Lets be honest, we all want bigger rooms.  It is rare you hear someone say, “oh I wish my living room was smaller…”.  The obvious solution would be to start knocking partition walls down but you can also create the illusion of space with some clever interior design if you are on a modest budget.  There is a lot of advice on the web about this subject and although a lot of it is good, most seems quite in depth and very ‘interior designy’.  I have a tried and tested scheme which I tend to use when a customer asks me do go into a room and do something different, neutral and airy all at the same time.  Ill break down a concise list to get you started which you can always decide to add to or move on from at a later date once you have the basics sorted.

Usually the idea with creating space is to use light and airy colour schemes.  This may seem boring but bear with me…  As much as you may not like creams and browns these schemes tend to work most effectively when trying to create space in a small room, however, you can make subtle changes to this method and still achieve the effect.  Also, I tend to use Farrow colours a lot so I will be using them throughout this article (links provided)

Lets start from the top: The ceiling.

Brilliant white is nice but it can overpower the room and wash out the wall colour (especially if you have lots of natural light).  Go for an off white instead, Farrow & Ball’s ‘Strong White’ is a good option.  At first it may seem like plain old white but its actually a little grey’er and will compliment any neutral colour used on the walls.

Speaking of walls lets go for something in the yellow hue shall we?

Yes, yellow.  Any pastel lemons or any kind of cream or off white will be fine. Why not use ‘Hound Lemon’, ‘Pale Hound’ or ‘Slipper Satin’. Trust me it will look fine.  Why?  Because we aren’t going to go with white gloss on the woodwork like everyone tends to do.

Darker woodwork

…against seemingly light walls will give us that ‘decorated’ look and feel we are after and will also create a good tonal contrast between all the elements of the room whilst still creating light and space.  You can either burn off existing painted woodwork and stain to a nice dark oak or ash, or you could just use an opaque colour like ‘Downpipe’, ‘Pitch Black’ or ‘Tanners Brown’.  Using Eggshell rather than a gloss finish will help to blend the dark colour with the matt walls.

Use your furniture to splash some complimentary colour around if you like (as furniture can be changed around without needing to re-decorate) and don’t forget to throw up a nice mirror or two for good measure.  Mirrors are our friends when it comes to this technique, try holding one or two up against different walls (both during the day with natural light and at night with the room lights on) until you are happy. Remember to check that any light isn’t bouncing onto the TV screen creating glare or into your eyes when sat on the couch for that matter. The central ceiling light tends to do this most so pay extra attention to that one.

Voilla!  Feel free to change the colours around a bit but as long as you stick to an off white ceiling, neutral walls and darker woodwork you can achieve a nice decorated effect whilst still maintaining a light and airy feel.

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