Today’s baby boomers are retiring, leaving their suburban homes, and looking for new digs nearer the city. Downsizing seniors want to exchange maximum upkeep with fewer household chores to keep them chained to the house on weekends. They want more freedom to enjoy life – to walk to the shops and to dine at close by restaurants and cafes. Selling your small house or apartment this spring may be an idea whose time has come. According to the real estate stylist, the secret to catching the eye of these shoppers is to maximise the look of little spaces. It doesn’t have to be big, but it needs to look that way.

If your place is what some selling agents call “cosy”, now is the time to consider some of the many small steps that can virtually expand your rooms to make them look grander than they really are.


You don’t have to paint all your walls and ceilings white. The paint police won’t show up and haul you off to jail for using colour to show off your little space, just remember that light and bright colours tend to make spaces feel light and airy. Darker colours absorb the light and make small spaces seem smaller.

Use wall colours in white, blue, gray or pale green. Cool colours make the walls seem to recede. Use the same colour for trim; just go with a shinier, glossier finish. This not only makes the room feel larger, it will be easier to clean.

Painting the ceiling white will make it rise – or seem to rise – by drawing the eyes upward.


The more natural light you can bring into the room, the larger the room will feel. The simple fact is that a view of the outside makes that space feel as if it’s an extension of the room. The less interference you allow from window treatments, the larger your room will appear to be. Just for the record, if you simply cannot live without curtains, make them the same colour as the walls. This doesn’t chop up the wall space visually but makes it all blend together.

Consider sheers or go commando with a blind or shades for privacy if you can get away with it. Extend the curtain rods beyond the window by about 30cm laterally if you can so that the fabric of the window treatments can be pulled to the edges of the window frame itself, sacrificing nothing of your view and your precious natural light. Mount those curtain rods just below the ceiling to stretch your window walls.

Of course, windows need to be spotlessly clean and totally streak free – the goal is to eliminate any reminder that something is standing between you and Mother Nature.

Lighten up the Flooring

If you’re stuck with dark coloured hardwood floors or carpeting, use handy-dandy area rugs in light colours to eliminate the gloom as much as possible. Better yet, tear up that carpet and see what lies beneath. If the wood is dark too, the real estate stylist suggests considering upgrading to a good-grade laminate in something like bamboo that doesn’t soak up the light quite so thoroughly.

Be Lavish with Lighting

There are times when the sun doesn’t shine. Of course you already knew about the concept of night and rainy days, but the trick is to compensate at those times when your rooms aren’t awash in natural light.

Layering light at different levels in your room can give your space added depth. Don’t rely entirely on a ceiling fixture – even if it’s a dazzler. Instead, add lighting at different levels throughout the room. You can use track lighting to highlight art on the walls or a collection of baskets on your shelves. Then, when you add table lamps, you can get a warmly lit room without any stark shadows that can make the whole place shrink.

If you’re planning to list your small house or apartment for sale this year, now is the time to start thinking of ways you can keep the “cosy” feel but make your property appear to be considerably larger. These ideas, along with a few strategic choices in furnishings properly arranged, can do that trick for you. Bon chance!

Image courtesy of Brosa.

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