Top 10 Ideas To Create Light, Airy, and Spacious Room

Light and Airy Room

How to make your home feel Light, Airy and Spacious

light and airy room
Kelly Behun's Eclipse design for The Rug Company, installed in her Manhattan eerie. Image courtesy of The Rug Company.

Hi everyone,

As a designer, I am often asked “How can I create a light and airy feel in this room?” or ”How should I arrange the furniture to optically enlarge my home?” It’s a question anyone that spends a lot of time at home (like all of us right now during the quarantine) contemplates and one that has different answers depending on the space.

Finding unique ways to create a light and airy feel that expands the visual space is a key component of my design strategy.

Some of the tips I share are implemented during the design phase, while others are done during the styling phase when everything is finished. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is the Top 10 that you can easily apply yourself.

Give it a try and have some fun with it!

TOP 10 Easy Tips to Create a Light and Airy Room

Open the room.

One easy way to open up a room is to keep furniture from blocking windows and doorways. Unobstructed windows and exterior doors extend the visual line and create the illusion of depth by connecting the room with the outdoors. The result is a feeling of openness that greets you before you even step through the door. This technique requires little effort and instantly makes a room look bigger. 

On more extensive projects, I may actually remove walls in order to expand and open the space. By removing unnecessary walls, cabinets, and closets, and using built-ins with minimal lines, I am able to create an open, multifunctional space. This keeps the look very sleek and seamless and supports a modern, open design.

Pro tip: Keep window coverings simple to ensure that the flow between indoors and out is unobstructed.

Incorporate A statement piece.

Adding a one-of-a-kind statement piece that matches your style and color palette is another way to open up a room. The piece can be art, a light fixture, or even a piece of furniture. The idea is to position it in such a way as to anchor the space visually. When done properly, the eye is drawn to the item, then moves into the open space.

A single “wow” piece shifts the focal point as desired, transforms the mood of a room, and makes a great inspiring ”curiosity spot” for you and your visitors. This serves two purposes. First, it creates visual interest. Second, the open backdrop feels lighter and more open because of the visual contrast created by the anchor element. 

Pro tip: Don’t use more than one anchor piece, otherwise, the space may look too cluttered.

Use a light color palette.

Using a light color palette probably is one of the more common techniques employed by designers to give a home a light and airy feel. Elements to consider include natural light, interior lighting, flooring color and texture, as well as a wall color. Keeping these aspects light are among the biggest ways to create a truly light and airy interior.

Once that is in place, the choice of furniture should also be considered. As an example, a room with white oak flooring, off-white tones on the walls, and a mix of furniture and minimalistic decorative elements with soft pastel coloring create a beautifully light and airy environment.

Pro tip: Don’t be fooled into thinking that all light colors are the same. They are not. Whites, beiges, and creams all have undertones. You’ll want those tones to be complementary to give the room an overall aesthetic that is pleasing. 

Incorporate split lighting.

Instead of having a single light source from overhead ceiling lights, consider adding a variety of accent lights and arranging them in various positions around the room. This technique is both functional and fun as it creates an ambient atmosphere that is welcoming.

Remember, eyes are drawn to different corners of a room as light fills more spaces and all these lighting types work together like an orchestra to maintain the desired look.

Pro tip: Light bulbs matter. Just as we discussed undertones in paint and fabric colors, it is important to be deliberate with your choice of light tones from lighting sources. 

”Reflect” the room.

Placing mirrors strategically extends a room as mirrors reflect not only the elements in the room but also the color and light that surrounds those elements. It is important not to overuse mirrors by adding too many, rather use them to optimize the visual effect with strategic placement. 

Pro tip: Face the mirror in the way you want to enlarge the room. If you want the room to look longer, place the mirror lengthwise. If you want to make the ceiling look higher, and room shorter, place the mirror upwards.

Try minimalist art with a single subject.

Placing simple, clean art with a single focus that is not too busy can really open up a room. When done properly, the art becomes the focal point and the open space appears even more open, especially when accent lighting is used to create contrast.

Art need not be expensive. It can really be anything that inspires you. Something as simple as black and white and pop-up artwork can have a dramatic effect. Some of my favorite shops for artwork include Yellowkorner and Lumas.

Pro tip: Make sure the art you choose is not fussy or busy or it will have the opposite effect.

“Float” furniture.

Position furniture 2”-4” away from the walls to create additional space. Leaving space creates the illusion that the wall behind the piece, such as a sofa, is further away than it actually is, which makes the room appear larger than it is.

Pro tip: Make sure that the space is proportional to the room. Leave less space in smaller rooms to avoid overcrowding.

Go see-through.

Translucent furniture such as lucite chairs, glass tables, or even just a sofa leg support will give a room a cleaner and more airy feel. 

Pro tip: Choose pieces that have solid accent lines to really give the room a clean, open feel.

Limit Patterns.

Too many patterns can make a room look busy and cluttered, which optically makes a room appear smaller than it truly is. Mixing different textures of fabric (soft vs. hard) while limiting the patterns can add dimension and extend the open, airy feel. 

As an example, when I use two sofas in a room, I will add one that has a slightly different color or texture. When I add an armchair, I will choose a fabric with patterns to provide contrast.

Pro tip: Choose complementary pieces to ensure that your room flows well.

Experiment with angles.

Placing furniture at the correct angle can lead the eye more smoothly around the room. In addition, angling the furniture can draw the eye to a larger more purposeful focal point such as a fireplace or view.

In more extensive projects consider placing flooring on an angle. While slightly more expensive due to the extra material this may take, it can really open up a space, especially a smaller space.

Pro tip: Rooms should have a natural flow. If your eye gets stuck when sweeping the room, consider moving the furniture around until the room feels open and welcoming.

Not all of these tips will work for all rooms. However, using a combination of at least 3 of your favorites tips from the list above will help you to achieve the light, airy feel in your home.

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