Don't me wrong, our housing co-ops are very large considering comparable units in the Park Forest, IL area. In fact, our 2 bedrooms, topping the charts at around 1500 square feet are very impressive in size, especially at a very modest fee of $450 or less per month in maintenance fees. But depending on where you are moving from or how much "stuff" you end up accruing over the life of your residency here, rooms can tend to get smaller and smaller as they fill up. Below, we've compiled a few ways that you can enhance your space to make it seem much larger than it really is.
1. Use multipurpose furniture to perform double duty. The perfect example is a coffee table with storage underneath or inside. A chest (typically found at the foot of a bed) actually makes for a great coffee table. It provides storage inside for extra blankets and pillows that might otherwise be clogging up closet space. A coffee table with a shelf underneath can showcase some of your favorite nick-knacks without using table tops space, making your room appear less cluttered and more open. Or choose a table on rollers to move from one area to another instead of having multiple tables in the same room. This frees up floor space and allows one table to perform double duty.
2. Go vertical! Install a book shelf near the ceiling to draw the eye upwards, making the room seem taller. This also allows you to get rid of one piece of furniture (a free-standing bookshelf) that takes up floor space causing a space to look smaller than it really is.
3. Hang plants vertically. Ok, ok, so the picture below actually makes the room feel cluttered if you ask me, but the concept is there. Moving plants from table tops to the ceiling or walls creates the illusion of more space. It draws the eye upwards, keeps the furniture looking less crowded and gives a pop of color naturally. Plants also give off oxygen which can purify the air, giving your space a fresh, crisp breath of fresh air.
4. Paint light colors on the walls and ceilings. Install light colored flooring (per management approval). Having light colored walls, ceilings and floors creates the illusion of a room being more open and airy. The eye tends to drift to a window instead of getting caught up on a dark wall making the room seem small. If bright white isn't your thing, try light grey, light blue or cream. Having light, neutral colors also allows you to play around with pops of colors in your furniture and accessories. Read more about pops of color to enhance your living space here.
5. Use furniture that creates the look of more space. Clear tables allow the light to shine through making a small space look more spacious and bright. Choosing a couch or chair with exposed legs allows you to see the floor beneath making the room seem more airy and bigger versus a couch that sits flat on the floor. Pick a table with one simple leg to keep the area open. You wouldn't think such a small change makes a big difference, but it truly does.
6. Place mirrors opposite of windows. Not only does this little trick increase the amount of light that shines in by reflection, it also gives the room depth and character. Try placing a mirror in the dining room of your housing cooperative and watch how it appears to extend the wall. Or place multiple mirrors next to each other to create a stunning piece of wall art that adds dimension, flair and depth to the room.
7. Choose minimalist, modern furniture. A simple, sleek chair provides the same purpose as a bulky lounge chair but takes up much less space. The clean lines it provides can make your room seem larger simply by taking up less visual space. Reduce the size of your dining room table. If you have an extendable table with extra leafs and more chairs than you use daily, store the extra chairs in your basement and bring out only when needed. Or just replace your old table that worked for grandma's huge house, but may not work now for you and your smaller space.
8. And finally, get rid of stuff. We all are victims to the impulse purchase of that cute little xxxx that caught our attention while walking by it at the store, but do we really need it? Cedarwood Housing Cooperative has a yearly community yard sale that creates a great opportunity to sell some extra things that are just collecting dust around the home. Use this time to spring clean your home and remove unnecessary clutter to free up space. Make a little extra cash and meet some of your neighbors while doing it. It's great fun.
There you have it. Many ways that you can enlarge your space by making simple changes. Maybe you choose one, maybe you work on all, but whatever you do have fun. Remember any major repairs or remodels must be approved by management before hand. Always call the office just to check in and make sure. Then, have fun and send us some pictures! We love seeing what creative things our members have done to their cooperatives.