Open up or Close off a Room (Without Moving Walls)

Those of us who live in an older home often fantasize about the potential of a wide-open kitchen. Of course, the opposite is also true; plenty of home owners with open layouts dream about having the privacy of separate rooms! If you find yourself living in a home that you otherwise love, but are stuck with a layout that doesn't fit your style, then you might think that your only option is to add or remove walls. Unfortunately, this process is prohibitively expensive, stressful, and time-consuming for many home owners. Luckily, there is another way! By implementing strategic design changes, you can create the illusion of opening up or closing off a space without making any actual changes to the home's layout!

How to open up a cramped space

1. Let the light in

Providing more light and using a lighter color palette will help give a feeling of openness to even the most cramped space. The simplest way to do this is with a fresh coat of paint, which is one of the cheapest and most underestimated ways to change the tone of any room. Select white or off-white hues and be sure to match the color as much as possible along the walls, trim, and ceiling. Mirrors are another effective and inexpensive way to open up a room. Hanging them on walls will help reflect light throughout the space, as well as break up the visual lines of the surrounding walls.

Of course, you can add new sources of actual light by installing a new window or skylight. Although this will generally set you back several thousand dollars, its dramatic effectiveness sometimes makes it worth the cost!

2. Remove doors and cabinetry

Another great way to open up a space is to remove the built-in objects that disrupt your sight lines. Removing a door and its jamb from the room's entryway will provide a huge boost to its openness without changing the actual floor plan. Similarly, taking down any cabinets or shelves that may be occupying air space on walls will reduce feelings of claustrophobia in a small space.

3. Create flow between rooms

Two adjacent rooms can be made to feel more like one space by utilizing the same colors, materials, and furniture to create a sense of flow between them. For instance, by giving two separate rooms the same wall color and flooring, they will begin to feel like one shared space.

How to add intimacy to an open space

1. Dim the lights

A large space will feel much cozier if it is lit with dimmer, warmer light sources. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this feeling of pervasive ambiance is with recessed lighting along the room's ceiling, which will provide an even, pleasant glow.

2. Build in a feature

Adding in a bookcase, column, or island along the border area of the spaces that you wish to separate will go a long way toward demarcating them from each other without having to actually box them off with solid walls. If you're looking to spend a little more, adding a fireplace can create a dramatic focal point to the area!

3. Design distinct areas

Positioning furniture into distinct groupings can help break up a large room into what feels like separate areas, particularly if each area has its own distinct style. You can magnify the effect by placing each grouping on a different area rug. Of course, you will want to make sure that the different styles don't clash, but rather provide distinct feels.

Hopefully these tips have shown you that changing your home's layout doesn't require moving walls! Simple design changes can be shockingly simple and effective!