Visual Space Effects

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I’ve had a lot of questions lately about using visual effects to change the appearance of a room, such as making a tall room look wider or a short room look taller. I’ve responded to a number of those privately, but thought I’d do better to finally have that information see the light of day, if for no other reason than to free up a little more creative time.

Let’s start by making rooms appear taller. Here are a few of my favorite:

Use stripes, either strongly or weakly contrasting, to draw the eye up and make a room appear taller. Actually, pretty much anything that draws the eye up makes your room feel taller, even if it’s just a high shelf with collectibles near the ceiling, an interesting border or similar attention-grabber.

Stick to using a lighter paint or wallpaper on the ceiling, making it recede.

Use flush lighting to increase the appearance of height. Hang your drapes closer to the ceiling instead of just at the top of your window (you can use this trick to make your windows look larger, too). Decorate vertically instead of horizontally.

. . . pretty much anything that draws the eye up makes your room feel taller, even if it’s just a high shelf with collectibles near the ceiling, an interesting border or similar attention-grabber.

Make small spaces big

There are also a lot of options available for making smaller spaces look larger. Don’t feel that you need to stick with painting everything white to expand the space, but you will want to stick to lighter colors. If you do go bold with your color scheme, make sure you use clear tones that help expand the space, rather than muted tones that will make it seem closed in.

Use functional furniture with storage spaces to help reduce clutter.

When it comes to small spaces, you’ll want to incorporate medium-sized accent pieces to keep the space from feeling small when large accents are used or cluttered when using a lot of tiny items. You want accents that use similar colors to draw the eye across the space instead of stopping its motion.

Add a diagonal element to help draw the eye upward.

Take a good look at how the vertical elements in this room’s design help draw the eye upward, making it appear taller. Whether it’s a bold pattern, stripes or tall design elements, drawing the eye up makes a room look larger.

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