Small Home Design Tips and Tricks (16 Bloggers Tell All)


You guys, we've got something different for you this week, 16 bloggers with all different backgrounds are giving you their insider tips on how to get the best small home design!  




Small Home Design Tips and Tricks


Nicole Corr of Green Isle Landscaping


Our 5 best tips for designing a small home to get the maximum form and function include:

1. Buy furniture that is the correct scale for the size of the home.

2. Use the same colour paint on the walls throughtout the whole home.

3. Be clever with your function. Use all the space, storage and open areas.

4. Buy items you love, then wont be wanting to update anything.

5. Be sure to keep it tidy each day, routine is great and have a day off on Sunday (or any day for that matter) but have a blow out day where you get messy and relax.



Susanne Stewart from Life on Pearl Street

When designing a small home for maximum form and function you must first decide how the spaces are going to be used. Some spaces may have to do double duty, a guest bedroom may have to also function as an office, your living room may have to be set up to also accommodate a dining area, or you may have to incorporate an eating area in the kitchen. Less is more in a small home, so be sure to add plenty of storage options that will do double duty, like benches or ottomans with storage or under the bed drawers to corral all of life’s stuff. In small living rooms, I like to use sectionals with a low profile. It allows for maximum comfy seating and you don’t have to add other seating options. A small home can get cluttered quick, so be choosy about what you bring in to your spaces.

Jessica Devlin from Jessica Devlin Design

I lived in an 1100 squarefoot home with 4 adults for 5 years. That might not be small to some but it felt cramped to us. The biggest thing we did that helped was add storage EVERYWHERE! Everything in that house had a home. Every pot, bowl, toy, had a specific spot that it belonged. To the point when we moved into a house more than double the size it actually felt more cluttered because there was no where to put all of our stuff. I prefer everything in a small home to be built in, customizing it as much as possible to add the most storage. You may need to think about the space in a new way to get the most out of it. When designing my last kitchen I knew I needed more storage, a simple thing we did made a HUGE impact. We dropped the 1' bar height ledge on our island and put cabinets underneath. Not only did that make the island counter   much more useable but it also provided a space for all of our small kitchen appliances. Such a win, win!


Sarah Foote from The Project Pile


My best tips for designing a small home for maximum form and function can be summed up in two words and one term. My first word for you is… Storage! What you can take a teeny-tiny space and make it into, is amazing these days! Try and squeeze storage into any space possible. Under-storage benches are great, ottomans, coffee tables and even under the bed storage should always be taken full advantage of. Word number two is organization! Stay organized! Make sure everything in your home or space has a specific place. This will make tidying up much easier. The last tip that I want to give you is the term no-wasted-space! Try to maximize all those tricky spaces in your home as much as possible. Areas under stairs, or areas under super sloped ceilings can actually be utilized as even more storage space! Another thing to remember that stackable appliances are also a huge space saver!


Kimm Boes from ReinventedKB

I think that in a small home, it's important for many items to serve dual functions. In our second home, we used a wood toy box as a coffee table (painted in our style, of course!) so that the toys could be hidden without the addition of another piece for toy storage. Using a small dresser as a side table in the family room or bedroom adds storage. Using vertical space by hanging shelves or hooks saves floor space, and using covered boxes or baskets on those shelves for storing smaller items reduces visual clutter. And simplicity is key. The older I get, the more I realize that I don't necessarily need to organize my stuff, I just need less stuff! :)



Christy Harper from The Harper House  

My best tips for designing a small home is to invest in well designed storage pieces and to make good use of vertical space. Investing in pieces that have multiple functions can help help you achieve a beautifully designed space. Banquettes and benches with storage make excellent seating solutions and coffee tables, dressers, and wall cubbies can provide storage as well as surfaces to display art and accessories.





Sam List From MommaCan

Never be afraid of adding full-size furniture in small homes. You need to be comfortable and so do your guest. Measure like crazy and fit the best couch and chairs, dining set, and beds you can in your small home. Then go from there adding small end tables, coffee tables and other accent furniture keeping in mind to use as many pieces as you can that have built in storage. For example, We have a small family room near the kitchen. It has a super cute chest that is for wine, but I store my Easter porcelain rabbits and several glass vases in wine cubbies. I love it!



Sam Franklin from A Happy Home in Holland

I think open plan spaces are definitely the way to go. If you are limited for space, removing the walls can give a much more spacious feel than dividing it up into rooms that look like tiny boxes.

This style is very normal here in the Netherlands because a lot of homes here are on the small side.

Our home is no exception, we also have an open plan home that combines our living room with our kitchen. We chose a very cleverly designed L-shaped kitchen that makes optimum use of the available space. It has a free standing unit that has the oven and inbuilt coffee machine stacked on top of the refrigerator and dishwasher. It also has a handy rotating cupboard that makes use of all the space in the corner.

And whilst the room is completely open we have still managed to clearly define the kitchen and living area with contrasting flooring. This gives both spaces their own identity.


Emy Flint from Semi Gloss Design 

Be ruthless about what comes into your house. That means only buy what you love. This can be a good thing! A small kitchen means not having room for plastic cups from restaurants. Throw them away with glee!





Yami Platero from The Latina Next Door

The key is to use furniture that serves a dual purpose. For example, if you don't have a guest room for visitors, purchase a stylish sleeper sofa. During the day it can be used as regualr furniture, but it is extremely functional for guests staying overnight. Use a storage bench for seating at the end of a bed as well as storage for blankets and pillows. Another thing you can do is get rid of unnecessary and unused items. I go through my kitchen twice a year and get rid of things that I just don't use. Sometimes those things that we think we need, aren't really necessary after all, so it's just best that you part with them.



Jennifer Gainer from Jenron-designs

To get proper form and function you must first decide what the room will be used for. Some areas have to pull double duty, example office/guest room. Once you clearly determine the room use the design form will come easily. Never over crowd a room that is the first way to ruin good design. Give the space proper lighting for the tasks to be done. Lightening plays such a large role in design, not only can it be attractive it will set the tone of the room, example: ambient lighting used for a guest room, but task lighting needed in the office. Also feel free to creative when square footage is in short supply maybe you use a Murphy bed where the back could double as a bookcase, or you could build a desk for your home office inside a closet and remove the door.


Denise Bryant from My Thrifty House

My best tips for designing a small home and getting the maximum form and function is to buy furniture that has more than one purpose. You could use an ottoman to store blankets and add a tray to the top to create a table while still using it to prop up your feet and watch a movie. You can use a dresser as a buffet in the dining room and store dishes, linens and party supplies. Wooden boxes and baskets can be decorative but hold magazines and other clutter you want to keep out of sight. Under the bed is a great place to have storage on wheels that can slide in and out as you need to access items but keep them hidden too.


Tina Bousu from Eclectic Twist

Prioritize, what means the most to you that you really want to have in your space. Special chair? A sculpture or coffee table? Think about those things in your space and design around them, always keeping in mind the space you have to work with and the proportions of the room. Then it's time to think pretty storage and creativity. Ottomans with storage are a great way to get a 2 for 1, you can get them as a coffee table or side table, floating shelves utilize wall space while freeing up floor space. Or how about a lovely storage bench for seating at your dining table that also holds your tableware or linens. Also go for acrylic furniture like ghost chairs, a coffee table or bookshelf, adds style and glam without being visually busy!


Sam Hay from Raggedy-Bits 

Lots of neutral colouring. Some larger pieces of furniture draw the eye and take away from smaller spaces. Large pieces of wall art also have the same effect and hung closer to the ceiling can also seem to make the rooms larger. Don't over clutter when styling cabinets and counter tops.





Liz Elliot from Franc and Eli  

Use light colored neutrals, "leggy" furniture, and glass or acrylic. These all give minimal weight to the eye, so it feels bigger! Also, don't forget to take advantage of wall space! Hanging things on the way (so they don't take up any floor space) is a great way to add interest without taking up any valuable real estate.





Susie Kuc from Tiny House Giant Life


After 7 years of small home living we have tried just about everything!

Think about storage pieces, but remember to compromise some storage space for beauty. We used to buy huge chunky storage furniture and it always felt so crowded in our home. Now, I pick pieces with some storage that have feet and some open space underneath. It makes everything seem a bit smaller and lighter when you can see the floor underneath.

My favorite answer above is from Amy Flint "be ruthless about what comes into your house", YES! YES! This can be very difficult with children and family and friends that want to purchase presents for children. You have to keep in mind that even if you have all the things, it will be no fun without room to use them. Outsiders won't always understand (especially if they have more room than you), but you make the house rules and ultimately decide what makes the family happier : all the stuff with no place to really live, or limited stuff that is used and loved with room to interact as a family. Which sounds better for your family?

Have a home for everything, and do a quick pick up every night. We are still slowly working on having a home for everything in the house, but when I created a pantry in our mudroom and reviewed where everything was with the hubby, it made a drastic change in the clutter of the household (and questions asking me where things were).

Everything doesn't need to be in the exact room its used, sometimes it just doesn't work that way. Our China is actually store in the dresser located in our entry. If I  tried to store in in the dining where it is used, another storage piece would have overwhelmed the room and then entertaining would be no fun.



For more answers to design questions, don't forget to visit my blogging friends!

Jessica Devlin Expert Bloggers Top Home Decorating Ideas

Sam Hay Expert Bloggers 16 Best Decorating Tips

Susanne Stewart Decorating on a Budget, 16 Design Bloggers Tell You How

Kimm Boes Ask The Experts: Favorite Paint Colors For Furniture

Sarah Foote Making those Teeny-Tiny Spaces Look & Feel Larger; 16 Bloggers Share their Best Advice

Pam List Expert Bloggers Top 3 Decorating Items

Sam Franklin Home Decor Style & Trends; Design Experts Favorites

Denise Bryant Decorating With Thrift Store and Flea Market Finds

Susan Kuc Small Home Design; 16 Bloggers Tell All

Yami Platero How to Keep a Stylish and Organized Home with Small Children

Nicole Corr Design Experts Tell Us What Their Dream Outside Relaxation Space Looks Like

Emy Flint How 16 Bloggers Use Color In Their Homes

Jennifer Gainer Ask the Designer-What is Your Style?

Christy Harper Grey Paint Colors - Top Bloggers Favorites

Tina Bousu Top Tips for Decorating Tough Spaces from Expert Bloggers

Liz Elliott Design Bloggers Top Design Tips