Optimizing Space in Small Homes with a Good Small House Design

Are you only able to afford small homes that have less space? Even with new home design trends, optimizing space will help your small home design ideas! Optimizing with a small house design will involve using the areas to their fullest capabilities. These home design trends tips will allow you to have a home that fits you, your family, and your belongings inside without giving off a look of a cluttered residence.

Maximizing Storage Space

Using the storage areas to their fullest abilities is beneficial if you have a small house design. In the closets, storage systems can be placed that will allow you to organize your possessions within the area. Shelves placed inside closets will allow for more room for folded items and those that are not able to be placed on a hanger. These systems offer more storage space, especially when the floor space is limited.

Just do a search for "closet organizing systems" or "closet organizing your town" to find some great ideas and businesses on-line that cater to this niche. Also, many home improvement and building supply stores have sections where you can get individualized closet module systems. Sometimes I think these modular systems are the greatest things since sliced bread-- it makes organizing your closet a whole lot better than stacking boxes upon boxes of who-knows-what.

Putting the Furniture on Wheels

Having some of the furniture in small homes on wheels is another good idea to free up space. This is beneficial if you decide to entertain guests in your home but need to move some furniture in order to have room. Having larger items on wheels will make moving them a breeze. Rolling cots that can be folded when not in use is an exceptionally great idea for when you have company staying the night.

You can find a variety of caster wheels, both locking and non-locking, at most hardware stores. Ask for some assistance in choosing the right ones for your particular piece of furniture and how best to install them for your small house design.

Personally, I have wheels on several of my furniture items, but keep them locked most of the time. This works out absolutely fabulously when company comes over to our small condo and I have to most dinner table and seating arrangements as the evening progresses.

Go Vertical

If your small house design has a very small room in your home, you can still store items in there if you do so vertically. Tall, slim dressers make the ability to store your clothing and other items in your bedroom possible even if the storage space is limited. Rarely used items can go on the top shelves while saving the drawers for clothing and other accessories that you use on a regular basis. The tops of dressers can also be used to store make-up and jewelry boxes, a charging station for your mobile devices, a wireless router, and other related items.

One type of furniture that uses vertical space very efficiently is a "murphy bed". Murphy beds can be small or gigantic, but the commonality is keeping all storage against one wall, some in moveable units that swing or slide out. On a recent trip to New York City I wandered into Murphy Bed Express and found some very innovative ideas, not all of them for bed space (some for desks or other work stations that could be stowed away). Do your own on-line search for some inspiring design ideas.

Creating the Feeling of Space with Color

Using lighter colors throughout each room will make small homes appear larger. The lighter shades will make for a more spacious look. Darker colors, on the other hand, can make the rooms appear to be tiny or enclosing. This has to do with the lighting as well as eye play that different paint colors can provide. To make yourself feel as though you have a large home, you will want to make sure you skip the dark hues.

But, whether you go with lighter, midtone, or darker values, make sure to carefully consider the psychological effect of color. Do some research into color theory and emotional impact. The smaller the space you're in the harder it is to move away from a space where the color is making you feel "blue" (pun intended).

Your favorite color MAY not be the right one to give you the best emotional mindset while living in the space. As an example, my favorite colors are blues, blue-greens, and blue-purples. But, if I were to sit in a room that was predominantly in the blue pallet range I think I might tend to feel chilled by the end of the day. But, maybe in a hot climate that's not such a bad thing. In a Wisconsin winter it really doesn't work.

Keep it De-cluttered!

You do not want to put too much furniture in a small house design. Too much clutter can allow small homes to look even tinier than they really are. It will also be difficult to navigate through all of the items that are placed around the living spaces. You will want to use as few pieces as possible. Therefore, good home design trends dictates the furniture that you do choose to place in the rooms must be quite functional. You and your family must be able to live within the house with all of your belongings.

What does functional mean? It means having an object or piece of furniture serve more than one purpose. A sofa bed, a futon sofa, a futon chair, a drop-leaf table, a bookshelf with integrated desk space... these are just a few ideas. The next time you think about adding an item to your household ask yourself if it can serve more than one function.

Frankly, I think the kitchen space is the worst offender in this regard. It's so easy to acquire many kitchen items that are good for just one function. My latest downfall in this category was a stove-top waffle maker. It looked like such a neat thing to be able to make waffles in a cast aluminum waffle iron that is heated on your stove burner and not from a wall outlet. Know how much we use it? We may use it about 2-3 times a year. I may not be keeping it much longer.


In the end the great thing about living in small homes is you get to find out what works... and doesn't, pretty quickly. AND you can change things around fairly easily. Experiment, visualize, improvise. Make a game out of optimizing the small spaces in your small homes. Making a game out of it makes it a whole lot more fun!

About the Author of this article: Anne Lupton is the editor of Small House Building, a great resource for people looking to build and live in small homes. Smaller houses are a great way to free yourself from many of the headaches of material possessions, continual home repairs, and high property taxes.

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