Head to any mass furniture retailer or browse any popular decorating blog and there’s a good chance there will be an entire section dedicated to small-space design: petite sofas, practical storage furniture, and scaled-down case goods designed to maximize limited square footage. What you won’t find so readily, however, are tips and advice for the opposite challenge: decorating a large home. While too much space isn’t typically thought of as a problem like small spaces are, expansive rooms can be just as hard–or even harder–to decorate than tiny ones. You not only have to fill up more space, but make it feel cozy and cohesive, too, both goals that are harder to achieve with more room.
The good news: it’s not impossible to decorate a large room well. Here, our best tips for doing it right.
Use color. In a big room, it’s easier to make a misstep when it comes to creating a harmonious space — there are simply more chances to go awry. The simplest way to ensure the many decor elements in a large space contribute to a cohesive whole is to choose a defined color palette and stick to it. Choose two-to-three accent shades and repeat each one three-to-four times throughout the room across textiles, paint colors, and accessories.
Use a colorful rug to inform a cohesive color palette in a big room:
Add texture. While sleek, streamlined design and a minimalist mentality may keep a small space from feeling cluttered, the same approach can leave a large room from feeling cold or cavernous. The best way to prevent this is to add a wide variety of texture to the room. Think: faux-fur throw pillows, high-pile area rugs, faux-bois wallpaper, and an array of different wood tones and finishes.
Add plush texture with this gorgeous velvet sofa:
Divide and conquer. Buying larger pieces isn’t necessarily the answer to filling up a big room. Instead, use furniture arrangements and area rugs to divide an expansive space into smaller zones or areas within the room. Create multiple seating areas within a long living room, for example, or turn one side of a big bedroom into a lounge and reading nook. This will not only look better, but help the space function to its full potential, too.
A pair of barrel chairs and a cocktail table creates a chic reading nook in a large bedroom.
Consider scale and proportion. While you don’t want to simply fill a big room with big furniture, scale and proportion are especially important in a large room which requires more furniture in order to feel “full.” You not only want to pay attention to the scale of the furniture in the room (too many small pieces will just look diminutive and cluttered), but also to the proportion of the pieces in the room to each other. A large, overstuffed sofa calls for an equally weighty coffee table, so it’d be better to opt for an old steamer trunk over a low-profile midcentury table, for example.
An ornate Mahogany cocktail table can hold its own next to larger-scale furnishings.