To make low ceilings feel taller, draw the eye upwards.
If you deal with the problem of low ceilings in your home, one of the first things to do is to visually elongate the wall, according to Susann Goerg, interior designer and founder of happyhomes design.
She said that an easy way to achieve this is by drawing the eye up and off the ground.
Keep your furniture low to the ground so the ceiling will appear further away when you are lounging on your sofa. You may want to consider pieces without legs, she explained.
“Tall plants, light fixtures, and vertically placed art also draw the eye up and help to create a feeling of height,” Goerg told Business Insider.
Make a small space feel larger by relying on neutral colors and textures.
A technique to enlarge a small room is to use a monochromatic palette consisting of neutral colors and textures for the overall environment, according to Maureen McClaine, interior designer at Stantec.
“Save the more fun or exciting colors, patterns, and textures for that sofa, art piece, or accent wall that you want to be your showstopper,” McClaine said.
Hide worn-out flooring with beautiful rugs or carpet tiles.
If you don’t have the opportunity to replace or refinish an unsightly flooring with stains or paints, one of the easiest strategies is to cover it up, Goerg told BI.
“Since it’s one of the most sizable surfaces in a space, a large-scale rug or even carpet tiles can create a completely new impression and the possibility to bring your floor up to your own design aesthetics,” she said.
Highlight exposed pipework and columns by giving them a modern industrial look.
Instead of hiding the exposed pipes and columns in your home, you can choose to make them a focal point.
“For pipes, you can wrap them in raw or dyed rope or use paint similar to the adjacent wall color to have them blend or metallic paint to enhance an industrial look,” Goerg told BI.
If that’s not your style, applying mirror material to a column’s exterior will have it virtually disappear, Goerg suggested.
A lack of natural light can be remedied by incorporating decorative mirrors into your space.
If your home lacks the preferred amount of natural daylight, there are a few tricks to amplify it. The first tip is to add a decorative mirror on an adjacent wall.
“This will bounce the light coming into your space around the room and increase the areas touched by the natural daylight,” McClaine told BI.
If you’re still hoping to brighten a dark space, paint your walls and ceilings in a true, bright-white paint, according to Courtney Robinson, interior designer and owner of Materials + Methods Design.
“It not only reflects light, but when it’s pure, it really expands the look of your space,” Robinson added. “When ceilings and walls are the same color and tone, it gives the appearance of a larger space as well.”
If you struggle to fill your empty walls, look for tasteful and meaningful pieces that speak to you.
Goerg said a lot of people struggle to figure out how to properly fill up their empty walls.
“When adding interest to your walls, consider context and meaning and look for opportunities to find something that speaks to you and your space,” Goerg said.
From tasteful tapestries, woven wall hangings, and rugs to sculptural pieces such as baskets, ceramics, weathered wood, branch-like, and antique objects — all can add the desired texture, depth, and dimensions.
Replace vents and electric panels with decorative vent grates that match your interior design.
The built-in blemish of most homes — vents and electric panels — are often an afterthought and come with builder-grade covers.
One of the best things you can do is replace them with decorative or seamless vent grates/grilles that harmonize with your home design.
“You can even find custom floor vent covers that flawlessly integrate with your wood flooring,” Goerg said.
If switching the covers isn’t sufficient for your situation, and if the placement makes sense visually, you can hang a mirror or a piece of art with a wire at an angle so that it tilts and allows for airflow and easy access.
Increase kitchen cabinet space by putting groceries into matching storage jars.
If you are lacking storage space in your kitchen, it’s probably time to reorganize.
Start by emptying out all of your cabinets and sorting through what you need versus what you don’t, Robinson suggested.
Then take all of your groceries out of the original packaging and store them in matching storage jars. By doing so, Robinson told BI, you create a clean and crisp environment that appears to have tripled in size.
Use your many large coffee table books as an end table.
If you’re unsure about what to do with all of your oversize coffee-table books, one solution is to use them as a makeshift end table, said Kim Turner, principal and designer at Kim Turner Design and advancement director at Dwell with Dignity.
“I have way too many interior design-related coffee table books without space for a nice large coffee table,” Turner told BI. “Stack them beside a comfortable chair at end table height. Be sure and put a coaster on top for a drink so you don’t harm the book.”
Buy a cheap frameless frame if you don’t have the time and money to do it the right way.
If you’re not in a place where you can invest money toward proper framing for an artwork or such, an inexpensive and temporary solution is to buy a frameless frame.
This is the floating kind with glass that attaches to a heavy cardboard back with metal clips.
“Make it look stylish and purposeful by buying the frame the next size up from what you’re framing,” Turner told BI. “Use decorative wrapping paper, handmade paper from Paper Source, or newspaper behind what’s being framed for a ready-made mat.”
Divide a large, awkward space into several zones to make the most use of the space.
If you’re unsure about how to make use of a large space, consider breaking it up into sections.
“Rather than trying to make a large, open, irregular-shaped space serve one purpose, break up the space into zones,” McClaine told BI.
Once you allow your thoughts to move past a singular use, you will begin to see an opportunity for that small reading nook, wine bar, or writing desk.
Don’t be afraid to push the furniture off the walls — you can then anchor the pieces with a table, art piece, or area rug.
Update your kitchen cabinetry by replacing just a few pieces such as the handles and doors.
If you are looking to upgrade your kitchen cabinetry but don’t have the budget for a total renovation, consider replacing just some pieces: the doors, countertops, backsplash, and cabinet handles.
“By maintaining the core structure of the kitchen, you also save yourself the headache of a lengthy construction timeline,” Robinson told BI.
Corral your wires, remotes, and office supplies in beautiful boxes.
From wood and stone to metal and mirror, there are so many beautiful boxes available these days, and they make great storage solutions.
Use boxes for everything that needs to be corralled such as your office supplies, electrical cords, remote controls, and anything else lying around the house, Turner told BI.
This story was originally published on June 15, 2021, and most recently updated on January 30, 2024.