Live Large in Less Space: Tips for Small Space Living

Make the most of your small home. Good design (and plenty of storage) can make your small spaces feel bigger.

Brown living spaces

Long views created by an open floor plan can make a small space feel large.

Photo By Barbara Bourne

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1. Reduce your need for space.

• Cut back on how much you own.
• Install small appliances.
• Put space where you need it, not where you don’t (who needs a big room if it’s just for sleep?).

2. Design storage for your needs.

• Use vertical space (for example, book-shelves above windows or high on walls, and floor-to-ceiling storage).
• Waste no space (for example, put storage under stairs, drawers in stair risers and shelves in stud space).

3. Expand space via design.

• Keep spaces neither too open nor too chopped up.
• Let in plenty of natural light.
• Align furniture along a diagonal. Draw a line between opposite corners of a room and orient seating so people often look from corner to corner—long views makes rooms feel bigger.
• Use light colors, and use various colors or shades of paint to differentiate spaces (variety helps expand space, as long as it’s not too broken up).
• Incorporate many outdoor living spaces and let the home open to them naturally.
• Let in light with ceiling-height windows.
• Build in furniture (for example, a dining booth requires less space than a table and chairs does).

4. Make things and spaces multifunctional.

• A dining table can convert into an office desk or crafts table with proper storage nearby.
• Consider foldaway furniture (for example, a Murphy guest bed, or a fold-up or sunken dining table).
• Let furniture such as bookcases or headboards double as room dividers.