Small-Space Solutions From a This Old House TV Project

rban living for young families is on the rise, but with it comes a need to think creatively about making the most of limited space. Karen Shen and Kevin Costello loved the extraordinary craftsmanship of their four-story 1904 Renaissance Revival brownstone in Brooklyn, New York, site of the current This Old House TV project. Here are some pointers from their big remodel.


Use Paint to Open Up a Room Paint crown molding to match the ceiling to widen a narrow room. Painting both the crown and ceiling white in this skinny space creates the illusion that the ceiling is wider than it is, minimizing the tunnel-vision effect. Here's another trick: Install flooring, whether it's wood or tile, in a diagonal pattern to help make rooms appear wider than they are.

TOH Tip: Keep compact rooms simple by using small-scale furniture instead of overstuffed pieces.

MORE: Gorgeous Period Details in the TOH TV New York City House

Mirror, Mirror

Place large mirrors facing each other to create the illusion of more space. One looking glass is enough to expand the perceived depth of a room, but two facing each other amplifies the effect even more. Here, a pier mirror on the front parlor wall faces another one in the front hallway, extending the illusion of added space and light indefinitely.

MORE: How to Hang a Heavy Mirror and 24 Other DIY Fundamentals*

Gain Light and Square Feet With a Bay Window Maximize square footage and natural light with bay windows. When this house was built more than a century ago, the standard width of a rowhouse in New York City was a mere 20 feet. Bumping out bay windows was a common architectural trick for gaining precious square footage. It also created room for three ample windows that flood the rooms with sunlight.

MORE: How to Build a Bay in Three Days

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