Mother Earth Living

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.
By Natural Home Staff
November/December 2010
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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.

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