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Small House? 10 Big Ideas

by | Oct 22, 2008 | Decorating Inspiration, Details, small houses

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Small House? 10 Big Ideas

My husband and I used to live in a house that looked very similar to this (note: that photo is not of my house). I miss it so much, I wish I could get it back. It was the first house we bought when we were young marrieds. That house was love at first sight.

I have always adored small houses with fairy tale doors and pointy roofs. While living in our small house, I spent many happy hours contemplating the various ways I could open up walls, add windows, bump things out and maximize storage space. I was very content with our small house, but I wanted it to live larger and function better. I loved dreaming up ideas for my little house that would solve all of its problems but retain its charm.

I had so much fun thinking about different ways I could improve the layout or overall feel without buying a bigger house! Confession time. While I have lived in a really big house for the past five years, I am ready to sell it and get back to small house living. I was extra inspired to see some of my favorite small house ideas online at This Old House. It reminded me of how much fun I had dreaming of the possibilities!

So, here are 10 of my favorite BIG ideas for small houses:

Small House? 10 Big Ideas
While this is obviously a larger room, bumped out windows
can really enlarge an awkward space.
For much less than adding on an entire room,
you can transform the room you have.

Small House? 10 Big Ideas

Add interior glass doors for charm and to bring light and
movement through a house. In this case, by simply adding some roller
shades or curtains to these doors you can have an instantly private guest room
by night and a brighter more open house by day.

Small House? 10 Big Ideas

Create a courtyard patio. I love this idea and actually put in a
courtyard like this in my old house.
It doubled our living space in mild weather and
was so much more charming than a worn patch of grass.

Small House? 10 Big Ideas

Small House? 10 Big Ideas

Old houses and small houses always seem to be lacking in storage.
By building in drawers and cabinets, you can
create a lot more function in a small space.

Small House? 10 Big Ideas

Install windows and doors to the outside.
Visually your space will expand even on a dreary day.

Small House? 10 Big Ideas

Remove walls. Many old houses feel a bit boxy and closed in.
Simply removing some non-load bearing walls can really open things up.
This stairway becomes a charming part of
the dining room instead of a closed off space.

Small House? 10 Big Ideas
Use the nooks and crannies. It is amazing how
much space you can find that is going to waste.
Built ins under the stair case make great use of space.

Small House? 10 Big Ideas

If you are so fortunate as to be able to remodel a bathroom,
clear shower doors can double the visual room size
and windows can add in lots of light.

Small House? 10 Big Ideas

Create double-duty rooms that pack a lot of function into a small space.

Small House? 10 Big Ideas

Vault a ceiling to make a room more spacious and dramatic.

Do you live in a small house? Do you prefer small houses or big houses?
What are some of your favorite small house tricks for making it live large?

All photos: This Old House

Related Posts:

The Best Furniture for Small Spaces (my guide on eBay)

How to Get Organized in a Small House


  1. Nay-K

    what a beautiful house from the outside AND inside!!!

  2. Brooke

    Great ideas for making a small house more livable.
    We used to live in a very small house. When we remodeled it, we
    removed a lot of the walls, opening up several of the small cramped rooms to make a larger more comfortable space. To keep the room from looking too busy we kept our color palette neutral and added color with the smaller accessories.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Brookes inspiring blog post..My Home in the Marina

  3. The Deco Detective

    You’ve got a new layout on your blog, haven’t you (or else I’m going senile)? It looks great, congratulations!
    I live in a tiny rental apartment with no additional storage, so I try to use the height of the walls for storage & decorating. It’s not easy, but small-space living forces you to declutter and to reconsider the stuff you own. I’ve given a lot to the Salvation Army shops, and this way the apartment feels better, and I feel better!

    The Deco Detectives inspiring blog post..Bravacasa

  4. Jinx

    When we built, I thought our house was big! Not so by today’s standards.

    I made sure that all the decorating & colors for every room tied in with each other, creating a theme. (It used to be monochromatic, now it’s “Island Minimalist”.)

    I keep clutter to a minimum & natural light to a maximum.

    I love the ideas in today’s blog!

    Jinxs inspiring blog post..Caramel Apple Pie

  5. Meghan

    Great ideas.
    Love them all.

    I need to find ideas to increase the storage capacity of my rented townhome. I can’t build anything or take a wall down so it’s more like be creative as creative can be. :>)

    Any tips?

    Meghans inspiring blog post..Cupcake Queen of Nevada

  6. Bella Casa

    I feel the same way….wish we still lived in our little bungalow over this home, which is twice the square footage. It’s funny what we ‘think’ we want…and then when we are lucky enough to get it, we realize what we had wasn’t so bad after all. Life’s funny that way.

    Loved all of these ideas and photos.


    Bella Casas inspiring blog post..Political Wordless Wednesday

  7. Kathy

    We live in a very small house! 1100 sq. ft. While I don’t wish for a huge place, I sure would love just another 1000 sq feet in living room, dining room and bedroom space. We always host the family gatherings and as the kids grow into adults the squeeze gets tighter every year! My dream would be to add on a very large family room that would open into the current living room with french doors to make one big space for those gatherings!

    Kathys inspiring blog post..Fall Porch Party

  8. Linda

    Our last house was a teensy little spanish/med cottage. LOVED it…and happened to do most of what you mentioned. We redid the kitchen and a bath and turned a screened in porch into a space with three french doors to a new patio! LOVE the efficiency of a tiny space…especially a small kitchen!

    Great post!

  9. Kristen

    I absolutely love all the ideas, but the bathrooms and the built ins under the staircase are by far my favorites. I’m wishing I had a staircase right about now…

    Kristens inspiring blog post..Wedding Wednesday!

  10. Lorrie

    I love all the ideas you’ve given. And I have a question for you. We have a bumped out window in our living room – not quite as wide as the one you pictured. I used to have a valance hanging there, kind of a foofy affair. We’ve taken that down and just have wide slat blinds (white) on the windows now. But I’d like some kind of curtain/window treatment to finish it a little and to add warmth, especially in the winter. Any ideas?


  11. meg duerksen

    we live in a big house but i looooove smal cozy houses too. someday we may go back to that. they sure are easier to clean.
    these are all such good ideas. i love the drawers under the stairs! in our old house…that was wasted space! what a great idea!

    meg duerksens inspiring blog post..i was on a roll.

  12. Julie

    Hi, this is my first comment on your blog, but I’m a frequent reader.

    We live in a small home–5 of us plus a cat & dog in 1200 sq ft. That’s 2 bedrooms! It’s tight, but we love it. We have a 12 ft wall of windows in the front, facing south. That’s how we make it appear larger & more open. My kitchen is tiny & we’re working on an addition.

    Julies inspiring blog post..Tybee Island, our vacation

  13. Vee~A Haven for Vee

    Small house here, too. I think that we’ve done about half of these things so far. That little house is so charming…wish mine were half so cute.

    I’m still working my way through the Porches on Parade list. What fun that has been. Thanks, Melissa!

    Vee~A Haven for Vees inspiring blog post..And then there was Nan’s

  14. Deb

    Our rooms are much smaller than the ones you’ve pictured. We were blessed to have many of the things you mentioned come with the house. But I have to say I LOVE those cabinets and drawers under the steps. What an AMAZINGLY CLEVER use of space!! I’ve never seen anything like it!

    Debs inspiring blog post..Burgularized!

  15. Melissa

    Yes, I have a brand new layout and banner so little by little I am getting all settled in! :-)

    Lorrie, On the bump out, I would do stationary curtains on either side using those small rods that don’t go all the way across. I have them in my dining room (even though we don’t have a bumpout window). I think they would add just the right amount of warmth and finish the window off nicely!

    Good tips here in the comments! Thanks!

    Happy day!

  16. Miss Mari-Nanci

    Oh Hon, you are so cute! You actually admit that you want your small house back!!! :-)

    I want a small house too! Not the generic one we had, first though. Ours was not cute. I want that Story Book house you picture! !! Ohhhhhhhhh yesssssss!

    And look in back, it even has what could be a Work Shop for my husband! It’s probably the garage, in this house setting. But it would be a Work Shop! Our garage already is that here. :-)

    For many reasons, we will live out our days in this now-too-big 2 story house, in which we raised our family. Yes, it’s too big for us now. No, it’s not nearly AS big as a 3 kid family house *has to be* today! LOL.

    But I will always want a charming Story Book Cottage with just enough rooms for two people. -sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-

    And I repeat, you are so cute!

    Gentle hugs,
    Miss Mari-Nanci

    Miss Mari-Nancis inspiring blog post..Of beautiful leaves, and smaller sizes… ,-)

  17. HBee

    Oh my! I love that little tiny house with the arched doorways and windows. The little path leading to the door. It’s so cute! I wish I could buy it and live there! Someday…
    Thanks for the ideas! I’m going to need all the tips I can get for living in a small space!

    HBees inspiring blog post..4/20

  18. Deanna

    We live in a 1400 sq.ft home. When we bought it, it was a wreck! We ripped out carpet and vinyl, we tore down horrible plastic trim from around the doors…in their place we added pine floors, new interior doors purchased at a construction auction for $68 for 8 doors! We put new door trim in a traditional style and new baseboard trim. It is still a work in progress but we love it – the living room and kitchen are open to each other, it is a charming house, now.

    Many would think that we would need a much bigger home as we have 6 kids, but we don’t. It is perfect for us.

    Deannas inspiring blog post..High Flying Boy

  19. HBee

    Oh yes, I love the coziness of smaller homes too!

    HBees inspiring blog post..4/20

  20. Julie in Indiana

    Wow these pictures of little houses look huge compared to our 1020 sq ft ranch; we are finishing half the basement and thrilled to have more living space for our family of 7 going on 8.

    LOVE your blog.

  21. janet

    We live in what is an average size house her in Mass. It’s about 1800sf and we raised the four boys here with 1.5 baths with no problem. Now that they are gone we are having fun doing mini makeovers on each room and spreading out a bit. I think we will stay here for quite a while as it is not too big and not too small…just right. Oh yeah, and my husband swears he will never move again!


    janets inspiring blog post..HAVE YOU HEARD?

  22. Rhoda

    Hi, Melissa, I love all these pics…very pretty. I guess I live in a fairly large house at 3000 SF, but I could go smaller easily. I’d love all the charm of an older small house, but I think I would miss the storage that a larger house has. I definitely don’t want to go any bigger than the one I’m in now. It’s plenty big!

    Rhodas inspiring blog post..Covering a Lampshade

  23. amydeanne

    okay, I think I’ve got everyone beat here.. we’re in 960 sq ft and there are 6 of us. we’re debating the first one you’ve listed there about popping the windows out to fix part of the area, but honestly i’m at a loss we have a total open plan and i really don’t have a clue what to do with it, other than totally go ikea, which I’m not really fond of.. i’m a traditional kinda girl, so it’s been a huge frustation of mine how to make it work.

    amydeannes inspiring blog post..WFW ~

  24. Jen

    My house is 900 main floor and 900 finished walk out basement. It’s way too big. The only person that goes downstairs is my dh because his workshop is there. The main floor is laid out badly and would reveal more space if we could rearrange some walls.

    I have in my mind a house about 1000 square feet (for 4-6 people)1 floor (I hate having a basement) open concept. It would be a stone cottage like the old English cotswold type homes.

    Ahh it would be lovely.

    Jens inspiring blog post..More Halloween Treats

  25. Farrah

    In my dreamland of never ending funds and a super creative and productive mind, I’d do each one!! LOVE the ideas, HATE that I lack the funds, and WISH I lived in one of this spots. ;-)

    Farrahs inspiring blog post..Friday Blast to the Past…Kool Aid

  26. Maven

    I loved this one Melissa and will be referring back to it.

    We’ve built a courtyard patio and next year will be building an outdoor brick barbecue (can’t wait!) I;ve also had so much fun installing shelves and changing things – I love my small house! The next thing I want to do is something I’d forgotten about that you just re-inspired: French doors!

    Thanks :-)

    Mavens inspiring blog post..A Rock, A River, A Tree… Country Weekends, New Beginnings, and Porches on Parade

  27. Julia

    Love these photos. Unfortunately for me, the small houses in my town aren’t nearly this charming. They’re tiny ranches that all look exactly the same, or bi-levels from the ’80s. I wish builders would catch a clue and build us some smaller homes with character and detail and storage as in days gone by. *sigh*

    Julia @ Hooked on Housess inspiring blog post..The House from the Shia LaBeouf Movie “Disturbia”

  28. Tracy

    I live in a small, boxy tract home built in the mid-70’s. No storybook charm here. (Unless you count the lava rock fireplace as “rustic” and “woodsy”. I did not. It’s been refashioned.)
    To bring charm and cottagey style we have added: wainscoating and mouldings, french doors and multi-paned windows, panelled interior doors, broken flagstone paths, white-painted trellises and arbors front and back, and lots of color, pattern and texture. Contrary to popular belief, I think small rooms look better with color on their walls and lots of layers of furniture and accessories to blur the edges and give you plenty to look at so you don’t focus only on how small the space is.
    Best way to make a small space feel more expansive: medium to darkish wood floors. We learned that lesson by installing wood in only half the house and the difference is glaringly obvious. Next project: panelling the vaulted ceilings in our living room and kitchen. As soon as I can get the husband on board . . .

  29. Karen B

    What an adorable house! Okay, when we moved to SoCal we “downsized”. I guess not so much as I still live in about 2900 sq ft. It is chopped up and I REALLY wanted a great room, but none were to be had in this area. Storage is vital in SoCal therefore too many people use their garages. We have lots and lots of bookshelves and built-ins. Here windows, light and outdoor living are key to open up spaces. What I need to know is where did you get that dining room picture? I NEED that table, seriously.

    Karen Bs inspiring blog post..Staircase Love

  30. Lisa

    Wonderful ideas! We live in an average house – just right for us, but storage is definitely lacking. You always have something that makes me look around my house with a new perspective and gets me to start “dreaming” about ways to improve it!

    Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolatess inspiring blog post..Tea for Two-sday ~ Another Tea Poem

  31. Angela (Cottage Magpie)

    What a great post, very helpful. And lovely photos, too. You always find the best photos. Drool, drool, drool. I’m dying to know which neighborhood you live in. My old house was much simpler, but in this same English vein. Loved it! But oh, those small rooms! I spent so much time mentally remodeling.
    ~Angela :-)

    Angela (Cottage Magpie)s inspiring blog post..Drive By: Gathering Autumn Porch Ideas

  32. Cassie

    What a beautiful house! I DO live in a small house – an old 1950s farmhouse in rural ND. I just got married this summer, and my husband has been renting the house we now live in for the last 5 years, so any changes I’ve made or can make are better if they’re not structural:).

    A few things I’ve done to turn “old farmhouse, untouched for years” into “hip farmhouse lived in by cool newlyweds”…

    * I ripped up the blue shag carpet and revealed the beautiful hardwood underneath. Always a good move.
    * I took down ALL the wallpaper. No one needs that. And clean, fun paint colors have brightened up all of our rooms!
    * I tore down old, dusty, space-consuming curtains – there were windows under there :)!
    * I cleaned. A lot:).
    * I use as many creative lighting solutions to light up the rooms as possible. Light makes it all seem bigger:).

    Cassies inspiring blog post..Not Tasty Tuesday:S…

  33. teresa

    Be still my heart…I love that house. Great ideas- Right now I’m living in a small little bungalow- at first I thought it was going to be a pain. But I’m so enjoying the coziness of it. One thing I’ve learned is natural light is a must! It really helps to have the windows as free as possible from too many window treatments. Little cottages etc have always appealed to me- A collection of european style cottages by Jack Arnold just call to me. If I build another home it will be one of his plans-
    Thanks for todays post- loved it!

  34. Liz

    Great article, the average house in the UK is probably sub 1200sq ft and the new ones are much less than 1000 sq ft – 65 million people living on a little island means there isn’t much room! The pictures above would be considered a big house here :)

    But we’ve gotten pretty at living in a small space. it basically means not too may large pieces of furniture or having too much stuff. We generally buy furniture that can be used in a multitude of ways. Ikea is wildly popular here because of the price and the furniture tends to fit into the rooms here well.

    Walls are decorated in plain, neutral colours with maybe an accent wall that stops the room from feeling enclosed. Some people also paint the woodwork and radiators the same colour to make the room seem bigger also. Check the Pottery Barn website, they have some awesome ideas for small space living.

    [email protected] inspiring blog post..Sweetpeas

  35. DebbieCalif

    Hey Girl, This post is marvelous. I mentioned you on my post today about how you gave me an idea about a blessing book. I made one for a giveaway, and I want to send you one too…you get the credit for giving me the idea! Thank you for the wonderful idea!
    When you can send me an address that I can send you this little gift.

    DebbieCalifs inspiring blog post..Homecoming

  36. Ramona Owen

    After 14 wonderful years we moved from our 1,300 square foot house when our 4th child was born. Our current home is twice the size and it is pretty funny that we still spend most of our time in our teeny~tiny family room…You can take the family out of the small home but you can’t take the small home out of the family…I often miss that smaller house and I too used to sit and imagine all the changes I would do to find more space.

    Smiles ~ Ramona

    Ramona Owens inspiring blog post..Taking Time For A Bit Of Porch Put~zing

  37. Corinne

    I love smaller spaces rather than large homes. I posted about my love for small, cozy, cottage homes recently. I love the character and the closeness (as in my kids all hanging out with us in the family room, than in other parts of a large house). I agree with opening up walls and having a more open floorplan. I just love an open kitchen into the family room. Everyone is hanging out and doing their thing with all of us together and part of it all.

    Corinnes inspiring blog post..It’s A Book Tag

  38. Laura Ingalls Gunn

    I love the drawers under the stairway. We had one home in England where a previous owner had installed a very tiny powder room under the stairs.

    Laura Ingalls Gunns inspiring blog post..A Blissful Booth

  39. Chie

    Unfortunately, I live in a small house. Not my taste but hubby love old and wood house.

    Luckily, we have enough cabinets for my cutlery but not big enough for my walk-in §:-)
    I have small rooms in the cellar for my grocery, shoe room, linen room and a for the winter clothes.

    We have the same thoughts. Planning all the things to make the house more beautiful… my, my, my! Now, am desperated to think of it.

    Have a nice day!

    Chies inspiring blog post..MY dreamy Wednesday

  40. Penny

    Those are all great ideas! What is considered a “small” house? My house is 2000 square feet, and some would consider it small. One trick I use is trying to have all of the flooring match from room to room. I also have the clear seamless shower surround in my master bath.

  41. cindy~my romantic home

    I love everything about this post! I love small homes…just not too small! Mine (which is an apt.) is only a little over 900 sq. ft. …way too small! I’ve always wanted a home with an arched front door! Nothing gets more cottagy than that!

  42. Dolce Chic

    Thanks for the great tips! I like the space for the dog bed, that’s perfect!

  43. sarah

    great post, some good ideas and inspiration, my cottage is small really and the storage problem is a nightmare, I am having to be more and more creative, great idea for using the nooks and crannies…

    we opened up the parlour/sitting room by removing both the doors and it’s amazing the difference in light and how it changed the use of the room

    of course light colours and lots of mirrors help too

    thanks for the inspiration


    sarah @ a beach cottages inspiring blog post..white painted beachy stripe chair

  44. Debbie/Four Angel's Momma


    I really enjoyed this post, but I have to say that you could make any place seem cozy and adorable! You just have that kind of spirit and I love it. I also enjoyed reading all of the comments. Very creative, interesting readers you have here.

    Big hugs,

    Debbie/Four Angel’s Mommas inspiring blog post..Reflections on What Must be

  45. Melissa

    I do have awesome commenters. I love reading every thing you all say. Do you want to come over for cupcakes?

  46. Suzann

    This is the BEST post ever!!! I have had a teenie tiny house and a house that was so big (in my eyes) that I was almost embarrassed by it’s size. Give me a small house any day!!! We now live in a house that is bigger than my favorite house, but half the size (or less) than my last house. I’m happier, but I miss my tiny house desperately.

    As for making it feel not so tiny? Some of my favorite ideas are keep it light and bright. Light colored walls, cabinets, window coverings, etc. I’ve taken down walls and in fact over this past weekend I came up with this crazy idea to put transom windows above the doors in the hallway to brighten up the hall. What a huge difference. The best thing to do is to keep the clutter to a serious minimum. LOVE your ideas and these photos are terrific too. Thanks!!!!

    BTW…I’m having a give away, pop by my blog if you’re interested.

    Suzanns inspiring blog post..Want to Get Something for Nothing?

  47. Toni

    I can so relate to today’s post! We built a house 6 yrs ago, my dream. Even it was small compared to houses built today as it was 2500 sq ft. Due to a job change, after 5 yrs we sold it and bought a slightly smaller (1900 sq ft) house in a quaint historical district. I thought when we moved that I was going to grieve my dream house for a long time , but I am happier in my 80 yr old house (which is similar in style to the one you pictured) than I ever imagined I would be! I have had so much fun doing just what you said, as we’ve added a few things here and there. This spring we poured a stained/stamped concrete patio/courtyard that I just love and it has added additional entertaining space. I’ve even thought that I wouldn’t mind living in something even smaller. Ironically, I work for a builder that builds luxurious mcmansions, and they don’t EVEN appeal to me!

  48. Sara

    What great small house ideas! -And they sound so *do-able*!

  49. Karisa

    Thanks for the GREAT tips.
    I live a very small space. I have all my daughter’s small toys divided in several buckets. I let her play with one ‘bucket’at a time, for her short attention span and quick pickup. I store them on hight shelf in a bookshelf.

    Karisas inspiring blog post..Perspective: from a Daughter and Wife

  50. Julianna

    I grew up in 1200 sq. ft. and loved it, but that was 3 people–two being of the female persuasion. With my own family I love my 2560 sq. ft., but that’s four people–three being of the male persuasion. I tell ya those boys take up more physical room…

    Juliannas inspiring blog post..Farm Town Festival

  51. rochambeau

    Hi Melissa,
    The stairwell idea is great!!
    Hope all is well.
    Your blog looks nice.


    rochambeaus inspiring blog post..Addison Endpapers

  52. Isle Dance

    Fantastic examples! I adore small spaces and am building one now. They are the best! :o)

    Isle Dances inspiring blog post..Must Enjoy Sunset

  53. Su Ling

    wow…the house in the first pic is so magical! Wished I had a house like that! Thanks for the sweet and warm wishes you left on my blog! xoxo Su Ling

  54. Mrs. B

    Hi Melissa! I love your tips. Interior glass doors are one of my favorites. I already have plans to add some to one room in our home… I just have to wait 4 years until I have one less child at home because it’s a bedroom. The home in your photos is darling!

    Mrs. Bs inspiring blog post..Soccer… it’s taking over my life

  55. Rebecca

    Loved the post. We have sort of a small house and I’m always looking for ingenious ideas on how to smartly use my space. Beautiful pics. I especially love the glass doors to the exterior space.

    Rebecca @ Harmony and Home Blogs inspiring blog post..Beautiful Homes on Alameda Island

  56. Annette

    Just love your site. We have a smallish house, but have open living areas with big windows in our family room that overlook a nice green garden. This really helps create the sense of space.
    The front porchs are amazing. I’m from Australia and we don’t get into the Halloween thing very much, some people try but it really is an American tradition!

    Annettes inspiring blog post..A bit of craft stuff!

  57. Esther

    We live in a small house too…6 rooms in all, not counting the hallway. The laundry is outside. It has it’s challenges but I like living in a small house…it certainly challenges me not to accumulate too much stuff. I often lie awake in bed at night, mentally renovating our home, but nothing too big or drastic. Hubby and I just don’t want the hassle or expense. We have torn up the carpets which makes a big difference and taken down the floor length curtains.

    Esthers inspiring blog post..A change is as good as a holiday.

  58. Geri

    I love your blog… The pic’s are always great as well as your subject matter. My husband and I just built a very large english cottage style house. Once i learn how to use my camera and download pictures, maybe I can show you. As much as it is beautiful and a dream home, I find that I need to fill it up so that it feels small; I am used to being cramped and making small spaces work. Again, your blog is inspiring….Geri

  59. Jane

    I **love** this post!

    We went from a 2400 sf house to a 1400 sf home. Notice the change from house to home? Since entering in to ‘cottage’ living we’ve become much more creative, simplified and choosy in our belongings. We ‘gave up’ 1000 sf and furniture but we gained a sweet life. We love small home living. Our home’s interior has been remodeled here and there to meet our needs and style. Empty spaces were reworked by my able husband to provide practical space for storage and stereo needs. The once empty, all to basic, ho-hum and otherwise boring lot has been transformed into one of garden room vignettes separated by arbors, gates, flowering shrubs and vines. Long since being used, our daughter’s wooden swingset was made into three arbors which gain entrance into a new part of our garden rooms. My husband is building a 10×10 shop and once he’s done with that we’ll begin the process of building a 12×16 cottage, 20 feet from our home. It will be used by our daughter and have electricity but no bathroom facility as the sewer line doesn’t reach and besides, adding a bathroom would alter our property taxes ($$$). We’ll put in a brick path to the house where she can gain entrance through the french door. I love our little home and all the benefits our family have embraced. :o)

  60. Victoria

    This is so timely for me. My husband and I downsized to a smaller home (1800 sq) and with six children and five grandchildren between us, it is sometimes very full when everyone comes to our home for family events. It made me reconsider moving here and wanting a larger home again. But then, we are near retirement age in a few more years, and we want to be free to travel and not worry so much about the upkeep of a large home and yard. However, I still need space and the bumped out window idea may be a problem solver that my husband will go for since he’s against making major changes to this house. Thanks so much for your wonderful blog. I spend a lot of time here lately and at Cote de Texas. I’m hooked on your fun and informative design blogs.

  61. Sarah Mae

    Such lovely pictures and ideas, but I have to say, THAT IS NOT A SMALL HOUSE!!! :)

    Let me tell you about a small house: it’s a duplex (we are one house split in two), has three small bedrooms and only one closet in the whole house, has one very tiny bathroom. I love our cozy little house, but the word small must be getting quite relative!

    The house pictured would be my big dream house! Haha! People on here must live in mansions!


  62. Melissa

    Ha, Sarah Mae! Those pictures are just to show ideas and concepts, not to necessarily represent a small house! It is hard to find pictures sometimes and I go with what I can find. :-)

  63. Irene

    Melissa, this is one of your best. Well illustrated and very informative. Bravo.

    Irenes inspiring blog post..See you soon!

  64. Lisa & Alfie

    Yes that little house is just perfection. I liken a house to a purse. The bigger it is, the more you have in it. The smaller it is, the less you find you need. When you are forced to edit, it is amazing how much less you can be happy with! Some great ideas and spaces shared here Melissa. Thanks and have a wonderful day.
    Lisa & Alfie

    Lisa & Alfies inspiring blog post..How time flies!

  65. Stacey

    I have lived in small homes before! My current home has more square feet, but smaller/average size rooms. My fav things for making a space bigger — use a consistent, simple color palette throughout the home, AND don’t break up spaces by constantly switching flooring materials! That really makes a space (especially open floor plans) smaller! I also like to not have tons hanging all over my walls. That can really close things in as well!

    Stacey @ The Blessed Nests inspiring blog post..Roses Are Red

  66. Debbie

    I moved from a townhouse that was 1,400 square feet into a house that is 3,770 square feet. I love my home but it takes so much more time to clean and there’s more room to accumulate stuff. So, I really do understand what you’re saying.

    I also love some of your ideas for opening up small rooms. And the storage ideas are so helpful too.

    Debbies inspiring blog post..Joy on This Thankful Thursday

  67. Melody from ~Pennies In My Pocket~

    Ooooo I LOVE this post! We don’t have a ‘small’’s around 2700 sq ft, but we are remodeling and using a lot of these ideas. As soon as we sell the other 2 properties we own (I know, GOOD LUCK in this market) then we’re finishing all our projects.

    We’re adding two sets of French doors to our family room, we remodeled the downstairs bath and waiting to put in the frameless shower doors, ‘double duty’ room (like you show) in my office, replacing my double doors with French doors to my office, adding built-in shelves to either side of the fireplace, and I LOVE the drawers under the stairs. I’m SO going to do that!!! Our stairs are right next to my dining room and I could use these for napkins, table cloths, etc. THANK YOU for that idea!!


  68. casacaudill

    Our house is considered small at 1537 square feet – we have 2 bedrooms, 1 office and 1 bathroom, plus a foyer, living room, dining room, kitchen and laundry room. The flow works for us but I can see how for others it wouldn’t. One thing that I’ve always thought was that if you put petite/small furniture in a small room it really shows how small the space is. For instance, I’ve been in small living rooms where the owners had a side chair and a 2-seater love seat. I looked at the size and realized that if they had just bought a 3-seat couch that had a different shape, it wouldn’t have looked like they couldn’t fit “regular sized” furniture in the room. It’s all about the function of the furniture too. Our couch is too large for our living room, but we bought it when we lived in a large, open loft and it’s a great piece so I wasn’t going to get rid of it – instead, I made it work and it doesn’t make the room look small at all.

  69. Darla

    You always have such beautiful photos and great ideas.

    I could sleep behind glass but I’m pretty sure I could not shower behind/infront of it. It’s ummmm just not right and would show too much grape jelly, if ya hear me. ;)

    Darlas inspiring blog post..Still think you might get a good deal at Linens & Things?

  70. lylah ledner

    i love the calm these pics bring….thanks friend.

  71. Sue

    I never thought my house was small until I started reading about and seeing on HGTV houses over 3,000sq. ft. My little house is 1800sq.ft. and I think its a fine size. It helps that it has a cathedral ceiling in my great room with a stone fireplace that goes all the way up the wall to the ceiling….we did tear down a wall between my kitchen and family room and that helped also…..If I got rid of all my “stuff” it would probably seem twice as big….

    Sues inspiring blog post..LA MOUFFE! ……THE NAME BEHIND THE STREET

  72. The Lazy Organizer

    Great ideas and I love the photos! Especially the one of the studio because that is going to be an upcoming project around here.

    The Lazy Organizers inspiring blog post..Some of you are probably wondering…


    Wow…is all I can say! I’m new to the bloggin world, but I LOVE all of your pictures and ideas. I LOVE old homes…not to mention the no-sew embroidery ideas. Thanks for all of the great posts and do keep ’em coming!

    HEAVEN SOWNs inspiring blog post..2008 Rock Your Vote!

  74. kim

    What fabulous ideas!! I too, use to live in such a cute and tiny house – I sooo miss it {including that tiny house payment!} We just started multiplying and the backyard kept shrinking for all the renovating and add-ons. I still regret selling it – I don’t know why?? There is noway I could fit my family inside it {at the same time!}

    Thanks for visiting my blog!! I’m loving yours – I’ll be back!

  75. please sir

    These are AMAZING ideas – thanks so much for sharing! I would have to agree with them all!

    please sirs inspiring blog post..Charming

  76. Debbie/Four Angel's Momma

    Oh how I wish that we could do cupcakes, or chocolate chip pumpkin bread, or anything yummy! Just as long as we could finally hug in person.

    Until then, I am sending you some more cyber-hugs and wishing you a cozy evening!

    Love you, my sweet BFF,

    Debbie/Four Angel’s Mommas inspiring blog post..Reflections on What Must be

  77. Genevieve Ferraro

    What a wonderful blog! I just found out about you through a friend.
    Anyway, I have a website and blog – The Jewel Box Home – devoted exclusively to small home decorating, entertaining and living.

    Genevieve Ferraros inspiring blog post..The Jewel Box™ Home – Resources You Can Use

  78. Jeanne

    Our two smaller houses had loads of charm and I love that. On the other hand, our two larger houses had/have their advantages … like master suites and lots of storage room …. I’d vote for more charm and coziness if everyone can have SOME private space and we’re not stepping on each other’s toes all day. :-)

    Jeanne @ Inspiring Ideass inspiring blog post..Fall / Thanksgiving Centerpiece

  79. jill

    Seeing the interior glass doors made me smile. I have two sets of them off my living room. One to the master bedroom, the other to my office/studio.

    jills inspiring blog post..Southern Chai Tea Latte

  80. Sweet Cottage Dreams

    First off, I adore the little cottage with the pitched roof and old Hansel and Gretel feel. I have always wanted a home that looked like this. Like you, I prefer smaller cottage-style homes BUT those who do have some space to sprawl out in and also with plenty of storage.

    I like the idea of the storage under the stairs and adding inner doors to reflect light and let light move around. The home you have shared is so pretty! Whoever owns this little tuck box has surely decorated it beautifully.

    To make my little house seem larger, I use mirrors to bounce light off of. My boys call it “The House Of Mirrors” – ha ha. But the mirrors can really make a smaller home appear larger.

    Have a happy weekend, Melissa and give Mr. Winston a big hug and kiss from myself and Duhgall.


  81. Denise Fontaine

    I am so happy I found your blog!! I live in a small coastal NE village and am moving into a cottage.Any suggestions for dark wood paneling..I cannot paint I am a renter?
    Thank You! Denise Hull,Mass.
    PS I am also a former artisan for Baby Universe and Luxury Tots!

  82. Joan Kosmachuk

    There are small homes and then there are those of us who live in REAL SMALL homes. My condo in an old brownstone in downtown Boston is less than 800 square feet. In our neighborhood we have one of the more spacious homes. Many of my clients live in less than 400 square feet. When I first moved in here with my husband (who pre-owned the space) I thought I’d give it 6 months and then we were MOVING to a bigger home. After all, I’d lived in 1200 square feet just for me and I thought that was small.
    3 and a half years later I’m LOVING living in a small space and we both work from home too.
    The thing with small spaces is you have to first “be content” with your square footage. Secondly, there’s no room for clutter — a place for EVERYTHING and a habit of putting everything in its place is key. Also, if you don’t need it, use and AND LOVE it, it goes.
    But you get to choose QUALITY over quantity. It takes less of everything to complete your look. Cleaning your space takes a few hours instead of the entire weekend. There’s lots of “togetherness”. You feel good about the fact that you really use every square inch of your home on a daily basis. You spend less time “tending” the home and have more time to explore the rest of the world knowing at the end of the day you have a cozy retreat to come home too. Don’t think I could ever go back to large but I have wondered about going smaller. LOL

  83. DearSportsMom

    After raising four kids in our 3000 sq. ft. house, my husband and I are putting it on the market this week. Not the best time to be a seller, but a great time to be a buyer! So we’ll be out looking for a small, cozy house in the near future (I hope). The best use of small space we have found was using an old computer armoire for all of our business supplies, which included printing DVDs for our international golf and baseball customers. I often thought how funny it seemed that the customers had no idea of the humble beginnings of their purchases. With today’s technology, it doesn’t take much to make things look professional. Thanks for the inspiration for small spaces. And I’ll need to have smart storage ideas too since I still have much of my kids’ stuff while they are in college.

    DearSportsMoms inspiring blog post..The Best Birthday Gifts

  84. Imelda Phillips

    I consider it a wonderful blessing that I chanced upon your blog. All your posts are very uplifting. Thank you for sharing all your inspiring ideas. I have a blog mainly for my own personal journaling but your blog inspires me to take mine to a new level…to inspire others as well. I am “hooked” on your blog…I bookmarked it as an inspiration blog. This particular post is truly uplifting for me. I downsized two years ago and this post inspired me to blog about the benefits of what I call a “smaller with bigger soul” home. I will be posting it soon. Thanks again. God Bless.

  85. Angela

    Love your blog!! Thanks for the small house inspiration. We just moved into a smaller house from big (3,000 sf to 1,700), so I’m so grateful for great ideas! I have had to get really creative with where to put things and what to get rid of. It feels great though!

    Angelas inspiring blog post..Leelou’s Launch Party Giveaway!!

  86. Silvina

    Hi, I love your ideas and trying to make our small house in a better place. We´re five, my three girls, my husband and we need to be orginized not to live in kaos. Hope to see more ideas for small places.
    Thanks from Argentina.

  87. thatgirlblogs

    I love this house!

    Our house is similar in size. Luckily we have a LOT of windows, which really helps. I keep the shades up most of the time, and let a lot of light in.

  88. patricia

    We moved from a big house into a small home and I have no idea what to do with all my big bulky furniture, It’s fairly new so we can’t afford to buy more !! your ideas are helping please keep them coming .

  89. tami

    I live in a small house, with a french door and roller shade going into the master bedroom, we have a similiar courtyard, the round top entry door, opened up staircase etc.
    I felt like this post was about my house!
    We love our home and plan to stay here, it is on the small side now but someday when our boys are grown and moved out my husband and I can stay here.

    tamis inspiring blog post..Gardening in the House

  90. Karen

    Small houses are the way to go these days with the energy situation. Who can afford to heat and cool a large house if you had one? I moved from a very small 2 bedroom house under 900 sq. ft. but it had a lot well planned storage.
    – It had only one bathroom, but there was one door to the hall and one door to the master bedroom, so it functioned like a two bathroom house.

    – The kitchen was a galley so there was a lot of counter space, including a pantry, while not taking up a lot of space. The eating area adjoined our kitchen, but was decorated so you could host a dinner party or just eat your Cheerios.

    – My new kitchen has 42″ cabinets that go the whole way to the ceiling. I don’t stop there. I have added an extra shelf or two to many of my cabinets/closets, thus increasing the storage by 25%. I also hang wire door storage on the back of my linen closet, pantry, laundry room door and garage door to hold small bottles of supplies.

    I’m new to blogging and I haven’t posted my own blog yet. You have given me ideas. I must get out my camera and post.

  91. Mandy

    I live in a small house. My little cottage. I guess to some it is not small but most everyone I know has a bigger house than me and that is fine. We built 6 1/2 years ago and purposely built 2100 sq ft. Mainly, that is what we wanted and what we could afford. I guess the best thing is that it is open concept. It does make decorating a little challenging because I really try to coordinate all the rooms. From one room you can see the kitchen, dining room, breakfast room, study and living room. The one thing I would change is doing away with the formal dining and have a large breakfast room that could be formal or casual.

  92. mac

    Ive given up the soaps for reading blogs, checking out others minds.
    my house if 1850 ft and with only 2 of us now its enough but I still wish I had my gallie kitchen back that I had in our old house in so cal.
    I still use a hint of bright red in different places in my attemps at decoration, I am a minimalist at heart, and use every trick people have shared my way. sooooo keep up this great idea for sharing this older senior is still learning.

  93. Anne Carrapiett

    Hi, Its a lovely house I like your ideas, forever after. Im after a bit of help are you able to think up some ideas because I’m at wits end.Its just 1 room . This is how it goes.You enter my house and you are in a lounge room. Kitchen entry to your right. then the people who had the house before us opened up the wall opposite to front door and then extended to the left and put on a extra bedroom, so theres a door on that wall. So every wall has a opening on it, its like a huge entry way. I have enough room to extent out the front but I don’t know what. At he moment I have a hall stand on left of bedroom door, a desk with kids computer on right of bedroom door (this is on left side of room) On right side of room is a shelving unit with tv and vcr and playstation coffee table. On the othe wall is a china cabnit . In front of tv is a single seater lounge chair. Thanks is you can Help Anne

  94. Julie Hays

    You talk about the house for that movie Disturbia? Do you know how I might go about getting or buying the blueprints for that house that they used in the movie?

  95. Laurelie Umphenour

    I have never learned about blogging, but it sure sounds fun. I just came across this site, because I am thinking of re decorating my kitchen and dining rooms before Christmas! May need to take it in small pieces though.
    My best partner, friend, and thrift store shopping buddy, of 25 years , just passed away two months ago. Finding this site makes me feel like she is still alive. I had no idea that there were other Christian ladies who enjoy the same things we do. I have been struggling so much with her losss. Seems that even the gals in my own church do not really understand my loss. She was like a Sister to me. Thank you so much for this site. I will come again and again. Laurelie

  96. Robin

    First time here. I do live in a small cape cod home. I really love it. I have lived in a larger home, as we ran out B&B for 6 yrs, but always kept our “little house”, as we call it. I was so happy to come home to my little house, after ending the B&B. Please stop over and visit when you have time. I am your latest follower!

  97. Susanne

    I’ll trade that small house for “my” small house any

  98. NanaDoll

    We live in a cottage style house of about 1000 sf plus a finished basement. The entire house has one bathroom (5 x 7), 3 small bedrooms, smallish living room and tiny dining room and kitchen. We have 3 adults and three small children inhabiting our tiny house. But we love our neighborhood, the creek and the woods out back, and getting that basement done has helped tremendously. This summer, we are opening up the wall between the living room and the kitchen to create more of a great room. If possible, we will have a large island that will expand eating space and a large uninterrupted work space. Right now the kitchen is completely isolated from the living room. I hate not being able to see what my little grandkids are doing when they are playing. And even though we do not have much natural light and very small windows, opening up that wall will add a tremendous amount of daylight to the north facing kitchen. Creating good and innovative storage will be essential to not feeling like all my junk is out in the open, but I think all in all it will help the flow and livability of this little house.

  99. Berniek

    I grew up in a big house, with a huge garden. I never really lived in a small house other then a few days a week. So big, spacious housing is my standard.
    I will however move in a few months to a small place. A really small place with only one bedroom and a livingroom/kitchen in 1. It’s going to be great because it will be my first real own home but I’m a bit scared about the small-issue. So I am searching all over for good advice on storage spaces and such. Thanks for this post, although I can’t change the place (I’m renting) there are some great tips!

  100. Lauren Hannah

    Even with the title description saying this is a small house, it still looks spacious. A great way to efficiently use and maximize the whole area.

  101. Gloria Miranda

    It looks very nice! I love the photos! It’s great how you did small house more livable. Great ideas Mellisa!

  102. JolieAnne

    I love small houses if all the stuff has a home and it is organized. I prefer a small house, but live in a
    4 bedroom home with a den and a large screen porch. It is a lot to clean! But when the kids are out
    my hubby and I will find a 1,200 sq foot house to start over in. We have started removing the items
    from our home that no one wants or uses. We have a large walk in pantry-it is getting cleaned and
    we will make it our rule-no more stuff goes in there!


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