Placing mirrors in strategic places is a common method for making a small space look bigger. But there's only so much mirrors can do, so what other illusory design tricks can you try?

Flooring Plays A Role

Turns out your choice of flooring affects a room's perceived size, so if you want to make a space seem bigger, consider installing hardwood flooring composed of wide planks instead of strips. Boards fewer than three inches wide create a lot of seams, making the room look busy and confined, whereas wider boards result in a smooth and open surface.

It's All In The Layout

If you want to elongate the room, locate the longest wall and lay out the boards parallel to it. This method will make a space seem much longer than it actually is. However, if the room is horizontally cramped, avoid placing the boards lengthwise. If you want something different, you can also choose to go diagonal. This pattern draws the eye for from one far corner to another, leaving the impression that the room is wide.

Dark Is Beautiful

What about color? You may think that dark hardwood constricts a space, but it actually has the opposite effect. The secret lies in the color of the walls. Dark hardwood like acacia or walnut opens up a room when the walls, molding, and trim are painted in a light, cool color. This combination works because cool colors recede while warm colors advance. Visually, the room expands as the walls seem to move further to the sides and the floor takes center stage.

Proper Maintenance Goes a Long Way

Lastly, always keep your hardwood floor shiny and clean. Reflective surfaces create the perception of a bigger space (which is precisely the reason why mirrors are so popular as home decor to begin with), and hardwood floors are no exception.

When expanding a room isn't practical, you can still rely on interior design to make the space seem bigger. Ultimately, size is in the eye of the beholder.