TRICKS: To make a small space appear larger

It’s a space you affectionately call “cozy” but in the eyes of a prospective buyer the word “cramped” may come to mind. There are tricks to making a small space appear larger and functional – even if it’s a nook.

Paint: Choose light wall colours in small spaces or even a mid-toned colour if the space is bright, says Allison Roberts of Burloak Home Staging and Design in Burlington.

“It’s important to match tones of fixed elements. For example, if floor tiles have a muddy/grey undertone, select a muddy (historical collection) wall colour,” she says. “If floor tiles are fresher, select a bright, clear wall colour from an off-white collection.”

Furnishings: Too often, small spaces are filled with large, overstuffed furniture that make them appear even smaller. Instead, use streamlined pieces such as armless or open-armed furniture.

“Glass tables in dinette and dining areas create openness and airiness, allowing you to see through and beyond the table so you get a better sense of the size of the space,” Roberts says.

Pieces such as ottomans and chests serve double duty, as they can be used as a table and can also store items, says Theresa Swain of The Home Staging Co. in Winnipeg.

Functionality: More so than a large space, it’s important to show the functionality of small spaces that tend to serve several purposes in many homes. Consider any focal points – if the space features a fireplace, for example, create a conversational grouping around it, Roberts says. Other ideas: an office space featuring a workstation or an eating area with appropriately scaled furniture. A nook staged with a comfortable chair, side table, open book and blanket suggests a place to curl up and relax.

Accessories: Though similar tones make a small space feel much larger, you can bring in contrast in “controlled punches” through accessories, Roberts advises. Windows are often bare or covered in multiple layers of treatments. She recommends one layer only – shades or drapery but rarely both together. Vertical drapery creates the illusion of height.

By LINDA WHITE, Special to QMI Agency