Before I could even imagine buying a house, I was quick to profess my love of small houses. Cottages. Bungalows. Whatever you want to call them. After all, they’re cheaper to heat and cool, they’re cute, and they kind of force you to prioritize your junk. Then I actually bought a small house and realized just how much junk I really had!
Figuring out what to do with my small spaces was a challenge. I had more space overall, but the individual rooms in my new house were smaller than the corresponding rooms in my apartment. What that meant was that I had to prioritize when choosing my furnishings and decor, find creative and aesthetically pleasing ways of packing everything I wanted in, and make as many pieces as possible do double duty.
What do I mean by double duty? Take a plain kitchen window, for example. Demesne suggests you turn that window into:
- A plant window with glass shelving for indoor plants or garden starts. A narrow bookcase with attractive baskets for holding garden books, planting tools, and a covered bucket for potting soil could turn this into a mini-plant care center.
- The perfect cat zone by adding a somewhat wider shelf to the typical sill, then topping it with a home-made cushion (with a washable cover).
- An entertainment bar with a drop leaf shelf mounted at bar height under the window for extra eating or serving space. When you need it, it’s there, but for convenience it can be left down. Camouflage it as part of a built-in if you’re ambitious.
- A breakfast table. An eastern exposure combined with a small drop leaf table and a couple chairs is a natural solution. The leaves can be left down to facilitate flow through except when having that morning cappuccino.
- A mud space. If it’s next to a door, a narrow bench with cubbies for outdoor shoes, boots, and a bin for hats and gloves provides a good spot to catch family clutter. Put a couple heavy duty hooks nearby for backpacks or purses. Voilá. If you can train your family to take their shoes off, you’ll cut down dramatically on the dirt that gets tracked in.
And so on and so forth. Little niches can become mini offices, prettied up storage nooks, or entertainment areas. Ask yourself: Where can I fit some additional seating? How can I display my stuff to its best advantage? How can I make my spaces feel bigger without sacrificing comfort? If you plan carefully–perhaps using some of the software readers recommended here–your small spaces will pop.
Now you tell me…what have you done lately to maximize the appeal of your small spaces?