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Small House Solutions

by | Mar 27, 2014 | Decorating Inspiration, small houses

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy here

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

Small House Solutions

Brick and Mortar – Kate Davison’s Home | Photography by Colin Price

Adding a horizontal striped rug visually widens a narrow space.

Small House Solutions

Jules Duffy Designs

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

Small House Solutions

Lizzy 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

Small House Solutions

The Everyday Home

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

Small House Solutions


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. (You can find a similar ottoman here or here!)

3) Not Enough Rooms

Small House Solutions


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

Small House Solutions

My 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

Small House Solutions


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.

Small House Solutions

Finding Home

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

5) Too Dark

Small House Solutions

Houzz | 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.

Small House Solutions

Windsor 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?

Some affiliate links used, thank you!

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  1. Lynn

    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. Lisa @

    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.

  3. Daniela

    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

      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.

  4. normaleverydaylife

    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!

  5. Kay

    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. ;-)

  6. Barb @ The Everyday Home

    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

  7. Sandra

    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.

  8. Sarah

    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 :)

    • Looking for help

      I am looking for creative ideas to use what I already have to store all my shoes. I need them to be centrally located and easy access.

  9. Dana Kay

    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!
    Dana Kay

  10. Tanya

    I like the measuring cup and spoons trick. That would save a lot of room in my cramped drawers. Thanks!

  11. Sammi @Sammi Sunshine

    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

  12. erin @ House Envy

    great post. I love the striped bath and the mirrored hallway. Mirrors in a small space are key!

  13. Linda

    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.

  14. Susan

    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.

  15. Wendi @ H2OBungalow

    Love the useful tips on small home living. The measuring cup cabinet is so creative!

  16. Brooke

    Melissa, AMAZING POST. One of my favorites ever.

  17. Zoe

    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

  18. Michelle Khan

    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!

  19. Joanna

    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.

  20. Cathy

    What a great post. I love the mirror and the built ins. I think the knifes on the wall were a little scary though in the first picture of the kitchen. Very Halloween/scary.

  21. kim

    Some of these ideas I have heard and use, but the wall of mirrors is an OCD’s nightmare…I would be winding all day(especially with little kids). And the dining table against the back of the sofa? Unless it’s specifically a game table, that has MESS written all over it! Pretty photos, but not all practical.

  22. kim

    that was supposed to say WINDEXING, not winding! :)


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