From optical illusion to colour schemes and fine art, there are plenty of ideas to dig into for a more spacious-looking living space

Don’t clutter with furniture

“People tend to have too much furniture in their house in a bid to show off their taste. This doesn’t give a feeling of lightness, but only creates clutter and makes your room look smaller than it already is,” says interior designer Shehzad Khan. Conversely, spacing your furniture out and resting it flat against the wall is a fool’s errand. It doesn’t ensure a bigger room, instead your room ends up looking sparse. The trick is to angle it right. For instance, you can place a small console behind the sofa to create a sense of space. You can do the same thing with your bed and a side table in the bedroom.

Don’t use too many small paintings

Fine art lends aesthetics and a sense of timelessness to your home. However, scattering small paintings or prints all over the walls will make a shoebox-sized home look smaller and more congested than it already is. Instead, invest in one life-size threedimensional scenic painting on canvas, the keywords here being lifesize and scenic. “Use wall cladding on the chosen surface and install the 3D canvas on it,” says Gogia. Scenery gives a lot of depth to the wall. A DIY option is to paint the wall yourself. This way, you get to express and show off your creativity too. The market is also flooded with readymade wallpapers of scenic pictures that can be directly purchased and applied to one wall.

Do install French windows

Floor-to-ceiling glass windows is how the French won the West over, at least when it comes to decor. French windows automatically give spaciousness to the room. There are two reasons for this. They provide more natural light to stream into your room. Also, instead of an opaque wall, you have glass and openness extending beyond it.

Do have a white floor or ceiling

This may sound too stark for us Indians, since we love colour and all things vibrant. Having a stark white ceiling or floor is an international trend that is catching on in India. The easiest option for a white floor is marble. There is a variety available out there, so feel free to experiment. For a bit of warmth, lay out a soft rug. As for the ceiling, white is usually right. Says Girish Gogia, former interior decorator, “A milk white ceiling doesn’t feel heavy on the head.” Pure and pristine, white is the best colour to instill a sense of airiness. Choose from ghost white, eggshell, pearl, cream or the popular ‘off white’.

Do invest in multi-functional decor

Streamline your room with multifunctional pieces. For instance, a dining table that folds into a coffee table or seater. A trunk or an ottoman with built-in storage to keep your reading material in. In the mood to splurge? A number of decor labels are now available in India. For a DIY approach, look up the internet to design your own functional pieces.