Small House Solutions

Small houses can be charming, but there are definitely challenges to working with a tight space. Here are five common small house woes, and a few solutions for each!

1) A Narrow Room

Horizontal Striped Rug in a Narrow KitchenBrick and Mortar – Kate Davison’s Home | Photography by Colin Price

Adding a horizontal striped rug visually widens a narrow space.

Horizontal Stripes in the BathroomJules Duffy Designs

And painting horizontal stripes on the walls has the same effect! Low ceilings? Switch to vertical stripes!

Full Wall of Mirrors in Small HallwayLizzy Oates Home on Design Sponge | Photography by Maxwell Tielman

A full wall of mirrors in this narrow space doubles the visual impact of the hallway, making it feel more spacious.

2) Lack of Storage

Kitchen Cabinet Measuring Cup StorageThe Everyday Home

Find storage in unexpected places. This cupboard door is perfect for added storage and keeping kitchen tools easily accessible.

Storage Ottoman for a Small SpaceBHG

Choose furniture that can function in multiple ways. This piece offers storage for game supplies and can also be used as an ottoman and additional seating.

3) Not Enough Rooms

Closet Office and Organized Craft SpaceBHG

Take over an underutilized closet and transform it into a small office.

Small Space in Living Room with Combined Dining RoomMy Home Ideas | Cottage Living

No designated dining room or entry? This space manages to accommodate a living room, entryway with coat hooks, and even a small dining table against the sofa! Don’t be afraid to make unconventional choices if they solve your space limitations.

4) Too Cramped

Airy Bookshelves in Living RoomBHG

Consider furniture that looks airy and open. This pretty gold bookshelf has an open back, and the occasional chair has exposed legs which lets our eyes pass right through instead of taking up a lot of visual space.

Living Room Built in BookshelvesFinding Home

Choose built-ins. Too many pieces of furniture in a small room will make it feel cramped.

5) Too Dark

Multiple Sources of Light to Brighten a RoomHouzz | i3 Design Group

Be sure to use multiple layers of lighting. This room uses a ceiling pendant and two sconces in addition to their large window. In a living room, you may have the option to use recessed lights, a ceiling flushmount, and even a few table lamps to bring in extra brightness and ambiance to your space.

Vanity Mirror Reflecting WIndowWindsor Smith via House of Turquoise

Strategically placing a mirror on a wall opposite from a window maximizes natural light and creates the feel of an extra window.

Small House Solutions

What other tricks do you use for small spaces?

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Comments

  1. What a great post about tricks to visually expand a small space, and so beautifully illustrated by the photos! Another tip is using a high light reflectance value (LRV) paint on the walls.

  2. The mirror trick is great! It might sound odd, but sometimes one big statement piece of art on a wall makes the whole room look bigger.

    http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com
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  3. I enjoyed the tips in this post for making a small room feel larger. I also voted for you because I have learned so much about design and placement of items in my own home and I really look forward to your posts every morning. I also do see your Facebook posts because I liked the page several months ago.

  4. Thanks Melissa for the great tips for small spaces. I love the gold open bookcase and would love one for my condo. Do you know where I can get one?

    • Ms. Mike says:

      Thank you so much. Sometimes you need to be reminded of things you already know and this article was great at removing the roadblocks to visually having more space in all of my apartment rooms. I loved the chalkboard storage in the kitchen and the striped rug and the bedroom lighting. I love your blog and will be going to cast my vote next. Good luck and thanks again.

  5. Love these suggestions! With five kids, it seems there are never enough rooms! We do double and even triple duty in a lot of spaces!
    normaleverydaylife recently posted..The Million Dollar QuestionMy Profile

  6. All excellent ideas — except a wall o’ mirrors would bug me.
    When one is me, one likes to pretend one is more beautiful than one is!
    A wall o’ mirrors isn’t going to let that happen. ;-)
    Kay recently posted..Grandma Kay At West ElmMy Profile

  7. Melissa – thank you for featuring my Measuring Cup and Spoon Storage Idea. I appreciate your shout out with your readers. Hope you’re having a great time in NYC with Rhoda. xxoo, Barb

  8. Super suggestions and examples. Hugs, Marty
    Marty recently posted..Pulling It All Together-Uptown AcornMy Profile

  9. Great ideas! I have an open concept living/dining space so it can easily become crowded. I’m contemplating built ins. Anywho, thanks for this post!

    http://absolutedoll.blogspot.com <3
    Miss Glenesse recently posted..Vintage AmericaMy Profile

  10. Great ideas. I use that last trick in my bedroom which has only one window. I have a mirror on the opposite wall and it really does brighten that room.

  11. I love some of these tips – great to know when just starting out & living in a small space. My living room/dining room is essentially one room so it was cool to see how someone else styled theirs :)
    Sarah recently posted..Comment on coffee shop loving. by SarahMy Profile

  12. I love the idea of turning a closet into a work space, such a creative and useful idea!Thanks for sharing, these tips are great for apartment living!
    xo,
    Dana Kay
    http://danakay16.blogspot.com/
    Dana Kay recently posted..The Fault in Our StarsMy Profile

  13. I like the measuring cup and spoons trick. That would save a lot of room in my cramped drawers. Thanks!
    Tanya recently posted..Keys to Attracting Top TalentMy Profile

  14. I moved into a small home about 6 months ago and I still have no idea how to decorate it! This helps SO much.

    Peace & Sunshine,
    Sammi at Sammi Sunshine- A Food Blog
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  15. great post. I love the striped bath and the mirrored hallway. Mirrors in a small space are key!
    erin recently posted..Man Cave Makeover!My Profile

  16. Love these photos! I pinned them to my skinny house board for my kids to see. They have a skinny row house they are remodeling. Perfect inspiration.
    Linda recently posted..Friday Morning CoffeeMy Profile

  17. Such awesome ideas! In small spaces, I think that pulling furniture out from the wall makes the room seem larger. And I love built-ins…it’s perfect for stage without taking up so much visual space.
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  18. Love the useful tips on small home living. The measuring cup cabinet is so creative!
    Wendi recently posted..DIY Bifold Door Room DividerMy Profile

  19. Melissa, AMAZING POST. One of my favorites ever.

  20. Some really great ideas – I’ve been using the rug idea in my living room for a while now, I thought it helped make the room look a little larger but didn’t realise it was an actual ‘thing’ so I’m very glad it wasn’t just me that thought so! I love the idea of using mirrors opposite windows too x
    Zoe recently posted..My home || BedroomMy Profile

  21. Great ideas for cozy area, every home seller should see! Sometimes it’s not about the size of the room, it’s what you do with it! Great ideas for me to help with staging!
    Michelle Khan recently posted..Keller Real EstateMy Profile

  22. Great tips, I also found that with a rectangle rug, your instinct is to put it in alignment with the room but if you put it the other way it visually widens the space.

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