The Tiny House Movement is one of the fastest-growing housing trends in recent memory. Tiny houses are fully functional mobile living spaces that measure from 100-400 square feet. Obviously, fitting all of life’s necessities in such a tiny space poses many challenges. But you don’t have to live in a tiny house to face the realities of small space living. Studio apartments, loft spaces, cottages and many other small spaces all present similar issues. Here are seven ways you can maximize small space living to create a comfortable, well-organized and stylish home.
Take Care with Color — Adding color to walls is one of the fastest, easiest, most affordable ways to add character and personality to a room. But be careful when you’re working in small spaces, because the wrong color can make your room seem smaller than it actually is. Avoid dark , moody colors and stick with lighter, brighter hues to make the space feel more open.
Embrace Light & Reflection — Keep window coverings light, both in color and materials. Heavy, window coverings will make rooms look and feel dark and claustrophobic. Stick to lighter colors and airy fabrics that allow light to filter through, even when closed. Another trick is to let curtain rods extend past the ends of windows on either side to create the illusion of width. Mirrors are another great way to visually trick the eye into thinking a room is larger than it is. Bonus points if you can hang a mirror across from a window to capture and reflect even more light.
Make Furniture Multi-Task — When you live in a small space, everything should have more than one purpose. Think ottomans that double as storage space, tray tables that pinch hit as end tables, and dressers that serve as nightstands. If you live in a studio space, it’s practically illegal to have a sofa that doesn’t fold-out into a bed. And remember seeing Murphy beds (also called wall beds) in old black and white movies and TV shows? They’re making a comeback and can solve a multitude of small space furniture and storage issues.
Keep Floors Clear — Crowding the floor with baskets or bins for storage may seem practical, but it will make the room look and feel smaller. Open things up by keeping floor space clear and moving storage up to the walls (or even the ceiling, in some cases). Shelves, hanging baskets, peg boards and other storage solutions will keep floor space free.
Get Control of Clutter — Clutter is the enemy of small space living. When every available surface is covered with mail, magazines, clothing and other everyday odds and ends, the space looks messy and unfinished. One way to keep clutter under control is to practice the rule all minimalists live by: one in, one out. That simply means every time you bring something new into your space, an equivalent item has to go. If you buy a new pair of shoes, for example, you have to get rid of a pair you already have, and so on. It’s definitely challenging, but it will make you think twice when tempted to purchase something on impulse, knowing that something you already have will get the axe.
Utilize Hidden Spaces — The space under, in between or behind furniture is no longer just a place for dust bunnies to collect. When you live in a small space, it can be used for valuable storage. You can get specialized storage bins made to slip under the bed or simply use your imagination to decide what goes where, like slipping a folding tray table under the couch or hanging an ironing board or shoe rack behind a door.
Keep it Extra Clean — Speaking of dust bunnies, small spaces need to be cleaned more frequently and thoroughly than their larger counterparts. It’s easy to ignore dusty corners or a too-full trash can in a large space, but everyday messes add up quickly when there’s not a lot of room. Take some time at the end of every day to do a quick cleaning and you’ll keep your small space feeling tidy and inviting.