Room Fixes


Interior designers are often called upon to create optical or architectural illusions in a room. This section offers a description of the most common decorating problems and their possible solutions.

Key Points

  • Room looks to small – To create the illusion of a larger room, keep all room elements within the same color scheme. Select only one pattern and minimize contrasts in both color and pattern. Rooms where color and pattern blend together look larger. Keep colors light and cool and patterns small.
  • Room is too large, impersonal – Large patterns and dark colors can make a large, impersonal space more inviting. Horizontal patterns can bring down the height of the ceiling. Creating an accent wall using a contrasting wallcovering often helps draw the focus of the room to a specific area, making it more personal.
  • Space is too formal – To transform a formal room into something more casual, select wallcoverings and furnishings with low, horizontal lines. Mix and match patterns and colors depending on the use of the room. Add texture in fabrics, wallcoverings and floor coverings to emphasize a casual feel. It is also important to mix and match furnishings as sets or matching pieces to establish a more formal feel. Casual settings tend to dominate in residential settings or contract settings where guests are encouraged to relax and feel at home.
  • Space is too casual – In many residential homes and contract settings, a formal space may be required, especially to receive guests or clients. Formal settings require height, so make the ceiling look taller with vertical lines. Striped wallcoverings are effective in heightening a room. Add to the vertical height with taller furniture and floor to ceiling window treatments. Smooth, polished surfaces and plush carpeting or area rugs add to the formal atmosphere. Making the room symmetrical – matching lamps, sets of chairs – is also a must for formal settings.
  • Room too dark – For rooms with little natural light, cool colors can open up a room. Patterns can be large or small, depending on room size. The larger the room, the more pattern it can accommodate. Smooth wallcoverings using metallic or iridescent inks that can help reflect light are ideal. Light woods, glass, mirrors and open furniture also add light.
  • Space receives ample light – Rooms with strong sun exposure or projects located in warmer climates benefit from wallcoverings in cool colors and floral, even tropical, patterns. Using cool colors can help a room feel cooler. Airy furnishings and fabrics will also turn down the heat. Textured wallcoverings hold shadows and bring the brightness down.
  • Space looks "cold” – Rooms with little sun, or rooms used mostly when the sun is not out, benefit from warm colors. Any pattern is viable, depending on the size of the room and the look desired. Dark, warm colors create an intimate setting. Light warm colors make the space cheerier. Smooth wallcoverings will help reflect light and add warmth to the room. The use of lighting and mirrors can also help warm up a room.
  • Neutrals are boring – Brighten up the look of neutrals by adding bright colored accents throughout the room. Adding colorful or patterned wallcoverings also brighten up the space.
  • Space needs more architectural interest – Wallcoverings are ideal for creating architecture where none exists. There are wallcoverings available that simulate medallions, tiles, tin ceilings, etc. and can be hung to create architectural illusion. Borders can also create moldings, wainscoting and frames for focal pieces.
  • Room doesn’t look "finished” – To create a total atmosphere, consider hanging wallcoverings on the ceiling. The ceiling of any room should be considered the "fifth wall” and should not be overlooked in the design process. Finishing the ceiling with wallcoverings provides the ultimate finished look for any residential or contract setting.


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