When a house has a layout that you just don’t love, there’s almost always a way to fix it. Of course home design television shows make it seem super easy to remove or add walls, but fixing a layout doesn’t always mean blowing out walls or even building new ones. Not everyone has the time and resources to complete such projects. Even if adding or subtracting walls isn’t an option for you, there are lots of easy ways to mitigate any problems you might have with the layout of your home. Whether you want to make a wide-open space feel cozier and more formal or create more space to breathe…there’s a fix for that.

Closing Up an Open Floor Plan

Use Furniture or Architectural Features

A large bookshelf, an interesting sideboard, or a bench are all perfect pieces for creating separation within a large, open space. To separate a living room area from a dining area, try using a large table with banquettes instead of individual chairs. This is a great way to create the illusion of a distinct, more formal dining area. There are also options like electric fireplaces, columns, and sliding barn doors to cordon off certain areas.

Use Different Materials to Divide Large Spaces

Using different colors, textures, and materials on walls, ceilings, and floors can fool the mind into thinking one large space is actually made up of smaller, warmer spaces. To help visually shrink a room, use darker, more saturated paint and textile colors.

Create Vignettes with Furniture

Use furniture combined with area rugs to create separate, distinct areas. If you have a large great room, for example, try creating different “conversation areas.” You might arrange the couch and a couple of chairs around one area rug; another couple of chairs and an end table on a separate coordinating rug; and a dining table and chairs over a third rug.

Opening Up Cramped, Separate Spaces

Remove Doors and Cabinetry

Something as simple as taking down a door and door jamb between two smaller rooms can open it up by creating a view and pass-through to the other room. Items like custom built-ins and cabinetry can also be taken out to create a little more space and open things up more.

Add Windows or Skylights

Natural light will almost always help a room seem bigger than it is. Opening your home up to the outside (even if it’s through glass panels) can help stave off the claustrophobic feeling some rooms give off. If you can add more than one window, it will do a lot to help a room feel bigger. Glass-paned French doors are a good idea, or you might even try a bay window if it’s an option. If adding regular windows isn’t structurally possible, skylights are another great option for letting in natural light and opening a room up to the rest of the world.

Use Mirrors

Mirrors have always been the perfect way to trick the eye into thinking there’s more space in a cramped room. While we don’t recommend installing an entire mirrored wall (hello, 1970s dining room!), a large, decorative mirror or two will do the trick nicely. If the room is a bedroom or another room with a closet, mirrored closet doors are a good option as well.

Lighten Things Up

To help a room feel more airy and spacious, keep your decor on the lighter side. Shades of white, light beiges, and light grays do a good job of reflecting light and making things seem more open. Sticking to lighter wood finishes helps too. Use the same color on walls, trim, and the ceiling to blur the lines that define the room.


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