Clever use of flooring can play a big part in making poky rooms appear larger.

It’s a fact: our homes are shrinking. The average lounge in new-build houses is now 32 per cent smaller than in equivalent homes built in the 1970s. Add to that a general shortage of family homes in towns and cities and it’s little wonder many of us are living in flats and houses that are on the ‘compact’ side.

What this all means – apart from nowhere to store the Christmas decorations – is that we’re having to become more savvy when it comes to interior design, and employ a few tricks and techniques to make the most of the space we DO have. Clever use of flooring, in particular, can play a big part in making poky rooms appear larger. Here’s how…

A PALE-COLOURED FLOOR like our Woodmark Azur vinyl will help to bounce light around – vital in a small room – which can make a space seem more airy. To maximise the effect, paint walls white and hang plenty of mirrors.

USING THE SAME FLOORING across several linked rooms will create the illusion of flow and can make a collection of small disparate spaces feel like one continuous area.

A SIMPLE DECORATOR’S TRICK for making a room feel more spacious is to lay floorboards parallel to the longest wall. Square room? Then position the planks towards the source of incoming light. Another idea is to lay tiles or boards diagonally; as a diagonal line from one corner of a room to the opposite corner is the longest straight line that can be drawn on a surface, this technique can trick the brain into thinking a space is larger than it actually is.

WHEN IT COMES TO PATTERN SIZE, large-scale tiles or wide floorboards are the way to go – they’ll work wonders in creating the illusion of space. A plain-coloured floor like our Quartz Pro PU Sand vinyl is even better, as there are no bevels or grout lines to break up the space.

IN SMALL ROOMS you want as much of the floor as possible to be visible. Rugs or large pieces of heavy furniture will interrupt the visual flow of the space, so where possible, choose wall-hung furniture or pieces made from clear glass or Perspex.

While these space-boosting tips can definitely be useful, don’t feel too constrained if you’re decorating a tiny room. Small spaces actually allow for plenty of creativity. A repeat pattern that might look too busy across a large area, for instance, can look fantastic when used as a hero feature in a more modestly sized room. Feel free to experiment!