Peace of mind: How to make a small apartment bigger

Маленькая квартира: Действительно новые идеи ее «увеличения»

This article is the result of a global survey of Houzz users, asking editors around the world to share the best practices for making the best use of space. And for starters – vote for those methods that are considered universal, proven and perfectly working (mirrors, white furniture, more built-in and minimalist style). We tell you what we managed to find out.

Valentina Saveskul

With the first three points, everything is obvious (who has not heard about mirrors), but the last one on the territory of the former USSR may well become a revelation for someone. So we advise you to pay attention.

The main thing is not to confuse the “minimalist house” with minimalism as a style and solutions similar to it. In this case, it is not about the form, but about the way of life. His philosophy is to focus on less unnecessary things in the house and keeping things organized.

How to simplify life according to the canons of minimalism, even if this is not your style?

Shade abdul architecture

Britain: less things in sight and a stake in the looking glass
Let’s start with some unexpected discoveries. English style and British eccentricity are not things that would traditionally be associated with a “minimalist home.” However, it is
this option was ranked second in popularity in the United Kingdom after mirrors (loved, as it turned out, all over the world). Rooms that are not crammed with things in the manner of a warehouse, but with thoughtful storage of things, seem not only neater, but also larger. Storage systems, especially built-in storage systems, help to implement this principle in practice.

Favreau Design

Bright designlab

And now about the mirrors. Their ability to visually expand space, add light and air is well known. But that’s in theory. It is no coincidence that among the recommendations from British (and not only) survey participants, advice on how not to use mirrors in the interior was much more common.

“Be careful with mirrors. I had just moved into an apartment, where a dark corridor was reflected in the mirror. When I removed it, the room immediately began to seem larger, ”user Mary O’Hagan shares her experience in the comments.

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Another interesting tip from user Tracey Smith in the comments below the results of the British poll is to make the floor in the whole apartment similar and not get carried away with different colors for the walls. This will help you perceive the space as a whole. And do not split an already small dwelling into even smaller parts.

Interiors Etc

Vertical accents also help draw attention away from a small space, according to British users (survey participants). So, Lauren advises the use of tall bookshelves, doors of increased height, pendant lamps and floor lamps, as well as objects of art. And landscape designer Helen Wood recommends using tall plants like bamboo.

Black and Milk | Interior Design | London

Not without the followers of Murphy’s beds (or a bed in the closet). Many owners of small apartments dream of such a design and complain about its high cost.

Houzz Britain: A studio that thinks out every inch

The home

Australia: more light and air
In Australia, judging by the results of the survey, they also give preference to mirrors and the “minimalist house”. The Australians do not forget such techniques of visual space lightening as furniture made of transparent plastic.

One girl interiors

The second recipe is furniture with legs instead of a solid base. More open floor that comes into view, according to experts, makes the room visually larger. And it’s easier to clean it that way. Those who don’t like plastic furniture may want to look at items made from lightweight wicker structures, such as metal.

Good question: Why does the interior feel overwhelmed?

Tiny House Company

Mobility is an important principle when designing a small space. It can be implemented in different ways (even with the usual furniture installed on castors). Australian Houzz users advise to be more careful with hanging furniture (or its imitation). The floating effect can be psychologically uncomfortable, especially when it comes to beds and sofas.

LGB Interiors

User Kathryn W shared an interesting experience: “My son’s room is very small. For the past 20 years, I have tried many tricks to visually make the space bigger. Against most advice, I decided to paint the walls navy blue with white accents. And the furniture is navy blue with charcoal details to blend in with the background. ” The furnishings were also complemented by a dark blue curtain and a fabric-covered headboard, an elongated mirror on one of the walls and silver frames for the paintings. “The room stands out, it is stylish, sophisticated and looks bigger than it really is. And the son loves her, ”the hostess describes the result.

Elena Sochinskaya

Germany: working for the future
Mirrors (first place) and minimalism as a lifestyle also won the poll among the German audience. Therefore, we will immediately turn to the original advice expressed by users in the comments. Among them is an alternative to the mirror way to expand the space with the help of photo wallpaper or murals. The main thing in this case, according to the experts of Atelier Allgaier and Atelier Feynsinn, is to choose not a flat decorative motive, but a plot with a perspective that creates the illusion of depth of space. As sources for inspiration, you can turn to not only modern, but also to historical samples. Such trompe l’oeil was loved, for example, by the Baroque style.

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Good question: Wall murals are modern or “grandma style”

Natasha Sorokina

This technique is especially often recommended by German Houzz users in bathrooms and toilets, which are often the smallest in the house. The main thing is to choose the plot more carefully.

Bonin Architects & Associates

Japan: The Bright Side of Power
And where is everyone’s favorite light furniture in small apartments, you ask? Of course, they have not forgotten about her either. In Japan, mirrors, apparently, are generally not very fond of: according to the results of the survey, light furniture bypassed them by a noticeable margin. And the most popular answer, which is not surprising, is the “minimalist house”.

Gaëlle Cuisy + Karine Martin, Architectes dplg

Carpenter & Carpenter Ltd

France: custom-made house
In France – the country of tiny apartments – all the previously mentioned techniques are equally loved (users’ votes were evenly distributed).

And in the comments, Houzz visitors in small apartments are advised to rely on custom-made furniture. She, unlike ready-made options from furniture hypermarkets, is guaranteed to have the required dimensions. And this is extremely important for the correct visual impression of the space.


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Ample design

Spain: bet on the right lighting
Users are advised to work more actively with different lighting scenarios; the best work is the light around the perimeter of the ceiling, which slightly raises the room in height.

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The same Spanish designer Taralux Iluminación advises not to forget about retro lighting techniques (in the context, well-known, time-tested): mirrors built into cabinet doors, inner walls of shelves are excellent light traps and multipliers.

Italy: floor and ceiling work
According to the survey results, the “minimalist house” unexpectedly won with a noticeable advantage over the mirrors.

An interesting recommendation from the Italian forum is to pay attention to the dimensions of the elements of the wooden floor. So the user Baccianinisnc believes that the best choice would be boards up to 13 cm wide and 120 cm long – and less. While longer and wider can visually hide the space.

Marina Kutuzova design studio “Details”

ARCHIFIORI practicing designer – Filippo Fiori Architect recommends literally smoothing the corners between the walls and the ceiling: this way the space is perceived as a whole, and not as planes, and its true dimensions become not so obvious.

What methods of enlarging small apartments do you know? Share your tips in the comments section below the article. Or cast your vote in the poll on the Russian forum Houzz (and at the same time you will find out which way of working with small apartments is considered the best in Russia).

About Leona Smith 115 Articles
Hello! My name is Silke and this is my travel blog. I want to show you fascinating places off the beaten track, give you a gentle introduction to history and culture, and help you get around Berlin. After 13 years in Sydney and Andalusia, I now live in Berlin, Germany. I am a travel writer, translator and book author. Read more about me here.

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