I have lived in many different spaces in my adult life, but they all had one thing in common: their small size! I never found that I needed all that much room, and it allowed for me to spend money elsewhere (hello plane tickets)! Each place I have lived in has been its own unique challenge. I have spent the last 15 years figuring out how to make the most of the physical space around me to ensure that it looked great to the eye, was super functional, and brought me joy. These are the six key tips I have come to learn (and some of my best examples)! Small spaces have never been a limitation, they have been a spark for creativity. I hope that using these tips will help you see your spaces in the same way, as a source of inspiration!
1. Make storage decorative AND functional!
Seeing storage as an opportunity is one of the best pieces of advice I can give! One of my favorite parts of my house is my color coordinated book shelf! I have tons of books and organized normally it may just look like a traditional bookshelf for storage – but color coordinating the covers, using different levels and directions for placement ensures that this part of my home is not an eye sore, but a point of interest and decor! We did this with my hats on our gallery wall as well. We don’t have a ton of cabinet space in our kitchen, so we use a big open shelving unit (like this one!) and put some of our regularly used items in decorative containers to make this space both beautiful and functional! Check out some decorative containers here, here or here!
2. Don’t forget to look up!
As you can tell, we’re a bit plant crazy in our family. But we would never be able to have as many plant babies as we do if we didn’t utilize the ceiling and vertical space in our home. It allows for you to decorate without using valuable ground space. It also makes your space more interesting higher up on the eye – which will help to make the space feel bigger! You can find macrame hangers here or make your own! Perhaps I will do a tutorial on this as well as it’s pretty fun and easy!
3. Make the most of those weird walls.
Putting shelving (and mirrors) on some of our smaller screamingly useless walls has been such an expansion of our space. We use mirrors to help reflect light into darker corners and make the rooms we live in feel twice as large! Also, cutting wood to fit into smaller wall spaces as shelving has helped us use some of that vertical space that otherwise would be unusable. I have a big mirror in our bedroom much like this one.
4. A creative kitchen is a happy kitchen!
The kitchen we live with currently is one of the smallest spaces in the whole house – and we love to cook! So we had to get super creative about how we use the space. We have a large open shelving unit to supplement the cabinets, a home made table to fit the tiny corner that exists, and creative hooks for hanging our pots out of the way in an other wise un-usable location. One of my favorite things we have done in the kitchen is find a chopping board that fits perfectly over our sink – adding to the limited counter space that exists in this space! See cutting blocks like ours here and the hooks we use to hang out pots.
5. Make the space your own with a little DIY!
DIY your way into personality in your small spaces. We have added custom shelves, made-to-fit tables, added hooks to hidden locations for leashes and hats and more! Two of my favorite DIY projects were hanging an “indoor hammock” in our living room and creating a perfectly fitting side table out of a log from the back yard! I will do a DIY post on each of these in due time, but for now, you can find a similar hammock here!
6. See your outdoor space as an extension of the home- whether it’s a window sill, walk space, or full garden- use this space year round for seating, storage or decor!
I have lived in locations that had tiny decks, just a window, a fire escape to full back yards. In each of these spaces, not using any outdoor space you are given to your advantage is losing key space in your small home. We currently live with a backyard and have used that space as much as possible to almost double our living space in the warm months. We have even used some DIY hacks to create a shelf outside of one of our windows, hang outdoor lights, and even create a hutch on the side of our house to protect our bikes from the elements! One of my favorite backyard hacks is that we created a third raised bed out of cinder blocks – it was cheep and easy and allowed us to expand our raised garden quite a bit! Click the links to find lights, hammock and window boxes similar to ours.