Most homeowners install hardwood floors because they like the look of wood flooring, find it easy to clean and want to increase the value of their home. Hardwood flooring has a fourth benefit, one that many homeowners don't think about. When well designed, a hardwood flooring can make rooms appear bigger than they really are. Here are four ways to visually expand the size of your home's rooms by simply installing a hardwood floor.
Hallways are often the narrowest space in a home. Making them appear longer just makes them look narrower. Therefore, it is preferable to make a hallway look like it is wider, rather than longer.
To create a widening effect in a hallway, install boards perpendicular to the hallway's walls. The perpendicular lines will create an optical illusion that gives the impression of width, even if your hallway is narrow.
Make sure there are no seams in the boards, as these would break up the pattern and counteract the optical illusion. Since hallways are only a few feet wide, you should not have a problem finding boards that run the width of your hallway.
This effect also works well in narrow kitchens, where cupboards create a space that is about as wide as a hallway. In such kitchens, the boards should be installed perpendicular to the cabinets.
Extend Rooms Outdoors
This specific strategy only works in rooms that have a floor-to-ceiling view outdoors. If your home has a room with full-length windows or a sliding glass door, then a hardwood floor can extend the room by making it look like part of the outdoors.
By placing long boards perpendicular to the room's windows or sliding glass door, the floor will direct people's eye outside. As Judy Stringer explains on Cleavland.com, people's eyes follow lines. In this case, the long, uninterrupted lines in your wood flooring are guiding people's vision outdoors. The ultimate effect is that the room seems to extend into the outdoors.
Expand Small Rooms
You can make small rooms look bigger by installing the hardwood floor at an angle. Rather than placing the boards so they are parallel to one of the walls, set them at a 45-degree angle. This will direct people's eyes towards the corner's of the rooms, thus expanding the room.
For an example, assume you have a small bedroom that measures 10 ft. by 10 ft. If the flooring in this room runs parallel to a wall, the longest seam would be 10 ft. (This is the measurement between two walls.) If the boards are at a 45-degree angle to the walls, however, then the longest seam would be just over 14 ft. (This is the distance between two opposite corners of the room.) The longer seam would make the room visually expand.
Go Into Other Rooms
Using the same flooring material in all of your rooms will give your home a sense of cohesion and make every room look a little bigger.
As people move from one room to another, the flooring will tie everything together. Each room will flow into the next. Because the line between one room and the next is slightly blurred, each room looks a little larger. Its borders are less defined, and it is less confined.
Of course, you should use the same wood throughout your home if you are trying to create this effect.
If you are thinking about redoing your home's floors, consider installing hardwood flooring throughout your house. The long lines created by wood floors can be used in a variety of ways to make your home's rooms appear bigger than they really are.