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Design for Large Spaces


Whether you are dealing with a tiny room or a massive one, you want the space to feel welcoming and comfortable. Spaces that are too small may feel claustrophobic while massive ones can seem cavernous. If you are working with a room that features high vaulted ceilings and more space than you know what to do with, here are some interior design tips to help you bring it back down to a comfortable, welcoming feel.

Leave the Walls Open: Lining the furniture along the walls in neat rows will create a huge space in the middle that can seem overwhelming. Moving the furniture away from the walls and into the center of the room will instantly bring the eyes to the center of the space. Create comfortable seating areas by grouping furniture together around an eye-catching area rug or other centerpiece.

Defined Spaces: Along with creating seating areas, you should have defined areas throughout the space. If you can’t realistically have one seating area in the room, then consider adding a reading nook in one corner with some shelves and a big, overstuffed chair. The main idea is to make sure that all the space in the room is used for some purpose, allowing you to avoid intimidating and confusing dead zones.

Bring in the Color: Small rooms need light colors to maintain that open feeling. Large rooms, however, are the opposite. While you can do light colors and they will work well, you can also choose the hunter green or midnight blue that calls out to you. To prevent the space from becoming overly dark, be sure to balance the rich color on the walls with more neutral shades in the furniture.

Texture and Overstuffed Furniture: Rather than clean lines that are simple, you will want to bring in some texture that will help use space visually. Shaggy rugs are fun and will make the room seem cozier while rich throws made of velvet and tapestry will also help make the room seem less intimidating.

Low Lighting: It’s not how bright the lights are, but rather where they are placed in the room. Ceiling lights will illuminate the entire room, drawing attention to the overall size. Lamps placed strategically on tables will keep the eye level low, helping the room to feel comfortable. Choose darker lampshades that will reflect the light back down into the lower areas of the room.

Luxurious Window Treatments: Glass and mirrors give the illusion of space, so they’re best left for smaller areas. Choose luxurious window coverings in rich fabrics and eye-catching textures. Allow them to cover part of the window, helping the room to feel less cavernous. Avoid mirrors, opting for large pieces of artwork, instead.

Add some Life: One great way to add life to the room is with potted plants and trees. Smaller trees in pots will minimize the height of the room while also adding texture, life and interest to the space.

Go Wide: Straight lines and small footprints are a must for small rooms, but you can choose the Paul Bunyan style bedroom set if you have a huge master bedroom. Be bold with the furniture. Chose the darker wood colors, larger trim pieces and overstuffed arms that you love. All of these features will help make the area feel more inviting and they will keep everything in scale.

Working with large spaces is not without its challenges. While you will rarely complain that a room is simply too large, making it feel cozy and welcoming can seem a bit daunting. Put these tips to work as you create a space that is welcoming, intimate and marvelous.

By Erik Braunitzer, and courtesy of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Company, agents for New York City Apartments.