How to make a small space feel BIG - Vybrant Society

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How to make a small space feel BIG

June 01, 2020 5 min read

Before I moved into my first apartment, there was one thing that I was sure as could be about, something I knew I wanted for my life without a doubt. And that was a large balcony. I didn’t want just any balcony, I wanted one on the 20th floor that wrapped around the building, giving me stunning views of the sunsets every night, where I’d sit and lounge with my expensive cabernet and enjoy my wonderful life. But, we know life doesn’t always go that way. What I got when I moved into my first apartment was a little different than my dream balcony. Instead of being up in the sky, I lived on the first floor, and instead of wrapping around the building, it was about four and a half feet wide, barely large enough for two chairs to fit. At the time that I moved in, I felt a little disappointed, however, it was short lived. I decided that even if this was my balcony for now, I was still going to make it the most beautiful balcony in the complex, and I’d still lounge with my cabernet and enjoy life. But with a space so small it was difficult to work with. How was I going to fit anything worthwhile in a space just four and a half feet long by three feet wide? So, I experimented, and explored, and found creative ways to make my small little nook of a balcony feel big, until I found some ways that worked. And what I found is that I could use all of these methods in my other rooms as well. I found that even if a space feels small, it can always, Always, feel bigger with the proper decoration. So, here was my first step:


As I stared at my rinky dink balcony, I realized one thing. It may only be four and a half feet long by three feet wide, but it was quite tall. Above the metal railing that blocked me from the sidewalk, there was still about 5 or 6 feet of unused space that I knew could be used to my advantage. So, I learned my first rule of making a room feel big,Use all of the space, and think vertically.In every room, there is an average of 5 feet of unused space above your head that nearly always remains empty. Apart from a artworks on the wall, there is so much space left in our homes that goes unused. This as well, often is one of the best places to put decorations, since unless you are inviting over your friendly neighborhood spiderman, most people do not spend much time near your room, so the decorations will not get in the way of your guests. Hanging plants, tall ladders, crystal chandeliers, you name it! Anything that can draw your eyes away from where they normally look and help you and your guests enjoy the entirety of the room. I chose the first of my options, since I couldn’t afford a crystal chandelier at the time, and placed a few hanging plants in cutely tied rope baskets in the corners of my balcony. I chose an assortment of colored flowers for one to bring my balcony some much needed color, and a hanging ivy to give some depth as it grew. 


My second rule that I learned was extremely simple but oh-so important.Lights can transform a space. The proper lighting can not only make a space feel warm, cozy and complete, but can also make a space feel much bigger since they can be a small addition that adds so much character. I decided to combine this rule with my first rule, and add lighting vertically up a wall to draw peoples eyes to how tall the space is. After about a day of searching, I was able to find a cheap set of lights that would satisfy me for what I needed. I picked a set of soft white string lights that had about 20 different strands of lights all dangling from a single strand at the top, so that they covered my entire side wall from top to bottom. It was such an easy and affordable way to make my balcony unique and a space I’d want to enjoy, while taking up so little space. 


The last rule I learned came from me looking at the wall opposite my string lights. With so much activity now happening across from it, it seemed barren, and in desperate need match the rest of the space. I thought of many decorations that I could put on the wall that would be weatherproof and easy to find, but I wanted to stray away from something too bulky. And I kept noticing that this wall was opposite of the beautiful string lights I had just put up, and I knew I could use that to my advantage. After a quick google and a trip to Lowes, I was able to find some hexagonal mirrors that were tough enough for the outdoors. Instead of being made of brittle glass, they were a shiny hard plastic with a reflective cover that looked just as good as the real thing. The unique shape of the mirrors allowed me to add a little bit of personal flare to how they were assorted. And I loved the result. The mirror added so much depth to the space and gave dimension to a wall that was originally small and bland. And, the way it bounced light off from the opposite wall helped even out the area. I learned thatMirrors add depth to flat surfaces,and that can make a space feel big.


I slowly filled out the space with some chairs and a table so that I could sit and lounge, and after setting up my last mirror went on the hunt for some cabernet. My small barren balcony may not be on the 20th floor, or quite the size that I had originally wanted, but now it was a unique space that I loved to enjoy, and people passing on the first floor we’re constantly commenting on how they enjoyed the space as well. I took the rules I learned from my balcony journey to my other rooms and worked on applying them where I could. I made use of the height of rooms and added tal decorations where they fit. I noticed any spaces that felt dull and explored new forms of lighting to reignite the area. And I added mirrors to my living room and bedroom to walls to help bounce around the light and add dimension. I learned that a small space doesn’t have to feel small, and with the proper decorations it can be transformed into an area you’ll love.