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Tips for Designing a Small Home

Although your home may not have the square footage you dream about, it can seem bigger than it actually is by using design to expand your space visually. 

Creating a room that feels open is all about drawing the attention up and out rather than in and down. Instead of filling a space with heavy pieces that create weight, you’ll want to utilize every tool at your disposal to create an atmosphere of movement that feels light, airy, and open.

Luckily, we’ve compiled the best tips and tricks of home design to maximize all the space you do have.

Declutter and Organize

First things first, before you think about designing your space with new furniture, décor, or paint, you need to tidy up. Clutter will make any space—no matter how large—feel overcrowded and messy.

If your kitchen appliances, bathroom essentials, kids’ toys, or any other miscellaneous items tend to live on tables or in corners, then you need to start with organizational solutions that look as good as they function.

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To learn more about how to do just that, check out this blog.

Pay Attention to the Light

When it comes to lighting, the fixtures aren’t the most important part. When a space is poorly lit, shadows cast over the design. The resulting darkness weighs the space down, making it feel closed in. To open it up, you’ll want to add a dash of brightness.

Choose the Right Colors

Besides having enough light shining into or on the room, you can create a lighter and airier feeling by using the right colors.

Picking a color scheme can be one of the most challenging decisions you’ll make when designing your home—but when you choose colors that fill your life with joy, it can also be one of the most rewarding. To make your small space feel more open, go with lighter colors to create an open and relaxed feeling.

Play with different shades of white and pastel colors—and be sure to consider every design element. The walls, flooring, carpets, furniture, curtains, and everything else will come into play, so if you have a few features you know you want, that’s a great place to start.

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Create Upwards Movement

As you decide what you want to fill your space with, you’ll also need to consider where to put it. These decisions should be made with mindfulness around your goal: to draw the eyes upwards and develop a sense of openness.

It’s simple to create the illusion that your home is bigger than it actually is—when you know a few tricks. First, consider using upward leading lines. The vertical lines of tall cabinets and bookcases create the impression of elevated space. So, you don’t need to be afraid to reach for the skies (well, the ceiling).

Another way to accomplish the same goal is to use negative space and absence by placing wall décor low. This shifts the room’s balance, giving more space to the upper half and making the room feel larger.

However, if you’re blessed with tall ceilings, putting décor up high will have the same effect as tall shelves. There are a few methods to draw the eyes up. Consider which one would work the best in your home.

Add More Looking Glass

Mirrors don’t only belong in the bathroom. In fact, adding mirrors throughout your home is one of the simplest ways to open up your space. Mirrors generate depth and openness by reflecting light. They also create the illusion that you’re looking into another room—similar to how windows let you see outside.

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Even though you can’t just add a window here and there, you can make your windows bigger—or seem bigger. Oversized drapes will open up your windows (metaphorically, of course). When you hang a curtain above a window and flank either side with drapes that flow down to the floor, you perceive the window to seem larger than it really is. This technique will make your home feel more connected to the outside world and create an inside-outside flow.

Be Conscious of Every Space—Even Under the Couch

Although it might seem silly to say that the space under the couch is valuable (after all, you probably won’t store anything under there), but simply seeing space in the home will make it feel bigger.

To do this, choose furniture that has legs rather than bases. This goes for chairs and tables, too. Blocky furniture will make your small space feel even smaller—so avoid those pieces at all costs.

Another way to create space is to opt for transparent furniture. Tables with glass tops can be a great design choice, and there are some cool, clear modern seating options out there, too.

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Size Matters

When you’re shopping for furniture, one of the most important things to consider is if the size of the furniture is appropriate for the size of your space. When furniture connects with the room’s boundaries—whether it’s with the back or the sides of the piece—the room will feel small.

When you know that your home’s perceived size changes in relation to the size of the furniture you fill it with, you can use that to your advantage. Opting for a sleek sofa, futon, or chair set will allow your space to function and feel roomy. Avoid overstuffed furniture that takes up more space than it’s worth.

When in Doubt, Throw it Out

If you still aren’t sure exactly what your home needs to create a sense of openness, ditch the unnecessary elements. You can pass on a lot of your options, including drapes, rugs, décor, and furniture, to achieve a clean, minimalistic space. That’s not to say you should maintain an utterly bare room—just that it may not need as many things as you think.

Key Points for Remember When Designing a Small Space

Overall, if you want to make your small space feel bigger, you need to make the best use of the space possible. Begin by organizing and getting rid of anything you don’t need or want in your home—plus, when you’re selective about what you bring into your home, you can live a more mindful and sustainable lifestyle. And it means you’ll have fewer things to clean!

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Then, consider the essential elements of an open design:

  • shed some light
  • choose light colors
  • more mirrors
  • have less stuff
  • draw the attention up

And remember that just because a solution worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will be the perfect fit for your home. Consider what’s important to you, and don’t be afraid to get creative!

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