7 Ways to Make Small Spaces Work for Your Family
Are you thinking about buying a smaller home and wondering if it will work for your family? Here are seven tips for making a small space work from the top real estate agents Bellevue, WA families rely on for property advice.
Advantages of Small Homes
If you’re thinking big houses are always better, think again. There are many advantages to smaller homes that should have you moving them to the top of your list:
• Lower price to purchase
• Lower property taxes
• More reasonable utility bills
• Easier to clean and maintain
• Less costly to furnish and decorate
• Fewer challenges for those with mobility impairments
• Encourages pared-down lifestyle
• Ability to live in a neighborhood that’s otherwise out of price range
If you’re looking to save money, live more minimally, or get into a desirable area, a smaller home is often just the ticket. So, let’s talk about how to make that work for you on a practical level.
Eliminate Non-Essential Belongings
When moving into a small space, whether a condo or a cottage, don’t just automatically move all your existing belongings into the new home. Take the time to sort through your stuff and eliminate duplicates and things you haven’t used in a long time.
Most people, especially those living in two-adult households, have doubles of appliances, extra kitchen wares, and too much furniture. Do you really need all those items or could you sell or donate many of them? Do you have a closet full of clothing you never wear? You may feel better when you’re no longer hanging onto so many things.
Store Little-Used Items Offsite
“But Grandma’s collection of antique quilts!” you might protest. “What about that garage full of holiday decorations? We can’t just throw that stuff away!”
There’s an easy solution for that: offsite storage. For a reasonable price, you can rent a storage unit for items you don’t want to give up but don’t need to keep in the home, like:
• Seasonal decorations
• Family heirlooms
• Out-of-season clothing
• Baby and child items
• Furniture that doesn’t fit
• Camping and recreational gear
Storage facilities today have amenities you couldn’t imagine 10 or 20 years ago, like climate control, indoor parking, 24-hour access, automatic billing, and high-tech security. Your items will be protected but still easily accessible whenever you need them.
If you have anything truly valuable, like coins or jewelry, rent a safety deposit box at your local bank.
Get Creative with Storage
Once you have your essential items decided, take a look at the storage in your home. Are you making the best use of it? Follow these storage tips to increase your home’s storage on a budget:
• Racks and shelves on the backs of closet and cabinet doors
• Stackable bins or drawers in tall cupboards to maximize space
• Lazy susans for kitchen goods
• Under-bed bins or drawers
• Hangers that hold multiple items
• DIY closet systems from the home supply store
• Pegboards with hooks for the kitchen or playroom
If you’re not sure where to start, a quick search on sites like Pinterest or Instagram will yield tons of simple ideas.
Use Multi-Purpose Furnishings
You can also employ creativity when purchasing furniture for your home, looking for pieces that can serve multiple purposes. Examples include:
• Ottomans and coffee tables with storage inside
• Futon sofas that double as guest beds
• Benches that flip over to form tables
• Bookshelves with pull-down tables
• Armoires and entertainment centers that hold both electronics and clothes
• Bar-height counters that function as optional tables and food prep spaces
• Nightstands and chests with linen storage
• Headboards that store books and blankets
• Room dividers that double as storage or bookshelves
With today’s fascination with tiny homes, there are tons of options on the market. If you’re handy with tools, you can also make your own pieces to your unique specifications.
Employ Optical Illusions
Keeping your furnishings to a minimum is one way to make a tiny space look larger than it really is. When living in a smaller home, there are lots of tricks you can use to give the impression of a larger house:
• Use light paint colors rather than dark ones
• Paint dark trim and fireplace brick white to blend in with walls
• Buy light-colored upholstery and bedding
• Use clear chairs and tables
• Hang large mirrors
• Paint trompe l’oeil murals on the walls to create fake windows
• Use artwork that gives you the look of a vista
• Convert your outdoor photographs to wallpaper
• Eliminate swing doors in lieu of pocket doors or curtains
• Hang drapes floor to ceiling not just the length of windows
• Paint or refinish kitchen and bathroom cabinets in a light tone
• Use white or stainless appliances instead of black ones
• Use track or recessed lighting to brighten rooms
Keep the Home Tidy
A messy or cluttered house will always look and feel smaller. Give the eye somewhere to rest and create an atmosphere of Zen tranquility by keeping your home as tidy as possible. Get in the habit of making your bed each morning. Clean counters every night before bed. Resist the urge to cover every tabletop or wall with decor.
Encourage kids to put away their toys after use, and offer easy storage for them. Cubbies or hooks by the entrance will allow everyone to drop their belongings in one concentrated spot rather than all over the house. When you purchase a new item, automatically get rid of an older one.
Expand Your Living Space Outside
A great way to make the most of a small home is to expand your living to the outdoors whenever weather permits. Don’t let that balcony, patio, or front stoop sit empty! You can add seating, plants, candles, and other items to create another living area--ideal for entertaining or relaxing after work. You’ll feel like your small house is much larger if you can eat breakfast on your deck or read a book in the backyard.
Living in a small home doesn’t have to mean feeling cramped and uncomfortable. Take advantage of the many benefits of small home living by following the steps above and you’ll never want to go big again!