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How Carpet Can Make A Small Space Look Bigger

Everyone has that room in their house that they wish was bigger — a spare bedroom or an office that you don’t know quite what to do with. You can’t physically make the room bigger, and you’ve already pared down the amount of furniture that you keep in it, but it still feels cramped. What can you do?

Luckily, the right flooring can help brighten and expand the perception of a room’s size, making it feel airy and larger than it actually is. Here’s how.

Install Wall-To-Wall Carpet

“Broadloom” carpet usually comes in 12-foot-wide rolls and is the most common carpet used to completely carpet a room. Installing carpet on every square foot of a room creates a sense of continuity, stretching from one side of the room to the other without interruption.

By contrast, smaller area rugs, tiles, or wood floors — even big area rugs that don’t quite fill the room — provide lots of visual stops and starts for the eye to catch on. They make the whole floor seem busier than it needs to be and give a sense of clutter, even when the rest of the decoration in the room is neat and tidy. Wood floors are great for making big rooms feel cozy, but not the other way around.

Which Colors And Patterns To Choose

In general, darker colors will make a room feel smaller and warmer — if you have a big living room, bedroom, or basement that feels too empty and cavernous, a darker carpet or patterned flooring will help draw the eye inward and make the space feel less sprawling.

For the opposite — a small room that you want to look bigger — go the opposite direction. Lighter colors, especially light earth tones like beige, sand, and taupe, will create a smooth expanse on the floor that doesn’t distract the eye and makes the whole space feel brighter and more open.

You can use textured carpet if you like, but keep it subtle — berber flecks or cut-and-pile textures are fine, but don’t go overboard with geometric patterns or deep frieze. The patterns and textures we offer are subtle and sophisticated, so if you come to our showroom you are sure to find a variety of options.

Patterns and colors aren’t out of the question, but they need to be scaled appropriately to the room. If your small bedroom has a red theme, a lighter reddish-brown might enhance the color scheme better than a darker print.

The same goes for colored patterns. The rule of thumb for patterns is that larger rooms can accommodate larger patterns, but really it’s more dependent on how much open space there is in the room. A guest room might feel spacious when it’s empty, but a king bed will occupy most of the space in the middle, leaving narrower areas of open carpet around the sides. Scale your patterns and colors for how much carpet is visible, not the amount of carpet in the whole room.

Using Area Rugs Instead Of Carpet

We don’t recommend using area rugs to fill a room, and using several small rugs will make the floor look cluttered and smaller, but if you want to fill a room with one big rug, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First to consider is size. Most people choose a rug that’s too small, which makes the visual lines of the flooring look choppy and disjointed. In a living room, for example, you want a rug that extends to the back of the sofa, not just the space between the front of the sofa and the wall.

Ideally, you’d use a custom rug that extends to within about a foot of each wall of your room — that will achieve the same sense of continuity and openness that you’d get with wall-to-wall carpet. The problem is that custom area rugs, especially of that size, can be very expensive and are usually less durable than carpet.

When it comes to color, the same rule applies as with carpet. Lots of rugs are designed as accent pieces, designed to draw the eye and cover up large expanses of empty floor that would otherwise look out of place in a well-decorated room.

But remember, we’re trying to do the opposite! Colors should be light and subtle, patterns shouldn’t be too bold, and remember to scale the size of the pattern to the floor space available.

In general, we recommend wall-to-wall carpet for small rooms. It’s durable, attractive, easy to clean, and it will last you and your family for years!