You might have just upgraded your home from a small apartment to a large home, and suddenly you have a huge empty space with your few belongings looking lost, or perhaps you have everything you need but have a dead space that needs filling.

Use large bookshelves – one way to help fill an empty room is to turn one wall into a library and create a beautiful display using your book collection - just make sure shelving is strong enough and securely fixed to the wall!

You could use some of the shelves to display other objects or organise the books in a creative way, maybe alphabetically in sections leaving gaps for other things, or in zigzag patterns. Visit second-hand shops - they often have great collections of old books with interesting spines or subject matter that you can pick up for next to nothing.

Create separate zones – you can break up a really big room by creating distinct zones. A simple way is by adding half-wall columns or even fine floaty curtains – they aren’t just for windows these days and are a cheap way to divide space. You could use folding screens, which can in themselves be design features, or even freestanding wooden cubes containing baskets will break up your space. A couch or chair, or even the TV console itself can act as dividers, keeping the room open, by creating separate areas to lounge, play games, watch TV, and eat.

Use lounging chairs – these create an area that is distinct and separate in the main room, for someone to sit and read - or take a nap! It is important that the chair is comfortable, but it can also be a visual feature of the room, and with a small side table and a lamp, you can create the perfect place to sit and read. Wicker furniture in a corner that’s different from the rest of the room could make a nice space, and a chaise longue might be an option too – a bay window alcove being a delightful spot to place it, they almost beg you to stretch out and watch the world go by.

Use large indoor plants – there are many plants that are easy to maintain indoors, and they will bring calm to any room and can purify and improve air quality. With larger plants, you can even use them to break up different areas of your room by creating privacy screens or just adding a wow factor or focal point to a large room. Hanging plants are good too, without actually taking up floor space.

Add an office nook – your space can be multi-functional - creating a little area on the wall with a desk, chair and lighting can be the perfect place to sit and do work, write letters or do arty-crafty stuff, while still being part of your larger social space. The desk can be free-standing or floating, depending on the aesthetic you want and the amount of space available.

Go big! – if your budget can handle it, fill the space by choosing large furniture pieces. A large sectional couch can be so luxurious, and pairing it with large side tables, coffee tables, or accent chairs can really fill a large room. Add cushions and throws to complete the look, and your smaller pieces can be tucked in here and there as accents. If you have tall ceilings, opt for taller furniture whenever possible.

Play with wallpaper – if your walls can take it, wallpaper can give the illusion of filling a room without adding anything - it’s a great way to create texture and depth in a room. Making an accent wall will create a pop without overwhelming your room.

Area rugs – are a great and easy way to add warmth, and will automatically make the room feel full, and if you get the right one, it will pull all your different colours together.

There are so many ways to fill even the largest living room, and adding photos or artwork on the walls will work too – either or both will make your room really feel like home.


Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. 

Marilyn Sheridan