Design Dilemma: Making Cavernous Cozy
People worry about making small spaces seem larger, but what about the opposite problem? Large, cavernous spaces can also be a design dilemma. That’s because they often feel unwelcoming, disconnected, unplanned. They just don’t hang together. What’s the best way to combat this problem?
1.) Use warm, darker colors on walls. Warm colors can bring the walls in, and darker tones can enclose a space by absorbing light. So instead of going white, light and bright, consider mustard, mutedÂ pumpkin, cranberry redÂ or olive green to help pull the walls forward. Â You can visually lower a ceiling by painting it a darker color.
2.) Select area rugs to help break up the space. One or more rugs — especially colorful patterned or textured rugs —Â can define areas within a room and pull furniture together.
3.) Consider floating furniture into cozy conversation groups. In a large room you’ll want traffic to flow along the perimeter rather than straight through the middle. Couches and chairs in the center of the room make the room feel connected and focused and will eat up more floor space. When you’ve got a large space, you can also think about arrangingÂ furniture on the diagonal — a no-no in most small settings.
4.) Divide a large room into different areas, according to purpose. In a family room you might include an area for watching TV, an area for arts, crafts and games, an area for quiet study and reading, and an area for dining.
5.) Use lots of artwork to help bring the room to scale. Artwork is another trick that can help bring walls forward. The key is to use artwork of the appropriate scale. If you have a huge, tall wall, use large pieces that don’t get lost. Tapestries can be especially effective. If you use smaller drawings or photos, group them together to form cohesive arrangements.
6.) Use larger furniture. A dainty apartment-sized couch will look out of scale in a huge room. Instead, consider a more substantial sectional that will adequately fill space. Although you will want one or two larger size pieces, it’s probably not a good idea to buyÂ ALL over-sized furniture or you risk making the room feel oppressive.
7.) Consider built-ins. Larger rooms have the luxury of being able to comfortably house built-in bookshelves, entertainment systems,Â and window seats that would dominate a small room.
8.) Add accessories of the right scale. A large room calls for large plants or large sculpture. Plants and sculpture can help eat up space and mute wall parameters that would otherwise define a huge room. Other interesting space fillers include large pendant lamps in sculpted shapes and 3-D metal wall sculptures.