How to Make Your Office Feel Bigger Than It Actually Is

Use these design techniques to give your cramped office a boost.

Face it: large office space is expensive. As much as you might want to work out of a private office the size of a small apartment, in most cases this isn’t possible. Small businesses and early-stage startups are all in the same boat of having to cope with small rooms andĀ open layouts.

But that’s not to say that you can’t at least make your place feel bigger. Just as with retail design, there are plenty of visual tricks that can make a room feel bigger than it actually is. Let’s go over a few practical techniques and how you can implement them.

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1) Open the windows and let in the natural light.

Not only does natural sunlight works wonders for your mood, but it also affects your perception of space. If the windows are open, the view will make your space feel connected to the outside. A cramped room feels less cramped when you can see the street right from the window (or rather, imagine how tight a small room would feel if it didn’t have windows).

Of course, this technique is only as good as your view. If your window is facing a brick wall, it’s not going to do much to expand your field of view and connect you to the outside world. Still, if you do have a passable view, don’t waste it by keeping the curtains shut all day.

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2) Use a light color palette.

Light colors feel more warm and inviting than dark colors. You can make use of this by painting the walls in light shades and by using some light-colored furniture. This effect compounds with the aforementioned natural light; if both are on point, the room will feel significantly brighter and more open.

Thanks to the way natural light works, we can’t help but associate dark, shadowy sights with cramped space. Brightness always equals spaciousness and openness in the natural world. We’re simply trying to mirror that within your office.

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3) Glass and mirrors are your friends.

We’ve all seen the mirror effect in cramped restaurants and retail stores. A well-placed mirror can make a small space seem like twice its size, until you see yourself moving in it. Logically, the same rules apply to offices. You might not want to install a huge mirror and make everyone watch themselves work, but if you have a dark corner with not much going on, you can drop a mirror there and make it feel more open.

Glass works a bit differently. While it can’t artificially expand the appearance of your space, it can stop you from making the space even smaller. Every piece of solid furniture you add will make the office visually more congested. Glass furniture and walls help mitigate this effect; they serve their practical function, but there’s translucent to the eye. Glass desks in particular are a great way to maximize both utility and perception of space.

These are a few of our favorite tricks, but there are more creative solutions out there. When in doubt, just play with your furniture layout and lighting setup; you might stumble into something new.