People across the country are embracing small spaces as a way to live a greener, simpler life. From TV shows hunting perfect tiny homes and bloggers and designers welcoming a reduction in home size, people are ready for less. Smaller living quarters mean less time cleaning, less clutter accumulating, less money spent on utilities, and more time left to enjoy life.
But living in a small space doesn’t always feel so simple. If you have ever lived in a small home or apartment, you can relate to feeling overwhelmed as soon as the mail piles up or one item isn’t put away. With less room for storage, there are a lot more opportunities for clutter.
Whether your home is small by design or by happenstance, it doesn’t have to feel cramped! Use these tips for designing your small space, so that your home has ample storage and feels like a home you chose, not one that just happened.
- Use full-size furniture. We know this one seems counterintuitive, but hear us out. We find that when you buy scaled-down pieces, you actually feel more inclined to fit more stuff in: a small loveseat, a small armchair, and two end tables can really make a space feel like too much is trying to fit. Instead, opt for a full-size three-person sofa and an appropriate coffee table. While it may feel tricky finding the perfect furniture, plan ahead and measure everything before you start shopping. Our Punch! Software can help you find out exactly what will fit in your space.
- Opt for built-in storage. A small area means there’s little room for storing items – both things you want to put away, like blankets and towels, and things you want to display, like books and travel souvenirs. While built-in storage can sometimes detract from your overall floor space, you actually only need just a tiny bit of floor to create tall, purposeful storage. In your bedroom or living room, line up a couple bookshelves or install wall-mounted floating shelves to cover a small wall or a nook. In the bathroom, floating storage means you can set out toilet paper and towels, while savings your linen closet for less picturesque cleaning supplies. Use your storage as a display for your style: the bottom level is perfect for kids’ toys and games, so they can reach them, or heavier items like books and photo albums. The middle levels of shelves can function as tables, so put some coasters for drinks or a tray to hold random catch all, like keys and sunglasses and mail. Use your top levels as displays for art, family pictures, and keepsakes. By keeping the highest shelves less busy than the bottom shelves, your eyes will automatically look up, a trick that can make a room feel more spacious.
- Get things off the ground. The fewer items on the floor, the bigger the space looks. (The easier it is to clean, too!) Replace a floor lamp with a wall-mounted sconce. Repurpose a floating shelf as an end-table.
- Trade single-purpose pieces for multi-purpose pieces. This one is a cinch: get a coffee table or ottoman that lets you store games or extra blankets inside. Trade your coatrack for some wall-mounted hooks with shelves above them – now you have a purposeful place to store jackets, shoes, and even your keys and wallet.
Once the design of your house is optimized for your small space lifestyle, consider these quick tips to keep your space as clear and clutter-free as possible:
- Add a mirror. For this one, go big! A mirror reflects the light in the room, brightening the space. In perfect situations, it can fool your guests into thinking it’s a window to the next room. Talk about doubling the size.
- Keep at least one tabletop clear at all times – so you can sort through the mail, help the kids with their homework, or enjoy a meal without having to put things away first.
- Use fun trays as a way to wrangle small, loose items, making them seem like an intentional collection. The trays also provide a layer of design, so opt for a color, texture, or pattern you like.
- Do the dishes and put your shoes away. You’ll feel a lot better when you do!
By planning ahead and intentionally designing a small living space, you’re much more likely to enjoy the space. We hope these tips help you embrace living small without feeling boxed in!