If your home wasn't blessed with big, welcoming windows, we feel your pain. Sadly, we can't help you fake sunlight, but we can help you trick your eyes into at least thinking your view into the outside world is greater than it appears. All it takes are a few genius design tricks.
Strategically placed curtain rods can help you fudge the width on your window, according to designer Amy Berry. "I like my rods to overhang 15 inches off the edge of the window where possible," she says. This tricks the mind into thinking part of your wall is really glass.
The same way a curtain rods can help you fudge on width, window shades can help exaggerate height. "Hang those shades right under the rod for the appearance of taller windows," says Berry. Plus, this treatment has a very high-end look to it.
"Nothing is worse than skimpy curtains," says Berry. Not only does a thick material make this design accessory appear more expensive, but it also does a better job of concealing windows and light when you use tricks like extending curtain rods beyond the frame.
"Extending your draperies from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall surrounding your window makes them appear bigger," explains Francesco Bilotto. The reason? This makes it unclear when windows stop and walls start.
Or opt for a window frame that's larger than standard dimensions. By adding thickness around your average-sized windows, your windows will make a bigger impact in the room and appear larger, says Bilotto.
If you want your window to appear taller and wider, try this trick from designer Don Stewart: "Install an extra long curtain rod at, or near, the ceiling for floor length drapes to create this illusion." This basically combines two window tricks into one — genius.
This is especially important if your window frames are white, too. "Paint the walls surrounding your window a darker cool color and the walls will recede and the window will pop," says Stewart.
Not everyone can paint their walls, or wants to repaint them white after they decide to move (we know, renter problems are tough). But that's okay. "Paint your trim a shade darker, like a putty, to achieve a similar affect," says Stewart. Since this is a smaller surface, it won't take as long to repaint later.
Even what you use to furnish your room can make a difference in how your windows appear to the eye. "Place smaller or low-profile furniture pieces near or under the window so the eye is tricked by scale," says Bilotto.
"Fabrics with vertical patterns will add height to your windows and draw your eye upward," says Stewart. "Horizontally-oriented patterns will create the illusion of width." The most common vertical pattern being stripes, naturally.
That might mean using a fabric made out of different materials (think: cotton and silk stripes) or overlaying two different textures on top of each other. "This gives a sense of depth and movement," says designer Jamie Drake.
We're talking furniture, walls, curtains, you name it. "It's as if you're dipping the whole room in a bucket of paint and it takes away all the boundaries," says designer Barry Dixon. "You're left with the infinity of the universe. It's like Houdini came in and decorated."
A bold, in-your-face pattern on your curtains is all it takes to draw your eyes to the windows — and away from everything else. Here, black vertical stripes near the inner part of the curtains points the eyes up to make ceilings appear taller, too.