Tiny houses are a recent phenomenon and have spurred many businesses — from builders to decorating experts — looking to connect with consumers who want to go small. The small house movement advocates for living simply in small homes, some of which can be as small as 100 square feet or less.
Although living in a tiny house is not for everyone, many people prefer small-space living to living in larger, more spacious homes and apartments. For those looking to make the most of their small living spaces, there are ways to make such living arrangements feel larger.
• Light is your friend. Establish adequate lighting in a room that includes at least three working lights. Varied light sources from different angles will eliminate dark corners and shadows that can make a space feel smaller. Lighting also can draw the eye where you want it and distract attention from the room's flaws.
• Make use of vertical space. Homes where space is at a premium may have limited storage areas. An often-overlooked storage option is vertical space. Space above doors, shelving, and areas above cabinetry are ideal places to store items. Use hooks on walls to keep belongings off the floor.
• Choose light-colored paint. Choose lighter hues for your home furnishings and wall colors. You do not have to limit this to white (unless landlords require white walls). Pale colors will help reflect light and can make the room seem larger than it really is. Using a dark color on the flooring can make other lighter shades really pop in contrast.
• Conceal the clutter. If you cannot keep personal belongings to the utmost minimum in a home, experiment with clever ways to keep items out of sight. Furniture that serves dual purposes can help with this task. Storage ottomans will conceal small toys or linens and also provide seating options in a room when guests come over. A dresser can be used as a dining room buffet piece, and the numerous drawers can hold knickknacks or silverware. Furniture with built-in, hidden storage is well worth the investment when living spaces are limited.
• Create dual-purpose rooms. Lack of space means getting creative with the space you do have. A nook in your bedroom can be devoted to a miniature home office. Perhaps you can establish a crafting center in a portion of your laundry room. Garages have long served as catch-all spaces in homes. Apart from storage, they can be subdivided for home gyms or even a place to gather and watch a ballgame.
• Hang mirrors to "expand" rooms. Mirrors can trick the eye into believing there is more space in a room. Mirrors melt away room borders and can accelerate the flow of light. Hanging them throughout your home can make spaces seem larger.
• Think about built-in furniture. Traditional furniture may not be practical for small spaces and can waste a lot of room. Custom-built furniture is often the way to go to maximize the area you do have. Employ a little do-it-yourself initiative as well, customizing items for the perfect fit.
• Work with a designer. If you're having difficulty making a small space work for you, consult with an interior designer or a contractor for some ideas.