No space? No problem! Keeping a smaller home looking spick and span while also maximising its functionality doesn’t need to be a daunting task. By following a few key rules for how to best utilise the space available to you, it is easy to get your home feeling cosy and comfortable. Whether you’re a cash-strapped student or a family of four hoping to transform the tiny extra room, these clever tricks for getting the most out of small space interiors will get you on your way.
In a large home, rooms serve different purposes according to your lifestyle - however, in a home which is spatially challenged, these areas must be shrunk in proportion to the interior. Instead, try to create ‘zones’ to fulfill your various needs. A loft bed or loft workspace are perfect examples of breaking the space inside one room into layers which better serve the whole while also being psychologically separate from each other. Compartmentalise your living needs - do you need a desk area? Do you need hanging wardrobe space? Do you need a dressing table? These specific spaces can be layered to incorporate them into the same area in the home.
On a similar note, investing in furniture which transforms according to your needs and the time of day is a great way to maximise floor space and give the home an illusion of luxury. Futons and Murphy beds are the forerunners of this department, usually including a fair bit of storage in their folds. Tables which extend to accommodate for guests and visitors are another common example. The market for this kind of furniture has grown rapidly as inner-city rents have gone up and international designs are widely available for purchase online. Think outside the square - you could try a fold-out shower, ironing board or collapsible desk. A huge benefit of transformative furniture is that, because it’s constantly in use being disassembled and reassembled, it doesn’t accumulate dust and it’s unlikely you’ll ever have to tackle it in the Spring clean.
Vertical storage is simply the most economical use of space usually overlooked in homes. Beyond your basic ceiling-to-floor shelving systems, try building in storage around windows and doors. These areas tend to be dismissed as dead space but can look fantastic with a proper cupboard installation. What’s more, they’re ideal for those items you want to keep but aren’t in regular use - that is, for those family albums and heirlooms you don’t particularly want to look at or think about, but would feel massively guilty if you disposed of them. Similarly, the space around beds and bed frames can be put to good use. It seems almost counter-intuitive to admit this, since it’s ingrained in most of us to keep our beds freestanding and accessible, but positioning your bed in a nook and surrounding it by vertical storage doesn’t have to be a childish endeavour when done the right way.
Hybrid furniture doesn’t have to be purpose-built that way - it simply means that you’re ensuring every bit of furniture inside your home serves at least two purposes. Small spaces need to be multifunctional to ensure you’re getting the same worth out of your home as you would in a larger one - so why not use furniture which has multiple functions? Sofa beds are the obvious choice; couches appear to be for daytime relaxation but are fine for a good night’s sleep. Chairs which become tables, dining areas which can be used as desks, sneaky storage hidden surreptitiously in other pieces of furniture - the list goes on. Have a think about whether your furniture is worth the space it occupies. Some of the most fundamental domestic items, such as coffee tables, are surprisingly unnecessary and won’t be missed. Stairs which double as storage drawers are a popular option.
If nothing else, there are decorating tricks you can employ to give your living space the appearance of being larger than it actually is. Use lighter shades in paint and furniture to create a more neutral, calming atmosphere which will make it seem like there’s less going on. Keep your home clear from clutter and think about installing a full length mirror. Storage should be used, not noticed - think under the bed, beside the kitchen cabinets, in the sides of desks and tables. Maximise the natural light that enters the home. Go for simplicity in linen and furnishings and try one or two statement cushions instead. A few larger pieces of furniture will look neater than lots of small ones. If possible, open up your home by removing some interior doors or taking out a section of wall. Perhaps most importantly, keep your lighting simple, effective and up to date. Nothing says cluttered and claustrophobic as quickly as a room which always seems dimly-lit.