Loading... Please wait...

4 Ways to Ensure a Large Room Doesn’t End up Feeling Too Stark


4 Ways to Ensure a Large Room Doesn’t End up Feeling Too Stark

  • By Freshome
  • Posted by Marika 12/11/18

Normally at Freshome, we spend a lot of time talking about how to design around small spaces. However, the reality is that those with the opposite problem also deserve our time and attention. Today, we’re revealing our best tricks for how to design a large room. Read on to learn how to put together an expansive space without it feeling too stark.

large room

Break the room up into distinct functional areas. Image: Lindye Galloway Interiors

Visually divide the space

Here’s one of the biggest secrets in dealing with expansive spaces: You can break the space up however you choose. In this case, each large room in your home doesn’t have to have one, singular purpose. Instead, you can divide the space up into distinctly different areas in order to increase functionality while using up square footage at the same time.

Take the photo above as an example. Yes, the main purpose of the room is to serve as a bedroom. However, if the room was just a bed and some dresser drawers, it would be swimming in empty space. That’s why the owner included two additional seating areas. The room still offers plenty of room to sleep, yet you now also have a place to curl up with a good book or your morning coffee.

If you decide to go this route, you’ll design the room the same way that you would an open concept space. Go in with a plan of attack for what purpose you want each of the distinct areas to serve. Then, include visual clues like area rugs, lighting fixtures and designated pathways to help signify to the viewer that each section of the room has its own unique purpose.


Use a rug to ground the room. Image: Blue Ocean Design

Anchor the room with a rug

If you’re looking to visually tie a large room together, there’s no better way to do so than with a great area rug. An area rug will help ground a seating area, dining table or bedframe. It helps by making the placement of the furniture look purposeful rather than like all of your pieces are just floating out in space.

When buying an area rug, the correct sizing is key. In general, you can follow these guidelines:

  • If you’re choosing a full room rug, remember to leave room for a border of flooring around all sides. 18 inches is considered the standard border measurement.
  • If your rug will be grounding a seating area, measure the length and width of the seating area in its current layout and buy the next size up.
  • If the rug is meant to highlight a piece of furniturelike a dining table, make sure it’s big enough to extend beyond the piece with room on all sides. For a dining table, 24 inches is standard. However, it should be less if you’re working with a smaller piece like a coffee table.

That said, the placement of your furniture is also important. When designing a large space, it can be tempting to place all of your furniture along the walls. However, doing so can leave an uncomfortable amount of dead space in the middle of the room. Instead, think about keeping your furniture – and by extension, area rug – centralized. At that point, any extra square footage will become a useful walkway.


Choose furniture that fits the scale of the room. Image: Mary Cook

Pay attention to scale

Another thing to think about is the scale of the items, and especially the furniture, that you put in the room. In interior design parlance, scale and proportion refer to how well an item’s size corresponds to the room itself. Here, it stands to reason that if you have to fill a larger room, you’d want to also have larger furniture to go with it.

You’ll want to focus on finding furniture that has a heavier visual weight. In general, upholstered items often look heavier than those without cushions. Furniture that sits low to the ground appears heavier than items on tapered legs. Keep in mind, this principle extends beyond furniture, too. You’ll also want to find lighting fixtures and wall art, for example, that are large enough to work within the space.


When in doubt, think in multiples. Image: JCD Custom Home Design

Think in multiples

The last tip we have to offer for larger rooms is to not be afraid to double up on furniture and accessories in order to take up more space. It may seem strange at first to try and wrap your head around the idea of having two couches and two ottomans, but as you can see from the picture above, you can use multiples to create a chic look.

If you decide to go this route, it’s important to give the large room a sense of balance. Not only has balance been shown to be psychologically pleasing, but it will also help your design to feel more cohesive. Focus on using your doubled design elements to create near mirror images.