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It can be a struggle to decorate a smaller area, especially if you want to make the most of the available space whilst trying to create the illusion of a bigger room. There are many ways to open up a smaller area and none of them have to involve knocking down walls. Simply by using creative optical illusions and bunch of clever tricks, you can have any room looking deceptively larger.

From the correct colour schemes, the clever use of stripes and simple de-cluttering, here are 7 practical tips to fake extra space.

1. Use a Monochrome colour scheme.

Along with creating a calmer, airier space, this allows the eye to roam over a room without being interrupted by distracting colours. Use different colour values to add a certain amount of depth and interest to the space.

2. Creatively place larger furniture.

It’s a common thought that a smaller space means smaller furniture, however having one or two oversized pieces can actually have the opposite effect on a room. Placing a large sofa strategically in your living room, for instance, can create the illusion of a larger space. Don’t have more than two pieces, as it can have the opposite outcome. Where possible, buy furniture with feet. Being able to see the floor can trick the eye into thinking the area is emptier, making it appear larger.

3. Paint the walls white.

Following on from the monochrome colour scheme tip, painting your walls white can make a room look greater in size and more inviting due to the reflecting light. This helps make the space feel open and airy, increasing the effect created by natural light.

4. Use inventive window treatments.

Hang the curtain rod beyond the window perimeter to create the illusion of a larger window and find curtains the same colour as the wall they are on. This gives the semblance of a higher wall. Don’t overdo the window treatments, having curtains and blinds together can clutter the space, making the room look shorter. Floor to ceiling curtains imitate a high-ceilinged room.

5. Get rid of the clutter.

Nothing makes a room look cramped more than clutter. Streamlined walls help to increase the size of a room. Using creative storage solutions, such a glass fronted storage cabinets, drawers and adding floating shelves can all help de-clutter a room whilst using maximising the space. Don’t cram everything you own onto a few shelves. Where possible, hide these things from view. When adding shelves, think of going upwards, not outwards.

6. Hang large mirrors.

Mounting a large mirror on the wall is one of the oldest tricks in the book when trying to create the illusion of a bigger living area. The reflecting light, coupled with the right colour scheme opens up a whole new space for your eye to take in. Cleverly-placed standing mirrors can also have this effect, but will take up floor space and like clunky large framed mirrors these will only work in a few styles of room. Thin-framed, large mirrors usually work in every kind of space.

7. Paint stripes on the walls.

The best tip in any interior designers arsenal is the clever use of stripes. A single, wide horizontal stripe, high on the wall can give the illusion of width in a narrow room. Thick horizontal stripes, split by thin contrasting ones gives a wall the illusion of height; vertical stripes can have this same effect. Clever use of these stripes, increases the depth and can stretch a room out visually.

Bio: James Pointon is an experienced team leader and a passionate real estate agent working at OpenAgent – the website where you can easily find best realtors in you area. Interested in decorating and designing strategies, James often shares his ideas and suggestions with customers looking for their dream house. Follow James on his LinkedIn.