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When it comes to flooring, there’s one challenge that can stump even the best interior designer: space. Or, more specifically, the lack thereof. Not every room gives you the luxury of a thousand-square-foot blank canvas to work with.

There are, however, some clever ways to get the most out of even the tightest confines in your home. These tricks of the trade won’t turn a closet into a spare bedroom, but they can make a considerable difference when designing for small spaces.

By both maximizing the use of the available real estate and creating the illusion of more space through the deft use of color, plank width, orientation, and finish, the following 5 tips will ensure you get the most out of the flooring you choose for the smaller spaces in your home.


1. Choose Color Wisely

Color can make a huge difference in how big or small a space feels. By reflecting light, lighter colored flooring gives a greater impression of open space in a room. Naturally light-colored hardwood is a great way to boost a cramped space’s perceived volume, especially when paired with walls painted in a corresponding shade. Low-contrast design eliminates the horizon line between flooring and walls, creating the illusion of a more expansive, unrestricted space.

Light colors aren’t your only option, though. There’s a common misconception that dark wood floors should never be used in small rooms. But if you love dark hardwood, you can offset it with lighter, cooler tones in your walls and furniture for a visually striking juxtaposition that will prevent the room from feeling claustrophobic.

Whatever your choice, it’s best to use the same color flooring throughout your home, especially if you’re dealing with smaller spaces. The uniformity will help make the house feel like one continuous area flooded with light and space.


2. Get Creative with Width, Length & Orientation

The width, length and placement of your floorboards also make a difference in perceived space. Wide planks in a small room can have the same effect as broad stripes on a person—they can make the room look bigger. Fewer seams means the space is less visually complicated and therefore less crowded.

Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is a great option for small spaces, offering a variety of plank widths in virtually any natural style and color you can imagine. LVT featuring a waterproof wood-plastic composite (WPC) core is an even better option for small spaces where water can be an issue, like kitchens and bathrooms. If you have your heart set on hardwood floors, however, engineered hardwood is the way to go. It offers greater versatility than solid wood in small spaces and comes in plank widths up to 12” as well.

When it comes to the length of your floorboards, long or short boards can work in your favor, for different reasons. Depending on the size of the room, long boards may run the full length or width of the space. This sleek, uniform look can help to make the room look bigger.

Short boards, however, can have a different positive effect. Because the eye expects floor boards to be a certain length, it can be tricked into thinking a room is bigger if more joins in the floor are visible. It all depends on the dimensions of the space, but a little creativity can go a long way.

Tricks involving the plank dimensions and orientation don’t end there. Others include placing planks parallel to the longest wall of the room to expand the space visually. You can also run planks or parquet diagonal to the walls to direct the eye outward and create a more expansive feel.



3. Select the Right Finish

When it comes to choosing the right finish for wood flooring in a small room, the number one rule of thumb is: keep it simple. The last thing you need in a confined space is lots of glare or shine at floor level.

A simple yet quality finish will give a sleek impression and make any room feel bigger. DUCHATEAU’s hard-wax oil finishes offer a range of colors, from clear to dark amber, and create a warm, natural matte appearance that’s perfect for small spaces.



4. Make Use of Vertical Space

Of course, the available space in any room isn’t limited to its floors alone. Empty walls can be hung with shelving and cupboards that free up floor space, thereby increasing the impression of space overall.

The use of wall space shouldn’t be limited to functionality, either. Wall coverings are a great way to add beauty and style to a room without creating clutter. Incorporating repeating motifs both vertically and horizontally will add depth to any space. Coordinating the pattern with your flooring can create a dynamic unity that takes this depth even further.



5. Avoid Clutter

Nothing makes a room feel more claustrophobic than clutter, so it’s wise to keep things uncomplicated when choosing your wood, furnishings, and other appointments.

Keep borders and accents simple as well. They can be a great way to add life to your flooring, but they stand out even more when space is limited. Go easy on the furniture and rugs, which can also make a room feel smaller. By keeping your floor space as clear as possible, you will give the largest possible impression of space.

For the furniture you do use, it’s best to opt for sofas and chairs that aren’t flush with the floor. Pieces with legs allow light to pass through them and open up a room. Glass or other clear furnishings are another great idea.

Finally, the strategic placement of a hanging mirror will go a long way toward increasing the impression of space. It also helps to showcase your beautiful floors while taking up virtually no space of its own.



The Takeaway

Flooring can have a remarkable effect on small spaces, opening up confined areas with perceived depth and openness. It’s all about choosing the right flooring style for your unique space.

Whether you’re looking for hardwood floors in naturally light hues or luxury vinyl tile with wide planks and uniform variation, DUCHATEAU’s vast selection of flooring and wall coverings has everything an interior designer could want when designing for smaller spaces.

Our flooring design specialists are ready to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today for more information. 1.888.382.4283

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