I live in a small home. How do I make it work for me/my family?
Perhaps you’re in your first tiny little apartment (yay you!). Or maybe you’ve just down-sized to a small bungalow after your kids moved out (hugs for you empty nester momma). Maybe you live in a downtown loft, or a tiny cottage at the beach (lucky duck!). No matter what your reason, a small space is where you call home.
One of my favorite old country songs (yes, COUNTRY) is Little Houses by Doug Stone. Some of the lyrics are:
“…love grows best in little houses,
With fewer walls to separate,
Where you eat and sleep so close together.
You can't help but communicate,
Oh, and if we had more room between us, think of all we'd miss.
Love grows best, in houses just like this.”
It’s been so true for our family. Our little house is the perfect place for us. Each little house has been just what we needed at each stage of our life. And even if you desire some place bigger, you can make the most of the place you have with just a few easy fixes.
This house is our biggest in over 20 years of being married, and yet it's only just barely over 1300 square feet. We have one bathroom (yup, it gets pretty crazy over the holidays when we have extra guests!), three bedrooms, one small living room, a basement family room and an eat-in kitchen. My office is in the dining room, we made a makeshift room for our son in the basement and we have a small single car garage that gets used as a workshop and for storage.
Which means we use all the small space decorating ideas we can find! Like all the ideas!
So just how do you live well in a smaller space? Well, I've got a few ideas up my sleeve to share with you…
10 Small Space Decorating Ideas
- The number one thing to remember when you live in a small space is to use only what you love. Eliminate everything else. Seriously you've just got to get over
hordingkeeping all the things. This is really and truly the easiest way to make a small space work for you. In a small house there is no room for large collections. But you can still have what you really love if you edit well. You can also rotate your favorite pieces if you have a place to store them when not in use.
- Using furniture that is multi- or dual- purpose is another brilliant way to make the most of your square footage. Choose ottomans and coffee tables that also house storage. If you’ve no guest room and frequently entertain overnight visitors, choose a sofa bed or pull out sofa. Keep folding tray tables around for extra eating or game surfaces. We have a pullout in the basement for family visitors and a coffee table that houses the extra feather pillow top mattress. And no you don't have to buy the ugly stuff from a big box store! Think outside the box, so to speak.
- Also keep the clutter in order. Be neat. Simplify. Take the time to create a home for everything. Use our 5 steps to organize anything to get yourself started. Once you have a place for everything this is super easy!
- You can also go vertical and make use of the space you do have…on the walls. Install shelving, cupboards, gallery walls, etc. to keep the floor space clear.
- To create the appearance of more space, hide your storage. Use unconventional containers to corral items: a blanket box becomes a filing cabinet in a bedroom; baskets stowed under end tables hold books and blankets; built-in banquette seating like at our old house can store out of season décor or extra bedding.
- Add an additional rod to your closet to store more clothes and off-season jackets.
- Install additional shelves in your closet or pantry to hold more items out of site.
- Add slide-out drawers to cupboards to better organize your pots and pans. This will help with day-to-day small kitchen woes. And keep you from loosing your ever loving mind when you have to get out that one pot to make dinner!
- Rearrange your furniture to make the best use of space. It's amazing what a well-arranged room can do for actual and perceived space in a home. I promise I will share more about this in the Cozy & Beautiful course. But for now, just put some felt feet on that furniture and slide it around the room until you like what you see!
- Remove any useless doors in the main living spaces for more flow. Really. If you live in an older home this may be especially true. If the door doesn't need to be there for privacy, just remove it and store it to create a more open feel.
One final word on small space decorating is to be careful of scale. You can go big with one or two items in a small room – which I love to do and can actually make a small space look larger and more elegant. But do not go to the store and buy a matchy-matchy set (couch, loveseat and chair) that are all over sized if you have a little room. It’s just not right and it won’t flow right or look right. Trust me on this one.
Now go get creative and love your small space in a new way!