Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Home Planning Expert Advice Room Size Tricks that Work

Room Size Tricks that Work

By Steven Stokes

At the start of my career, I worked for a production company traveling through North America and Europe, going to different halls that we turned into performance venues. Sometimes it was a soccer stadium, a high school gym, occasionally a real theater and many times just a big room in a conference space.

While many of these spaces could hold a myriad of programs and events, rarely did they fit our needs exactly, so we got quite adept at making big rooms small and small rooms big. Try some of these tips the next time you are stuck with a space that’s not quite right.

Big to Cozy
Consider setting the room off-center. For a client that booked a space that was too big, we set the stage, seats, VIP reception area and all accompanying furniture at a 45-degree angle off the walls.

One of the simplest ways to get more out of a large space is to divide the room into sections. Use pipe and drape, decorative screens or curtains to separate areas for dining, dancing and drinking that can be revealed at key points throughout the event.

Drop the ceiling using fabric, weather balloons or cellophane paper. These items physically lower the space and make for great reflective surfaces for uplighting, which further works to make the space feel more intimate.

Consider hanging picture frames or art in many different shapes, sizes and colors from the ceiling or walls. In doing this, you can instantly transform the large space into a work of art and create the illusion of different rooms.

Add conversation furniture to a space; it gets people away from the typical tables and high-top cabaret tables and into a more intimate conversation.

Definitely include mood lighting. From simple candlelight and paper lanterns to chandeliers and spotlights, lighting alters the tone of the event and creates the illusion of warmth in a large room. Use uplights to flood the wall with colored light. Select lights that change color to help set different moods throughout the event.

Fill vertical space in rooms with trees or tall shrubs that can be set against the walls or used in a tall table centerpiece. Another option when trees are not in the budget are helium-filled balloons, decorated tree branches or tall bamboo poles.

Small to Grand
Mirrors hung wall-to-wall may seem a little garish, but adding a little glass opens up the area and reflects light.

Be sure the décor matches the needs of the room by using light colors with dark accents. It is all about creating the illusion of something being bigger.

You’ve probably heard that a clean, white ceiling will open up a space. However, giving your ceiling texture with bright colors and fun fixtures draws the eye upward, creating the illusion of height in a room.

While it is easy to assume that you should decorate a small space with small furniture, you will be able to create an airier atmosphere by displaying one prominent item such as a unique bar or feature wall rather than putting tons of tiny pieces everywhere.

Look for glass/clear plastic tables and chairs to add to the space. Lights matched with the clear glass gives the appearance of a larger space and creates a very clean look.

The next time you are in a space for an event that needs to be the right space, consider these tips and let me know how it goes. I always appreciate seeing what others do to transform the wrong space into just right the space for a client’s big (or small) event.

Steven Stokes

Steven Stokes is program chair for the Event Management Certificate Program (EMCP) at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton and operates Events Etc.