Libby Langdon: 5 Tips to Make a Small Space Look Bigger

Libby Langdon, queen of small spaces, HGTV host and author, spoke at the Las Vegas Market this week and gave some great tips for optimizing small spaces. Whether you're a college student, a first-time homeowner, a downsizing empty nester or retired person or someone who's just green-minded (Langdon's categories of small space dwellers), her tips should help you get a little more breathing room. For more ideas, check out her book, Libby Langdon's Small Space Solutions.
1. Start with the layout. Don't line the walls with furniture and put a postage stamp-sized rug in the middle of the room. Langdon suggests thinking about "conversation areas" and adjusting your furniture accordingly, like using two chairs instead of a sofa (only two people ever sit on the couch at once anyway) or two ottomans (if they're on wheels and have storage, even better!) rather than a more traditional coffee table.
2. You're probably thinking about scale all wrong. Langdon says a lot of people who live in small spaces think they should get small rugs and lamps to compensate, but in reality they should do the exact opposite. Same goes for art. (Compact appliances are always good though.) Bigger is better when it comes to decor -- and more is better when it comes to lamps. "Four or five lamps in a room is not too many," Langdon says. "If you have square footage that isn't lit, it's as if it doesn't exist."
3. "Paint fear is an epidemic," Landgon declares. "People overwhelmingly believe that by leaving their walls white they will gain square footage. Really, they'll just be living in a white-walled small space." She suggests painting one accent wall a bold color while keeping the others neutral. That accent wall appear to recede, giving you more space.
4. Casters are your friend. (Furniture made to serve double duty is too.) You can make your own multipurpose furniture by simply adding wheels to stuff you already own, like making your desk a sometimes-buffet table. Langdon also recommends adding storage whenever possible; try using bedside chests instead of bedside tables.
5. Trick the eye. Langdon thinks that somewhere along the way it seems to have become law that drapes must be hung from the top of the window. Not true, she says. Just by buying the next largest standard size drapes and hanging them from the top of the wall, you can make the wall seem taller. In fact, extending anything to the ceiling, such as kitchen cabinets or bookcases, will help. She also recommends choosing glass tabletops, chairs with curved backs, furniture with legs instead of skirts and placing mirrors on walls opposite windows -- all measures to make rooms seem more airy.
Photo Credit: Libby Langdon

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