How to maximise space in a small home

by | Dec 6, 2012 | Small Spaces

No matter what your reason for living in a small space, you’ll undoubtedly have to make some compromises in your decorating, get really organised, and make some adjustments to your lifestyle in order to make everything fit and not feel cramped.

If you really feel the need to stretch out in your small space, you can make some decorating changes to make the area look and feel larger without moving any walls! With colour, furniture arranging, and interesting lighting, your space won’t feel so cramped.

Open up
With furniture and accessories blocking the view into a room and out to open spaces, a room will look cramped. By moving furniture out and away from walkways, you’ll open up the space and make it feel larger. Removing things from behind the door and any clothes which may be hung on the back of a door will mean you can actually get through in to the room in the first place. Remove them and replace with side tables instead. Coffee tables don’t work in smaller rooms. If you can see the floor, the room will look larger.


Choose soft, light hues
Light bright spaces feel much larger than small enclosed spaces so think about the colour on the walls. White is a good colour for the smallest of studio apartments. Avoid using greys, or chalky tones as these colours can suck out what light there is in a room and make the room feel more closed in.

Use a monochromatic colour scheme
Choose colours that are in the same colour family. Use the same tone on upholstery, fabrics, walls, and curtains, and use the same colour throughout the house or apartment to increase the sense of continuity. Cool colours and delicate warm colours give the room a more open look.


Coordinate wall and furniture colours
Contrasting colours tend to break up a space. Pieces of furniture are less interrupting and tend to blend with the space if they’re coloured to match the wall colour and floor.





Let in the light
Any room will look larger if it’s well lit, either by natural light or artificial lighting. Blinds take up much less space than curtains. Using a sheer fabric also lets in the most light. Add more lamps or install wall lights or recessed lighting.




See-through space
For a tiny bathroom, get rid of an opaque glass shower enclosure and substitute a clear, frameless one. The room is the same size looks bigger. You can see all the way (an extra three feet) to the wall at the back of the shower.

Use of glass bricks in kitchens and bathrooms can let in light and create a special feature.

Metal frame beds open up the space in a bedroom rather than bulky divans and glass dining tables work well in apartments or small dining rooms or areas.


Reflective Surfaces
Have you ever thought of installing a mirrored wall? It always makes a room look larger and you often find then in show homes. Instead, you could use a large framed mirror on a wall or stand an over-sized framed mirror against a wall. You’ll get the same room-enlarging effect as a mirrored wall, but with more style. The space and the light will be reflected for a more open feeling.

Mirrored furniture has a similar effect and is so in vogue right now – so glamorous.



There are many options available to help work with the smaller spaces, such as small sofas and chairs, or fold-down tables and chairs – some which actually fit inside the construct of the table. Use a nest of tables rather than a coffee table, which can take up too much room. Keep the tables stacked next to a chair or sofa and only bring out the smaller tables as and when you need to.

In bedrooms, a 4ft bed could be an option if a double is just too big. Show homes use them all the time to enhance the space of a smaller room. Or even a sofa bed or chair-bed can work well in a small guest rooms. In a small child’s room, a reduced sized first bed and small child’s wardrobe again can work in a room as small a box room, at least until they reach four or five years old.

Multi functional furniture is also another good investment for the smaller room. Combine seating with storage for example.


Make the use of wall space by fitting a tall and narrow bookcase or shelving unit. Use coloured boxes to arrange magazines and CDs to keep them out of slight. A streamlined room with masses of storage is an ideal way store all that clutter rather having it on show. The feeling of too much stuff in a room will make any room feel smaller than it really is.

Maximising kitchen space

Here are some tips for making the most of the space in your small kitchen, no matter how tiny it may be.

  • Full height cabinets pull the eye up; recessed lighting makes the ceiling seem higher.
  • Tiles used for the splash-back can be laid on the diagonal, making the splash seem taller.
  • Under-cabinet lighting makes it possible to use dark countertops without giving them a closed-in look and feel.
  • Light-coloured (though not necessarily white) walls and cabinets open up a space.
  • Using the same flooring in the kitchen as the other rooms helps the spaces flow into each other.
  • A galley-style kitchen is the most efficient use of space.
  • A built-in microwave, or an under the cabinet microwave frees up precious counter space.
  • Roll out shelves double usable space and can be fitted to fill awkward corners.
  • A built-in rubbish bin saves floor space. It can also be easier to disguise and more hygienic.
  • Store baking pans inside your oven. Why take up cabinet space with roasting pans, cake tins and loaf tins when you can pop them in the oven?
  • Hang pans from a rack suspended from the ceiling.
  • If your kitchen has a window sill, use it. Store bottles of oil or jars of spice if they are in dark glass containers.
  • Hang a wire mesh basket from the ceiling to hold fruit and vegetables.
  • If you want a table in your kitchen but you are really short on space, try a folding wall table. You can simply fold it away to create more space.
  • Bench seating with concealed storage area is another great space-saving idea.
Renovate to create more space

Could you knock through a wall to create more space? Into a pantry from the kitchen, for example, or from the bathroom in to the WC? These are very popular enhancements that make a lot of sense and open up the larger room. You can gain an extra three feet from the wall alone without extending the footprint of the property. £1,000-£2,000. Even go the whole hog and create open plan living. Just thing about structural issues and the heating bill first.

For a couple of hundred pounds, you can add a window. Brighter rooms feel larger and if you gain an extra window sill you have even more surface for storage.

Build in cupboards – the more storage and the cleaner the line, the more spacious a room can feel. Under the stairs, fitted wardrobes in bedrooms, shelving or cupboards in alcoves/shelving.

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