Real Estate comes at a premium here in New England and homeowners are often looking for ways to increase the style and functionality of limited square footage. While smaller spaces certainly can be challenging, with thoughtful planning and creativity, you can transform even the tiniest antique colonial into an inviting home. 

In this month’s blog post, we’ll explore different ways to incorporate smart interior design for smaller spaces, focusing on how to optimize every inch of your living area to make it both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Embrace Decluttering and Optimize Light and Color

When it comes to small homes, less is often more. In order to create an open and airy feel, start by decluttering each room and only keeping the items that serve a functional or truly sentimental purpose. Light and neutral colors, clean lines, and sparse surfaces can actually help a room feel larger. Add pops of color through accessories (think pillows and artwork) to prevent the space from feeling too sterile. 

When sourcing new items, look for multi-functional furniture that can serve more than one role, such as a sofa with hidden storage or a dining table that can double as a workspace.

Neutral, decluttered living room

Make sure the room has great lighting. Ceiling lights or semi-flush mounted lights keep floor or table space open for other items. Skylights can add great daytime light. Ditch the heavy window treatments and hang sheer curtains at ceiling height and have them hang to the floor to create the illusion of bigger windows. Keep your window treatments open to increase natural light. Strategically placed mirrors work wonders and glass shower enclosures in bathrooms can help maintain an open feel.

Glass shower enclosure

Consider looking up! Vertical elements draw the eye upwards, creating the illusion of a larger area and making the room feel more expansive. Use floor-to-ceiling shelves and wall-mounted furniture pieces to maximize storage without sacrificing precious floor space. Walls can also double as valuable storage by adding hanging plants or decorative hooks for clothing. 

Have limited ceiling height in a basement? Instead of installing the dreaded drop-ceiling, paint the ceiling a dark, neutral color and install pot lighting. This increases your ceiling height and also creates visual interest.

Painted basement ceiling

Make Sure Your Furniture is Functional! 

Be careful and selective when placing furniture in smaller spaces. Avoid large, heavy, or bulky furniture, opting instead for multipurpose furniture like hinged, wall-mounted tables that can be folded up when not in use or sofa beds. Murphy beds are excellent for saving space in bedrooms, as they can be folded up when not in use, creating extra floor area for other activities. We recently installed one in a garage conversion, making the garage now functional both for an office space for the homeowners and accommodations for overnight guests. 

Don’t be afraid of folding tables and chairs! Many furniture companies sell chic and fun options these days. You can bring them out when dining or entertaining more guests than usual, and store them in the basement or attic, out of the way when not in use. 

Divide and Conquer

There is a joke here at Godfrey Design-Build that we try to incorporate a pocket door into every project. This is more than just our personal design aesthetic -— traditional swinging doors can take up additional floor space and disrupt the flow of a small room.

Pocket Door

Many older homes come with unique architectural features, such as nooks, alcoves, or empty space below the stairs that may feel useless. These areas can often make the perfect spot for a small powder room or built-in cabinets or storage.

Understairs closet and built-in storage

In smaller homes or open floor plans, creating distinct zones can produce a more organized and functional feel. Design elements such as rugs and furniture placement can define smaller areas within one room. Placing a smaller rug in a corner with two small chairs and a table can suddenly create a ‘conversation nook.’ Looking to increase storage space? Look for furniture with hidden storage compartments, such as ottomans with lift-up tops or beds with drawers underneath.

Smart Kitchen Design

Double-height kitchen cabinets

While the kitchen is the heart of the home, many traditional New England kitchens are small, cramped, and disconnected from other areas for entertaining. When removing a wall or adding a pass-through simply isn’t an option, make the most of your kitchen area by optimizing space where you can. 

Install double or ceiling-height cabinets to take advantage of extra storage space. Use wall-mounted shelves or other organizational elements like a magnetic knife holder or pot racks to keep essential items nearby but out of the way of your chef. Don’t forget convertible design elements such as built-in seating with hidden storage, a fold-down dining table that can be stowed away when not in use, or a workstation on wheels.

Get to it! 

While smaller spaces can seem daunting, it’s important to embrace the unique character of any petite abode. Using smart design, even the coziest of homes can be comfortable and stylish. Happy designing! 

Looking to work with a remodeling company to maximize your home? Contact us today to learn more!