While many homes these days have the popular open floor plan design, older homes may have more of a traditional footprint which in turn can lead to smaller more compact spaces. It may be a bedroom, office, bathroom or even a common living area. Fortunately, you can trick the eye into thinking the space is much larger with a few designer tricks. Here’s how…

The mirror image: This is a timeless trick that designers love. A large mirror, placed in the right spot reflects light throughout the room, making it appear larger and more open. You can also use architectural style mirrors to create the illusion of an extra window giving the space more depth.

Here, the large mirror helps reflect both natural light and light from the sconce while the open-leg chair helps keep the space from feeling too tight.

Lighting is key: Fill the room with many types of lighting, lamps, candles, sconces, overhead fixtures, or add recess. Light makes everything seem larger and more inviting. Don’t be afraid of large scale lamps and fixtures. Many times clients are intimidated by height and use fixtures that are too small and get lost.

This may be a smaller kitchen but with the recessed lighting, pendants over the island, and lighting under the cabinets, the space appears larger and less cramped.

Less is more: When designing a small area, remove clutter, use less art and accents but on a larger scale. Free up as much floor space as possible and use open base furniture pieces. Open-base furniture creates the illusion of more space. However, too many table legs and chair legs can make a room look nervous so it’s important to find a good balance that fits the space.

The crown molding and the contrasting ceiling color draw the eye upwards while the lighting brightens the small space even more.

The palette: select lighter colors for the walls and don’t forget the fifth wall (the ceiling). By painting the ceiling in a contrasting color and framing it with crown molding, it brings the eyes upward making the space feel taller and more open.