Are These the Smallest Spaces on Houzz?
Often, when we run stories on living in homes with petite proportions, you tell us 'Small? You should see MY house!'
This bedroom may be minute, but it is perfectly formed. Rather than having the bed take up unnecessary floor space by – more conventionally – putting the bedhead on the back wall, the owners have found just enough space to turn it around, as well as butting the side up against the back wall.
Where this could look cramped and messy, instead it looks airy and designed. Here’s why:
- Crumpled bed linen: a subtle touch that allows the bed not to be made perfectly (which can be a pain with a bed surrounded on three sides) but still to look clean, stylish and – especially – cosy and inviting.
- Smart, deep storage drawers beneath the bed: yes, a bed on legs, through which you’d see the depth of the room, could make the space feel longer – but then you’d need bulky furniture elsewhere in which to stash stuff.
- An almost one-colour palette: keeping the drawers the same pale colour as the bed and walls and having a pale floor, too, banishes harsh boundary lines, which is also a good way to visually expand space. This trick is at play across the whole room.
- A wall light: nearly always the best solution for teeny spaces, since it frees up surface area and table tops that might otherwise house a freestanding lamp.
- The high shelf: also a nice touch. Here, it is used decoratively and enhances the feeling that the room is bigger than it is – especially as its use is decorative not functional. Why? If a room appears to have space to use shelves purely for display, it simply feels like it must have the space to do so. A little brain trick. Choose light or transparent objects, which won’t visually fill up the room. And if you simply don’t have that luxury of space, a higher shelf, or even two, spanning wall to wall (to stretch the space) can be used for paperbacks. Get ultra stylist-y if you’re so inclined and display them spines facing inwards to add texture not colour, or just stash white books on such a shelf.
This wee living room, which flows into a dinky dining space (in the foreground) has lots of smart tips to pick up.
Furniture is scaled down, so as to give the room the impression of being bigger, as well as not overcrowding it. Take the coffee table, an upcycled spool of some sort; not only is it low and compact, it’s also circular, often a wise shape in small spaces as curves can intrude less into a space than corners.
The side table next to the petite sofa and the armchair are interesting choices, too, as each is designed to let light through them, meaning they don’t block space and light.
Check out also the clever shelving, seen better in the next photo.
Picture, for a moment, walking into this studio flat before that shelving unit had been built and before the glass screen went up. You’d risk feeling like you’d arrived home and straight into the dining table. Subtle and, importantly, interesting divisions of space – especially those that don’t close it off, as here – are your friends.
This teeny tiny basin could get swallowed by a vanity unit, but with the hairpin legs its petite proportions are really highlighted. The legs also make it look more elegant and important – and, as already discussed – something may be small, but if you make it really special no one will be thinking whether it’s big enough. Instead, they’ll just be admiring it as, hopefully, you will also do daily. Distraction as a tool should not be underestimated!
Another great idea here is to have wall-mounted taps when you have to have a smaller than average basin – the last thing you want is deck-mounted ones impinging on the little space you already have. Act out washing your face exuberantly before you buy – if none of the water has a chance of going back into the basin, think again. Or design a wet room around it where it won’t matter.
This diddy home office is clever on several fronts. First off, rather than feeling thwarted by that – beautiful – low, skinny window, the owners have simply worked around it. The desk cuts through it, but by painting the worktop and window frame the same colour, the two features work with rather than against each other.
Investing in custom design for a space that needs to be functional is also a good tip to take from here: just look at how much storage has been packed in, and how deep the desk is – it looks so obvious when you see it now, but the secret of good design is that it’s so often deceptively simple.
This rooftop garden plays with proportions. Opting for furniture that’s low to the floor gives an impression of more head height. It’s a trick that works more obviously in rooms with low ceilings, but you can see how effective it is at also making this area feel like a welcoming lounging spot.
Another tip to take is not to scrimp on planting – it can be tempting to feel that crowding out the space with greenery will shrink it. In fact, you’ll only feel more like you’re in a lush, extravagant secret garden. But do choose plants that are easy to prune and handle, and also with soft foliage that you can brush past without ducking, diving and contorting.
No space for that statement slipper bath or roll-top? Are you sure…? Of course, having wall space either side would be more conventional, as would generally putting a fancy bath in a more generously sized room – but a small bathroom hasn’t stopped these homeowners from going big on their bathing spot. And what better way to make the most of a lush view like that?
Note, in this space, the smart inclusion of two good-sized wall niches for storage. These are always good for small spaces as they don’t eat into the floor space at all.
How to share a small bathroom (and still remain friends)
When you can’t find the right sofa for a very small living room, consider copying this idea. The homeowner has had her own bench seating built around the room, and beneath the cushions she’s bagged loads of extra storage to boot.
Ensure you design benches to be deep enough for slouchy TV-watching comfort, and invest in good-quality, thick cushions, which you can get made at a foam-cutting shop. This is furniture you’ll spend a lot of time on, so before you go ahead, make it your mission to seek out and try out every bench seat in your area – in cafés, friends’ homes, shops – so you can figure out what you do/don’t like.
Those stairs on the right lead up to the bed, and yet this diddy studio in Russia feels airy and spacious. The large window with a generous sill certainly helps, but what’s clever is the way that island has the feel of a generous, rustic kitchen table – and yet it functions as an island, housing a hob and a sink, as well as providing places to sit.
Lessons learned? Get creative with your kitchen island ideas, and seek out an induction hob that won’t remain hot when not in use to make sitting around it more relaxing and safer. Consider, too, how you could extend the space in front of your window – could a console-type table just below the level of the sill double as worktop space? Could you put a glass shelf half-way up the window, for something that won’t spoil the view, such as pots of herbs or glasses?
If you have the luxury of the space to push your bed forward by enough centimetres to install some meaningful storage behind it, this could be a solution. The beauty of this idea is that it doesn’t add visual clutter, you just have a nice false wall to enjoy.
Behind it, plan your storage extremely carefully. It might be tempting just to leave the area as a chuck-it-all-in zone, but how will you feel sleeping close to such mayhem? It’d be worth getting a professional involved as this isn’t an easy space to make useful, since long and narrow doesn’t make for ideal clothes accessibility. One option might be deep drawers along at least some of the area, or a combination of a horizontal hanging rail, or two, at the back, plus slim shelving for shoes along one side. Obviously the further forward you can push your bed, the better storage you’ll achieve.
Sure, a larger living room would give you plenty of space to walk around the footstool and the sofa here, but how necessary is that space?
As long as you have room not to have to duck or weave uncomfortably, you have enough. You just don’t have a huge living room. And that’s okay – as this clean, serene and inviting living space proves.
If you’re filling a long, narrow room with a sofa along one wall, if you can fit in an L-shaped design, as here, then do – it’ll help to reduce any corridor effect. If not, play around with other ideas to visually do the same – something like a big framed print or a large plant against the end wall to break up the long lines.
Again, let’s hear it for all-white for small interiors. That is a key factor in this airy result, rather than one that feels cramped.
Trying to fit a shower into a very small room? Rather than being thwarted by not having space for a nice shower door, consider a wet room.
If you can fit in a walk-in shower, like this one, self-contained bar the lack of door, rather than one that’s just open within a square room, then do – there’s something that feels good about stepping out of the shower, rather than just stepping towards the basin from beneath the shower.
Cupboard doors are useful, sure – but when you don’t have the clearance to open them, perhaps they’re not an option. Open storage, on the other hand, can be very useful in little rooms.
Use the closed storage you do have for everything bulky and ugly, and commit to keeping your open shelving well ordered and colour coordinated (not only with the kitchen but also the rest of the room if you are in an open plan space).
Do you have small space challenges in your home? How have you tackled them – or are you still trying? Share all in the Comments section!