Smaller homes have always been a popular choice for first time buyers as an affordable way to get on the property ladder. Recently, the trend for more compact living is stretching right across the housing market as more and more people look to downsize to cut mortgage costs or to purchase properties which are easier to manage.
Moving into a smaller home is generally a good financial decision but the reduction in space can come as a shock to many. However, living in less square footage doesn’t necessarily mean having to sacrificing all your belongings or living in cramped conditions.
When you know the area of the space you are moving to, create a floor plan of the property and cut out scale shapes of the furniture you already own or are planning to buy. By doing this, you can see what furniture will fit where and whether you need to invest in some smaller pieces. Planning rooms like this can also make packing and unpacking easier as you will know exactly what is going in each room.
Use room dividers to create temporary separate areas or section off areas more permanently with bookcases. Just make sure the bookcases don’t have backs on them as this could stop natural light from flowing through. Ikea have a superb selection of both fabric and bookcase room dividers.
When space is at a premium, it’s important to get the most out of your furniture and opt for items that can double up in use.
- A table with eaves can act as a family dining space and a desk.
- Using a trunk as a coffee table adds extra storage space.
- A bistro table and chair set can be used in the dining room and on the patio.
- A sofa bed in the lounge will save on space for a guest bed when people come to stay or can double up as your main sleeping space in a studio apartment.
- Look out for modular designer furniture which is purpose built for small homes.
If your property has a garden, then an obvious way to create more room is by opening up the space between the inside and outside of your property. There are a number of options for doing this, depending on the size of your garden. Larger gardens will be able to incorporate a conservatory which will add valuable extra square footage to the property. Investing in a canvas patio cover is a quicker and more affordable way to make the most out of your outside eating area, even in poor weather.
Often though, a small property will mean a small garden, so if space is tight outside, then installing bi-fold doors is a sensible option. Bi-fold doors won’t encroach on the space inside your home or in your garden, and they will help to create a ‘third living area’ which connects the two spaces. Another benefit of bi-fold doors is that they turn a wall of your home into a window, drastically transforming the levels of natural light and making the inside space look larger.
Prioritise storage space Clutter can make even the biggest house look claustrophobic, so de-cluttering and installing clever storage areas should be a priority. Walls are your friend when it comes to storage as anything which keeps your possessions off the floor will maximise space in your home. Install bookshelves over doorways, or go for floor to ceiling bookcase and install a vintage library ladder to reach the top shelves. Fix hooks on the back of every door and utilize underused spaces such as under the stairs and wide hallways with fitted storage. You are only limited by imagination with storage options as you could even include storing clothes under floorboards, storing your bed in the ceiling and hiding shoes in your staircase.