We live in a big world with big ideas, and we want big spaces to hold all our stuff. Unfortunately, the more square footage one possesses, the higher the cost. There is a reason some homeowners and renters are turning toward the tiny house movement, or downsizing to live in a simpler, more efficient space.
Today’s homeowners are looking for an environmentally friendly space, with less financial burden and more freedom to travel, rather than being a tied to constant property maintenance (cleaning, organizing, landscaping, repairs).
The first step in dealing with a small space is acknowledging your room's true dimension to make wiser choices when it comes to the function, furnishings and time you spend in the space.
Whether you’ve adopted this less-is-more way of thinking, dwell in a small city apartment or have a small room to contend with, here are a few tricks to maximize space in your home to make it work for you and your family.
Corner space. The corner of a room is often overlooked, so rather than leave it empty, squeeze in an extra accent chair or a corner bookshelf, making your room more livable. You could even turn it into a cozy reading nook, command center or play area.
Window illusion. Start by enhancing what’s already in the room, like the windows. Install curtain rods near the ceiling instead of right above the window frame. This will draw the eye upward and not only make the windows seem a bit taller, but the entire room as well. Need to increase the width of your windows? Hang the rod a few inches past the sides of the panes so the window covers the wall and not the glass.
Don’t overcrowd. Avoid having everything jampacked into a room. Items should have some space between each other and the walls. When planning the accessories for a room, use items that are in proportion to one another.
Scaled-down furniture. Don’t choose big, bulky furniture that barely fits in the room. Look for furniture that has a narrower width, skinny arms and clean lines. Rather than purchasing a sleigh bed that eats up valuable square footage, for example, try an upholstered headboard that sits snug against the wall.
[See: Going Deep Into Tiny Homes.]
Peek-a-boo furniture and leg room. Instead of using solid wood furniture, especially a coffee table, which can weigh down a space, choose a see-through acrylic or glass one. Opt for furniture that has more leg room, which means the pieces are not bottom-heavy and low to the ground. Taller pieces with visible space at the bottom gives the illusion that the furniture in the room is light and airy, which makes the space feel bigger.
Dual-purpose and floating furniture. Choose furniture with space to store objects. Try a coffee table with a shelf below, an ottoman with a removable top to store items or even a sofa bed. By giving items a dual purpose you're saving space by not having to purchase additional storage. Floating furniture, like shelving, is another way to add more space while using visual height.
Room color. Painting the room a lighter color reflects more light around the space. Take it one step further by painting the ceiling the same color to blur the lines. Try adding a pop of color or simple wallpaper to the ceiling, which will force people to look and visualize the height of the space. Why not go with a stripe? Paint one of the walls with vertical or horizontal stripes to play with the height and depth of the room
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Speaking of reflecting more light, try using a mirror in a small room. Strategically place it across from your light source to bounce more light around the room.
Metallics. Like with mirrors, get light to bounce around the room by introducing metallics on fixtures and in accessories. With light reflecting off multiple surfaces, the space will appear bigger than it actually is.
Vertical height. Enhance space by using vertical height. Hang as much as you can on the wall – but don’t make it look cluttered – or try building a loft in extremely tall rooms to add an extra seating or storage area to hang out in. Turn the walls into functional displays. Hang up jewelry, cutlery or create a floating bar area.
Try these ideas in your home today to gain more square footage even in the tiniest of properties. Of course, the more organized a home’s closets, drawers and cabinets are, the more surface space you’ll have to enjoy a clutter-free home.
Teresa Mears | May 3, 2019
Conventional wisdom says 20%, but you can buy your first home with much less down.