6 Integrate Your Outdoor Spaces.
Outdoor areas are less expensive to build than rooms inside your home; yet, if properly planned, they can serve as extensions of indoor spaces, giving you more bang for your buck. To integrate the outdoor spaces with the rest of your home, treat them as living spaces without exterior walls. Include several points of entry between indoors and choose materials, furniture, colors and lighting that complement the interior spaces and give each its own character.
7 Create Transparency.
When you can see from one end of your home to the other, it creates visual interest and makes your home seem larger than it actually is. In design terms, you organize your floorplan so that it has a linear view or "axis," which can dramatically increase the feeling of space without adding extra square footage. This is called "creating transparency."
The sense of transparency begins with your home's entryway. Design your entry so you can see beyond it, rather than breaking your line of sight with a wall. If you'd like to have some sense of separation between your entry and your main living area, you can incorporate half walls or interior portals and openings. For the ultimate in transparency, extend your line of sight toward an outdoor living space and a picturesque view.
8 Vary Ceiling Height.
Varying or raising your home's ceiling height will increase the perceived space by increasing visual interest. Simply raising the ceiling height by 1 foot can give a very different atmosphere to a room. In open spaces, such as central living areas, you can raise the ceiling even higher. Consider using some of this vaulted space for display shelving or lighting.
9 Vary Scale.
If every element in your home's design is of a similar scale, the space can become monotonous to the eye and can seem to shrink visually. Juxtaposing some different scale elements such as a low ceiling in your entry and a soaring cathedral ceiling in your great room, can make the space far more interesting and more expansive. However, this concept must be used with caution and subtlety. For example, using a huge amount of windows inappropriately may take the room out of balance and create the opposite of the desired effect —- it could make your room look smaller rather than larger.
The same theory holds true when furnishing your home. By placing small details against larger elements, you will add visual interest and evoke a perceived increase in space. When working with furnishing, contrasting sizes can help avoid the monotony that sometimes affects small homes. Several prominent pieces make a room seem more spacious; clusters of small items create clutter and discord.
10 Make the Most of Decor.
Once you have a plan that incorporates the above principles, finish your rooms in ways that maximize the perceived space. Adding accents, such as lighting and trim details, will make your home feel more alive. As your eye follows continuous design elements, such as flooring, columns, wall panels or built-ins, every space appears larger.
Subtle details will animate your space too. A room without depth or shadow feels lifeless and smaller than it actually is. Add some color and that feeling changes. For example, light colors tend to expand a space, whereas dark colors can provide depth and contrast. To achieve the greatest result choose a variety of natural, complementary textures for your flooring and walls, as well as your furniture and window coverings.
With trim, colors and textures as a backdrop, thoughtful lighting strategies complete the picture. Accent lighting creates a contrast of light and shadow orienting your eye to specific areas while creating movement. Natural light can play an important role in defining and highlighting spaces and framing views. It can create visual interest and increased expansiveness.
A smaller home with quality space planning features and detailing can be a warmer, more intimate home at considerably less cost. Using simple techniques to increase space, both real and perceived, can maximize space and create a warm and cozy home for you and your family.
Article originally published by Log Home Living.
Written by Murray Arnott