When it comes to owning a small home, some may say cozy and comfortable while others say cramped and stressful. No matter your take, there is no denying that ‘small living’ is growing.
The benefits of the ‘tiny house’ craze are not popular for their minimalist and sustainable elements, but practically, minimal clutter, limited maintenance, and very short cleaning times are other huge benefits. Many say a location or lifestyle they want is more achievable by downsizing on space.
If you’re ready to declutter your life and take the leap into small home living, here’s some tips to keep your comfort and design at a maximum.
Tip 1: Light and bright will enhance a room
Lighting up a room will definitely make it feel bigger. If the rooms have dark walls, they often feel like they are closer to you than they actually are. White paint on the walls will make the room look lighter and bigger as seen in the before and after shots of the same room below.
Open windows also make a difference, try not to hide them with curtains and make the best use of bringing in as much natural light you can.
Tip 2: Storage is key
Be clever when it comes to storage. What can you utilise to store your possessions? Opt for furniture that has closed storage built in such as under beds, lounges and coffee tables.
Do you have a small two-story home? Transform dead space under the stairs for storage. Although think on top of doorways and in small nooks. If you have dead wall space you may want to add shelving or build out a small pull out cupboard… or in this case add a convenient wine rack!
Tip 3: Think smart with the dining table
When it comes to the interior of a small home, it is all about being smart and creative. Think about this when choosing a dining table. A round table is ideal for smaller homes as it allows for extra room and the soft lines keep a flow. There are many fantastic tables which can fold out to allow for more people, and fold back teeny tiny once your guests leave.
When selecting your chairs, aim for something small or a chair you can slide under the table when it isn’t in use. Bench seats and low backed chairs will give the impression of taking up less space.
Tip 4: Colour
Keep your colours neutral and flowing between spaces. This will keep it light, bright and not create distinct boundaries between areas.
If you have always dreamed of beautiful, tall skirting you can still add these in a small home. If you paint your skirting, wall and cornice all the same colour it tricks the eye and elongates the wall. The lighter the colour the better, but if you have your heart set on a colour, you can achieve the illusion of more space using this trick.
You can also try a 3/4 high wainscoting to give more visual height to a room.
Tip 5: Go for sliding doors
Sliding doors allow for more room. External sliders are typically glass which will add more light and give the illusion of extending the space outside. Internally, a cavity slider will let you reclaim the space a door would take up when it is opening and closing.
Tip 6: TV on the wall
There is no need for a TV unit when your TV is mounted to the wall! Now you have more room for comfortable living. If you have a fireplace, you can install the TV above to utilise the wall space or surround it with beautiful mouldings to add texture to your interior.
Tip 7: Get a day bed
A day bed can double your bedroom size. If you don’t have a spare bedroom, you can use it in the living spaces.
Tip 8: Multi-purpose furniture
Everything can have multiple uses, so what can you use in your house as a double feature? Can you buy a couch that is also a sofa bed or can you add cushions to a coffee table to double as an extra seat when you have guests over?
A built in bench seat can form part of your dining seating and have storage below. Be inventive and creative!
Tip 10: Home office wall desk
You might think you don’t have room for a home office, but you are wrong. A desk can be mounted to the wall, which takes up a lot less room. You can even put shelves on the top to maximise storage. If this idea doesn’t excite you, there are clever ways you can add doors and keep it all hidden so when not in use, it looks only like cupboard doors.
Tip 11: Fewer furniture – but bigger
Bigger furniture means you buy less. Less furniture means more space! No need to push all your furniture to the corners of the room, just have bigger furniture pieces, so you need less to fill the spaces.
PRO TIP ~ When buying for small homes keep your furniture low line so that your eye can look past it creating the illusion of space.
Tip 12: Go vertical
Instead of going out, go up! Cupboards can be built up vertically along with other furniture and storage spaces. Walls are the perfect non-clutter, minimal space option for adding design to your home through wall art and wainscoting. Keep your floor for necessary items only.
Tip 13: Declutter – less is more
Declutter your decor, yes less is more! You don’t need to display everything in your home. Store some away and mix and match your decor themes based on your moods or the time of year.
Tip 14: Get furniture with legs
When you can see the floor, it makes spaces seem larger. So, if your furniture is off the ground (even if you still add a rug), it allows the room to feel more spacious. Don’t be tempted to push all your furniture up against the wall, space around pieces makes the room feel better and bigger.
PRO TIP ~ When creating walkways around furniture, keep the width between 60-100cm. This will help the space not feel too cluttered.
Tip 15: Or install some fold-out furniture!
Just like the wall desk, think of other pieces of furniture you can fold out when it is needed. Beds, dining tables and ironing boards – just to name a few, will allow you a lot more room in your home.
Tip 16: Invest in hanging elements
Utilise the roof space. Add some luxurious hanging plants or a feature pendant light.
Tip 17: Build a mezzanine
If you have the capacity, a builder and an interior designer, a mezzanine is a great addition to make more room. Use the mezzanine as a study, an extra bedroom or lounge. You may be surprised what you can achieve if you can peel your ceiling back and go up!
Tip 18: Go for glass and mirrors
A great way to make a room look larger is by using glass and mirrors. A glass top table or transparent furniture will appear to take up less space, and mirrors will bounce light around a room while giving it another dimension. Try the infinity effect by placing a mirror on opposite walls facing each other or the mirror facing into a light source.
A small home doesn’t mean cramped and no element for design. A small home gives a challenge but also adds a level of coziness you don’t get in a large house.
When it comes to interior designing a small home, just remember, less is more. Keep things simple, lines clean and don’t over complicate your design or styling.
At Intrim, we have worked on key projects for small homes and the finished product has been truly stunning. Three that come to mind include the ‘Jewellery Box Cottage’, ‘Small Space Big Personality‘ and our ‘Picturesque Paddington Pad’ projects, which all have been huge successes.