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Expand Your Home without Using a Hammer

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ September 18, 2010

If you're feeling squeezed in your home or simply want to present a larger-looking house to would-be buyers, there are ways to maximize your square footage without knocking out a wall. Professionals who stage homes for sellers know that removing clutter can make rooms feel more spacious than the square footage might indicate. Now you can use some of these tips for your own home.

Realtor Magazine writer Melissa Dittmann Tracey reports how you can induce prospective buyers into visualizing their possessions fitting your existing space. Here are some great ideas:

Brighten the room. You want people to feel comfortable and relaxed, even in tight quarters. So use light pastels or cream colors to create visual relief. Lowe's adds that you can further open the space by using "a monochromatic color scheme" in the wall paint, rug colors, and furnishings. Dark or complex interior painting in a smaller space can really be claustrophobic. If you want to use wallpaper, consider it for one of the walls, leaving the rest to light-colored, coordinated paint.

Light it up. Lighting plays a major role in lending space to a room. Spot lighting, recessed fixtures, bounced lighting, skylights, and ceiling tubes can transform a small, dark place into a warm, comfortable setting. Use mirrors to bounce light and extend the apparent size of the room in reflections. Tricking the eye can comfort the mind.

Declutter the madness. Clutter is a space killer. Ever hear of the saying, "too much of a good thing?" You may love the knick-knacks, planters, and Aunt Betty's tea service, but busy colors, turbocharged patterns, and piles of stuff can chase anyone out of the room. Even if you're not trying to sell, simplify a small room and you may spend more time in it.

Remove the King Kong couch. Ever see comedians sitting in a chair made for a giant, dangling their feet well above the floor? That's what over-sized furniture looks like in a small room. Tracey recommends "furniture with wooden legs or unskirted chairs" so light and additional space in the room show through the openings. Think of a comfy chair or love seat instead of the overstuffed, plush couch that's the size of an aircraft carrier.

It's really simple--cut down on the number of objects in a room and you add space. VoilĂ !

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