August 21, 2019 | Updated: 5 January 2021

Ask the Expert

Small homes and how to make the best of them

The old adage ‘big is beautiful’ no longer has the cache it once had: nowadays it’s all about keeping it small and manageable. 

This is true for everything from smaller cars, boutique hotels, food portions as well as the home. It’s about ensuring quality not necessarily quantity. Small means being able to afford better quality materials and stretching construction or refurbishment budgets. Small is also more economical in use, with fewer square meters to light and heat over the year.

Small Homes

Credits: @sa_decora


It’s all about the setting

Whether the small home is located within a rural setting or the urban context the secret is to respond to the surroundings. That means connecting the inside to the garden with windows and doors for the suburbs or the country setting. This connection with the outside makes even the smallest space seem less claustrophobic and for small apartments a balcony has a similar effect. But even a small home can be made to feel more generous with the right approach to design. Through the following sections we look at how to decorate a small room.


Small homes

Credits: @mycasainteriors


Colour and spatial perception

Strong, darker colours on walls can be oppressive and make a space feel smaller than it is in reality. It’s best to avoid fussy geometric wallpaper patterns. The opposite is also true, for adding dimension lighter more neutral tones can make a room feel more expansive. Even white can be made warmer with art works and furnishings.





Making the most of space

When deciding how to decorate a small living room the choice of furniture can make a big difference. The first rule is scale, in other words smaller items of furniture will make the space seem larger. Then think about furniture that fulfils more than one function, a coffee table that becomes a dining table. Or a sofa bed that folds out to accommodate visiting guests.



Credits: @goodchantier


Small kitchen ideas

The kitchen can also benefit from thoughtful design, small kitchen designs should include clever, optimum storage solutions and worktop surface. The kitchen layout is also an important consideration, a galley kitchen (two lengths of cabinets facing one another) is the most economical way of maximising the potential of a small space. Or perhaps a small kitchen island is the key to unlock the optimum layout.



Credits: @tamishome


How to make a small bathroom look bigger

Small bathroom designs can be surprisingly practical when the right fittings and installations are used. In fact the WC, wash hand basin and shower can all comfortably be accommodated within a space that measures little more than 1600cm in width, if required. To achieve the optimum bathroom layout instead of a door swinging into the space perhaps a sliding door is preferable. Other practical ideas for small bathrooms include large mirrored wall, a combined shower and bath as well as using white ceramic tiles on the walls. Here are some tips to make sure you measure the bathroom correctly for any refurbishment project that you decide to undertake.



Credits: @decoruminteriordesign

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