The Perception of a Space

November 14, 2020

How to visually alter the size of a space, with only surface-level changes

Interior spaces come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are tall and narrow, some have low ceilings with lengthy walls. In addition, many spaces lack natural light, making them feel smaller than they actually are. Depending on the project, a commercial design client may desire their space to be perceived differently. This is an instance where materials and finishes become a designer’s greatest tool. Using design elements and principles such as contrast, space, hierarchy, and depth, an interior designer has the ability to completely manipulate the spatial perception of a space.

Whether is be a restaurant, retail store, or dental clinic, Janks Design Group has had the opportunity to practice this interior design skill for various projects. With many commercial spaces being long and narrow, JDG incorporates various elements that make the space feel less like a tunnel, and more like a communal space for an enjoyable experience.
Here are some examples:

Lowering the Ceiling + Breaking Up the Space into Functional Areas

At Yugo Restaurant on Main Street, JDG identified various areas of the restaurant through materials and ceiling heights. For guests looking for a more intimate experience, the long wall was designed to provide this experience. With raised banquette seating and a lowered ceiling feature that carries down the wall, this area of the restaurant provides a cozy and upscale environment. On the other side, the brick wall with loose seating and a light ceiling provides a more casual atmosphere. Last but not least, the bar millwork has been detailed and designed to provide a personal and memorable experience. With the optimal option for guests to sit at the bar and watch their food be prepared, the custom-designed shelving above the bar clearly defines the area of the restaurant where all the magic happens.

Visually Expanding a Space

At Earnest Ice-Cream on Quebec Street, Janks Design Group took advantage of the existing brick walls and painted the high ceilings white to ensure the local hot-spot felt spacious, while maintaining the history and industrial aesthetic of the original Vancouver building shell. Using neutral tones in other material selections and allowing as much natural light in as possible, the interior of this space feels illuminated and crisp.

Compacting a Space

Artifex is a Vancouver media company that requires darkness for their work environment, so JDG had to switch gears from light and bright, to dark and dramatic. By selecting black paint and industrial materials for wall application, the dark environment was achieved. However, Janks Design Group knew that this would make the interior spaces feel more compact than they truly were. To balance out the visual representation of the space, JDG selected an industrial wood tone flooring, and applied a similar finish to the reclaimed wood clad at the entrance to the studio.