31st Jul 2020
You’re probably spending a lot more time in your home right now and feeling pretty cramped, but these buys can help make it feel a bit more spacious
There’s nothing like a national lockdown to really make you realise that your home is, well, just too small. My apartment in Dublin, for example, which I share with three other people, comes to mind. While we convinced ourselves it was ‘actually quite spacious’ when we signed the lease, it doesn’t in any way stand up to this claim when we’re all there, all of the time.
There’s not much we can do at the moment (if you’re not counting scrolling through pictures of beautiful, airy homes on Instagram as a solution), but there are some small ways that you can make a room feel just a little less cramped.
Introducing light, being clever about storage, and a few good old-fashioned tricks of the eye can all add up to a more pleasant home. Here are seven things you can buy for under €100 to help things feel a little more spacious.
A table with hidden storage
When space is at a premium, clutter is not your friend. It will make a small room feel even smaller, as well as disordered. However, you still have little things you want to keep to hand, just perhaps not in plain sight.
This side table has a clever storage compartment inside that will allow you to find a place for these items that’s concealed, helping to remove some unnecessary clutter.
Tapa side table, €69, WooDesign.
A large piece of art
It may sound counter-intuitive, but putting a large piece of art on a wall creates the illusion of space. Where lots of smaller prints can break up a wall and make it feel busy, one large piece is simple and cohesive.
The exact size you should buy really depends on the dimensions and layout of your room, but don’t be afraid to go big here, a single print with lots of space around it will just look lost. Framed chrysanthemums art print 60 x 80cm, €95, Fy!.
Let light through
Having objects with exposed legs creates a sense of openness and allows more light to flow around the space. While you’re not going to get a new sofa with exposed legs for under €100, it applies to smaller pieces, too.
Rather than lots of pots sitting on the ground, a pot stand such as this one will add a sense of height, as well as helping the room feel brighter. Bali natural rattan plant stand, €47.50, Oliver Bonas.
A large rug
In the same principle as hanging a large piece of art, one large rug in a room will help it feel bigger. It’s often recommended to go for pale colours in a small room, but a rug is a great way to inject some colour, especially if you live in a rented home.
Again, this won’t work if you go for too small a design, it’s better to have a rug that sits under the legs of your furniture than one that stops much too short of them. Three-tone rug, €99.99, Zara Home.
Add light (and height)
Light is so important in how a room feels, but chances are, if your room is small, it’s probably not blessed with enormous windows. This means your choice of lighting is crucial. Overhead lighting rarely creates a relaxing mood, so make sure you have lamps at different levels, and in different areas of the room.
This floor lamp does double duty in a small space as not only will it brighten a dark corner, its tall, sweeping design draws the eye upwards, creating a greater sense of height. Sweep arc overreach floor lamp, £79 (around €91), Made.
Keep it minimal
Although you’re trying to avoid clutter, it’s still nice to have some favourite items on display. These minimal shelves are a great way to do so, as not only are they visually unobtrusive, but they’ll make sure you keep your selection small. Industrial metal shelf, €45, Industry & Co.
Hang a mirror
Ok, you knew it was coming, I knew it was coming, but I can’t not say it — a mirror will bounce light around a space, and help it feel brighter and more spacious. It’s a cliché for a reason, in that it’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to make a room feel bigger.
This irregular one from H&M is great for a living room as it adds interest, where a traditional rectangular one can feel a bit boring. Asymmetric mirror, €99.99, H&M.
Featured image: Zara Home
Read more: Cool prints from 5 Irish illustrators to brighten up your walls
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