Urban living for young families is on the rise, but with it comes a need to think creatively about making the most of limited space in a home remodeling project. Karen Shen and Kevin Costello loved the extraordinary craftsmanship of their four-story 1904 Renaissance Revival brownstone in Brooklyn, New York, site of the current This Old House TV project.
But to save money, the couple is renting out one and a half floors of the house, leaving about 1,500 square feet of narrow living space for them and their three boys. “In New York City terms, this is a huge apartment,” says Karen. “But with our growing family, we needed it to feel even bigger.” Squeezing a family of five into a two-floor apartment posed several logistical challenges, but they managed to make a compact space feel like a roomy home. Here are a few of their best solutions for making a small house feel bigger.
Use Paint to Open Up a Room
Paint crown molding to match the ceiling to widen a narrow room. Painting both the crown and ceiling white in this skinny space creates the illusion that the ceiling is wider than it is, minimizing the tunnel-vision effect. Here’s another trick: Install flooring, whether it’s wood or tile, in a diagonal pattern to help make rooms appear wider than they are.
Tip: Keep compact rooms simple by using small-scale furniture instead of overstuffed pieces.
Place large mirrors facing each other to create the illusion of more space. One looking glass is enough to expand the perceived depth of a room, but two facing each other amplifies the effect even more. Here, a pier mirror on the front parlor wall faces another one in the front hallway, extending the illusion of added space and light indefinitely.
Gain Light and Square Feet With a Bay Window
Maximize square footage and natural light with bay windows. When this house was built more than a century ago, the standard width of a rowhouse in New York City was a mere 20 feet. Bumping out bay windows was a common architectural trick for gaining precious square footage. It also created room for three ample windows that flood the rooms with sunlight.
Keep It Simple
Choose simple profiles and reflective materials to open up rooms. The flat-panel cabinets in this tight in this 10-by-12-foot kitchen don’t add any complicating and oppressive details, making the room feel airier. Stainless-steel appliances and shiny fixtures and hardware reflect more light, making the small space feel more expansive.
Tip: Install cabinets under a soffit to mimic built-ins that recede into the wall instead of sticking out. – This Old House
Interested in home remodeling? Contact Medina Exteriors today, (330)591-4040