How Designers Are Making Cabin Interiors Feel Larger

Interior designers have long strived to make rooms feel larger. There are all kind of tricks and optical illusions they can implement to convince an occupant’s subconscious that the space they’re in is bigger than its actual measurements suggest.

Some of the same design strategies can be used to make cramped aircraft cabins look and feel more spacious.

How to Make a Narrow Cylinder Feel Like a Spacious Room

Every passenger, whether they’re traveling in their own private jet, a charter flight or a commercial carrier, feels the squeeze of cabin walls. The problem can be particularly intense for travelers prone to claustrophobia.

Private and business jet flyers may suffer the negative effects of cabin sizes more acutely than major carrier flyers due to the smaller size of the jet’s fuselage. Although private jet passengers aren’t forced to share their smaller space with hundreds of other passengers, they’re still confined in a narrow cylindric space.

Designers can modify several features to create the appearance of larger spaces in constrained cabin environments, including:

  • Lighting
  • Color choice
  • Cabin layout
  • Finishes
  • Materials
  • Displays

Lighting and Reflections

There a variety of ways in which lighting is used in interior design to make a room look larger. Lighting strips that are lengthwise down a cabin’s interior can make a cabin feel longer. Lights parallel to each other on either side of a cabin can make it feel wider.

Mirrors in rooms are often used to create the illusion of more space. The same effect can be achieved in aircraft cabins with glossy, polished surfaces. The reflection of light off glossy finishes can increase the perception of openness in a cabin.

The placement of cabin features, such as personal lights and air vents, can also have a practical impact on space. Bringing these features to the middle of a cabin can create additional clearance over seats.

OLED walls along the length of a craft may offer the most effective means of making a narrow jet cabin feel much larger. Lengthwise panoramic landscapes, cityscapes or clouds projected along an entire section of cabin can instill a sense of openness and space far more effectively than a tiny window or an unadorned interior bulkhead.

Airbus intentionally contours its wall panels to better reflect light and minimize shadows. A space filled with light will feel less claustrophobic. They also use two paired extra-long fluorescent tube lights, one white and one colored, along the length of their cabins for subtle consistent lighting.

Color and Light Psychology

Designers have long understood that lighter colors and soft, consistent lighting can affect mood and people’s perception of a space. The color orange can make people feel warmer without any actual temperature change, while blues and greens make them feel cooler. Lighter tones can make spaces feel wider and higher while dark shades can make a space feel more confined.

Cabin designers can use light colors, soft consistent lighting and curved surfaces to make cabins feel larger.

Lighting has also become an important tool for helping minimize jet leg. By adjusting the light levels to coincide with night and day cycles, a flight’s crew can help acclimate passengers to time changes and help them rest more soundly in the air.

Balancing Form, Function and Safety

There are a variety of design choices that can make cabins feel larger, but they always must be implemented in ways that don’t compromise flight safety or the functionality of cabins. New technologies, like OLED displays, holographic controls that are invisible to the naked eye and special cabin lighting are all cutting-edge solutions that can be applied today to make older, claustrophobic cabins feel like larger spaces.

Cabin interior designers must partner with knowledgeable manufacturers and developers familiar with FAA and EASA safety guidelines to develop cabin solutions that meet the necessary safety, weight and compatibility constraints.

The team at Rosen Aviation is developing exciting solutions in cabin technologies ranging from OLED displays, sensors and controls that disappear when not in use, and evolutionary cabin interfaces. Our team of cabin technology designers and manufacturing specialists understand the needs of carriers of all types and excel at partnering with our clients’ in-house designers to develop solutions that work for their needs.

Call us at 888-668-4955 or read through our website to learn more

about our cabin technology capabilities.