living in a smaller Vancouver property doesn’t have to be a curse. It doesn’t need to keep you out of the Vancouver housing market either! It just asks you to be more thoughtful with what you do with a space. Simplicity is certainly something we all need in this day and age and achieving it is meaningful project that needn’t break your bank…nor deter your decision in what you need to buy.
May you find your space zen!