Favorite Fixes From a Real Estate Investor: What to Do When You Can’t Knock Down a Wall

Let’s say you have a room that’s really small, too dark for your taste, or maybe just awkwardly shaped. You’d like to knock out a wall or two and open up the space, but unfortunately that’s just not an option. You’re most likely wondering, should you even try to improve your problem room or is it best to leave it alone?

If you’ve watched our show, HGTV’s Flip or Flop, you probably already know that we’re big fans of open concept rooms. We love going in and knocking out obstructive walls to let more light in and give our buyers more space—but we know this isn’t always an option for everyone. During our years of flipping houses, though, we’ve come to love something else—all of the tricks we’ve learned on how to improve just about any room, without even changing the floor plan. Here’s some of our favorite ways to maximize the space in a room and create more continuity in the house, too—without getting out the sledgehammers.

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Small windows – Hanging your window treatments up high near the ceiling immediately draws eyes up the wall, giving the illusion of a taller window, which also tends to make the whole room look bigger and more open. We love how these white, gauzy curtains create a light and airy feel to the room.

Dark  or cramped rooms – Mirrors are your best friend in both a dark room, where the light bounces and creates depth, as well as in a cramped room, because of how the mirror creates the illusion of double the space. Chandeliers also work well for the same reason, in a dark room especially—and with plug-in options, you can hang a chandelier without even rewiring the room.

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Narrow hallways – No more tiny tunnels in your home! You can make a narrow hallway look wider by hanging large matching mirrors opposite each other to create the illusion of magnified space. This also chases away shadows and keeps light bouncing—a surefire way to trick the eye into seeing the hallway wider than it actually is. If you’re hanging wallpaper, go with light-colored stripes in neutral tones to add to the illusion.

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Closed-off kitchens – If the wall between your kitchen and living room is load bearing and you can’t knock it out, we recommend knocking part of it out. Cutting a rectangular hole in it can add shelf space, let light in, and create more continuity between the kitchen and living room. You can even add a bar or counter, depending on your kitchen design. The kitchen pictured above is the perfect example of creating the appearance of more space—because you can see so much of the room, it almost appears as if there is no wall in the way. Now that’s a creative way to work with what you’ve got!

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This guest post was written by Christina El Moussa. Along with her husband and business partner Tarek El Moussa, she is an experienced real estate investor and reality TV star.  Since starting Success Path Education, a program providing real estate investment training, the couple has helped students all over the country successfully find and flip houses. 

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