How to Make Your Space Feel More Open

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Getting a space, no matter how big or small, to feel like a beautiful open, light-filled area can be challenging.  It takes a little bit of planning and maybe even a little bit of sacrifice, but every room can be transformed from a cramped, claustrophobic cave into an open, sophisticated space.  

Fortunately, the key to making your space feel more open and inviting is easier than you might think.  It’s all about light, scale and movement. These three things work to trick the eye into perceiving more space.  Here are some tips and tricks to achieve the desired look:

  • Scale It Down – Choosing the right furniture to make a space feel more open is all about proportions.  You want to go by the basic rule that if a piece brushes up against the boundaries of the room, either up and down or sideways, it’s too large.  Always leave a little air in between the sides of your furniture (except for beds) and the walls to make a room feel more spacious. You should also avoid larger, heavy pieces that take up too much valuable space.  
  • Keep the Profile Low – Furniture that sits lower to the ground helps to create a feeling of openness because it makes for more open, airy space.  Midcentury and 19th– century furniture sit low and can help create this illusion.
  • Incorporate Leggy Furniture – Showing a little leg with furniture helps to create the illusion of more space, as it streamlines the light and allows air to flow seamlessly through a room.  
  • Use Mirrors – Every space should include the use of mirrors to create a greater sense of openness.  They help to reflect light as well as the view, again, tricking the eye into perceiving more space.
  • Take Down the Drapes – The key to creating bright, open spaces is to trick the eye.  Curtains, while lovely, actually stop the eye from drawing in the outside view.  Plus, drapes also tend to create a cluttered feeling as they simply crowd the room with one more unnecessary thing.  By taking them away, you keep the lines of a given space clean and simple. To maintain your same sense of privacy, we suggest you opt for shutters or lightweight cloth blinds.  
  • Paint it White – White has wonderfully reflective qualities that open up a room for a nice, calm vibe.  It makes a space feel airy and light. To really enhance this feeling, paint the walls and ceilings the same shade of white.  This way, the boundaries between wall and ceiling are blurred, so the eye travels up to perceive a much higher ceiling. White also simplifies a space, making it look uncluttered, and really helps to emphasize the architecture.  If an all-white space feels a bit too much for you, though, the great thing is that with a neutral palette such as this, you can dress it with warm, bright or textured elements to still give it color and personality.
  • Emphasize Vertical Features – Use elements to emphasize the vertical space of a room to increase that sense of openness.  You can achieve this through the use of tall shelves, bare hanging light features, vertical art pieces, etc.  The point is to enhance the feeling of flow and movement.
  • Opt for Breezy Fabrics – Instead of using heavy materials and fabrics that absorb light and weigh a space down, choose simple, light-weight fabrics, like linen, to provide an airy feel.  

Above all else, keep it simple.  Opening up a space is all about editing.  The more pieces and patterns you have in a room, the more cluttered it will feel.  So, minimize those knickknacks, avoid busy patterns, and arrange décor in a more streamlined manner.  Achieving the look and feel of a more open and light space is about letting go and letting the natural eye line and flow fall into place.  You must be strict with yourself and intentional about where everything goes in a room.

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