New York City is well known for its varied and highly coveted real estate options. From itty-bitty micro-apartments to palatial family homes spanning over 60,000 square feet, New York City has something for everyone. For most of us who live in NYC, our first or forever home just doesn’t quite fit everything we own. Yet the size of an apartment does not have to determine how big it feels. New Yorkers love comfort, style, and space, and when it comes to the feeling of an NYC home, it’s possible to have all three, regardless of size. Here are our semi-magic tricks for turning your small home into a space that feels roomy and open.
Keep it light.
Light gives a space more depth, so, first things first, pull out the paint roller, take down the curtains, and consider the floors. For the walls, while it’s fine to have an accent wall, you’ll want to paint the rest of them white or very light so that they reflect light, making the space feel airy. Ditto for the floors—keep away from dark flooring which absorbs light. Throw down a light-colored rug or, better yet, a vertical-striped rug, which will elongate the room. And give your space the depth it deserves by keeping your windows unencumbered by bulky curtains; instead, opt for roman shades or blinds.
First, regarding accessories, it’s best to go with a few large items rather than many small items. A mass of tiny chachkies only makes a space look cluttered; whereas a few large pieces bring order and style. If you have tons of stuff, let go of what no longer serves you and arrange the rest according to color. Coordinating by color makes a lot of little items feel like one, cohesive piece. Finally, consider turning one large room into “several” rooms by separating areas with rugs. Lay down a rug to mark the living room, another rug to carve out your dining room, and another one for your study or office.
Creating the illusion of height is a surefire way to make tight quarters feel spacious, and there are practical as well as fun ways to do this. For practicality, build floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, or build shelves up high, close to the ceiling. Not only does this make the room seem tall, but it provides extra storage. (Don’t forget to color coordinate your books!)
Finally, a shopping list. The following furniture options offer a smart and visually open use of space and much-needed storage:
- Choose minimalist furniture with thin, exposed legs; mid-century modern styles often fit these criteria
- Pair a kitchen/study table with see-through lucite or acrylic chairs
- Add a striped rug to elongate any room
- Select a coffee table with a lift top and storage space, and keep extra folding chairs tucked away for lucky occasions when you have an overflow of guests
- Install a floating desk which doubles as a wall shelf
- Hang a large horizontal mirror to expand the feeling of space in a room
- Add an ottoman with storage space to your couch, or…
- Opt for a daybed in your living room instead of a couch (for you or guests, depending on the size of your home)
- Rather than having one sole source of light in each room, create a cozy vibe with floor and table lamps that add soft lighting to each room
- Use area rugs to delineate separate sections of a room such as dining and living areas
- Install a clear shower curtain in the bathroom for an open feeling in tight quarters
- Put up hooks throughout the space to hang pots, pans, and plants, making more space available on the floor and in cabinets
- Utilize bedside tables that offer storage
- Customize your closets for tidy wardrobe maintenance; alternatively, use the vertical space in your closet to install two hanging rods that can help you separate tops and bottoms with less clutter