Since the real estate bubble deflated years ago, many people have learned how to make the most of living by adjusting to a slightly smaller house.
If you have recently downsized your living arrangement, often work from home, or otherwise just short on space, follow these five simple solutions for making a small space seem big:
1. Organize Your Life and De-clutter Your Junk.
According to a recent study compiled by UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families, the amount of clutter in your home is directly related to the quality of life you experience.
They found a link between high cortisol (a common hormone associated with stress) levels in female homeowners and an abundance of household objects. The more stuff in a home, the more stress women feel.
Tip: a good rule of thumb is to take five minutes per hour to clean up the space around you.
Committing to a clutter-free environment will make your rooms feel bigger and make you feel better.
2. Utilize Your Walls and Ceilings with Unique Storage Options.
Tip: Optimize floor space by getting as many things as possible off of it.
Here are a few ideas to help you maximize your current wall space:
- Hang your bicycle from the wall or ceiling with easy-to-install hooks.
- Build shelves for books and other small items to be placed over doorways and, if possible, inside the wall space.
- Utilize the area above your kitchen cabinets for unused appliances, small empty boxes, and new china and place settings.
- Use unused room corners, which may provide ample storage space.
3. Brighten things up… Let there be Light!
Tip: the more Light you let into a room, the more spacious it will appear.
Use sheer window panels if you consistently access natural light, such as oversized windows and glass doors. Alternatively, you can be sure each room is well-lit by adding table and floor lamps, hanging chandeliers, and wall sconces.
When selecting a paint, darker shades tend to impose on a space, making it feel closed in. Select lighter, softer shades to “visually enlarge” your areas.
Remember to use bright colors sparingly – such as for accent walls.
4. Go for Multi-function Furniture to Enlarge Cramped Rooms.
- Instead of purchasing big odd-shaped coffee tables and oversized couches, try chests, sleeper-type sofas, ottomans, and wall benches with interior storage space instead.
- Use collapsible end tables that can be folded or put away when needed.
- Add vertical bookcases and push more oversized furniture toward the wall to avoid breaking up open living spaces.
5. Live a little more by taking advantage of the significant outdoor areas around your home.
- Trim your lawn and flowerbeds to avoid feeling crowded with overgrown and unkempt landscaping.
- Enclose covered patios and expand hardscape spaces to further your living area outdoors.
- Install a grill to “extend” the reach of your kitchen and dining areas.
Tip: relieve congestion in your garage with a tool shed or outdoor sheltered space to store seasonal and hardly used recreational equipment.
In short, you can optimize any small living space to accommodate your daily routine and lifestyle by simplifying and organizing your life and home.