Designing a Small Home

If you are living in a small home, whether it's a compact apartment, condo or narrow town house for example, designing the living space you want while keeping within the size restraints imposed on you can be a challenge worthy of a truly creative thinker!

There are many things to think about but with some intelligent planning and some retail research, you could end up with an amazing home that is the envy of your neighbors.

In this article, we'll look at some of the aspects of design, decorating and furnishing that can make a big difference to the finished product.

Starting with Four Walls

small home designThe easiest way to get an initial plan set out is to start with a relatively blank page, which means an empty building if possible.

This is possible when you buy a newly built home that is not pre-furnished as so many are these days. If that's not an option, it may be worth looking at a pre-owned home where the previous occupants have taken everything (including the kitchen sink) and left a conveniently empty shell for the new owners.

This kind of property usually comes with a pretty cheap price tag, but will cost plenty to refurnish. However, that shouldn't present a problem because what often happens is the money you save on the purchase price allows you a pretty big budget for redecorating and refurnishing.

Floors and Walls

Starting with the floors, you first need to decide what you want them to look like. Will you choose a polished wood floor, or go for tiles or carpet?

That decision will depend on the climate: a hot climate will favor cool tiled floors whereas a cold one will be better served with warm carpeting.

Each room will have its own demands for what goes on the floor. Living rooms and bedrooms are great carpeted but kitchens and bathrooms are better tiled. You'll get the feel for what you prefer when you walk around in there and let your imagination tell you what will work best.

Walls are easier to figure out, unless you have in mind some really off the charts décor ideas. Plain painted walls in light colors are often best to give a sense of space. Wallpaper should also be simple and light, if that's your preference.

Fixed Furnishings

The kitchen is usually the first place to get the initial planning off the starting blocks.

That's because the units and fittings are all generally fixed and need the most careful plans to make sure it all fits while still providing ample floor space.

The same goes for the bathrooms, as they are generally smallest rooms. They need everything to fit in there while remaining functional and usable by a full size human adult and not just small children, as I've seen in some finished designs that simply did not work in practice!

Fixed units in the kitchen, i.e. cupboards, storage spaces, drawers, worktops and space for fixed appliances such as a fridge and washing machine, dryer, dishwasher etc (assuming you have the space for all that) should be planned carefully and ensured everything will fit before making them permanent. Bathroom furniture should also be planned to fit and still be usable, for example a toilet needs a little space around it so you're not squashed every time you need to use it and a shower needs to be wide enough so you can move your arms to wash yourself!

Living Spaces

Last to get the planner's touch are the main living space, dining room (if that's an option) and bedroom(s). These are easier since furniture can all be moved around once it has been delivered to make the best fit for everything while looking good and feeling comfortable, welcoming and homely.

Be mindful of room dimensions before ordering large items. It's no use buying a huge king size bed if the bedroom is barely eight feet wide! That may sound pretty small, but there are plenty of small apartments with very small bedrooms because space is really at a premium!

The living room's space can be maximized by taking advantage of modern appliances like a wall-mounted TV and slim stereo systems that are a fraction the size of the monsters we loaded up against an entire wall back in the 70s and 80s. A smaller sofa and chairs can still be super comfy while making the smaller size room appear larger than it is.

Fit mirrors to walls to create the illusion of space. Use creative lighting to give the impression that there is more of it than there really is.


The main thing to bear in mind all the way from start to finish is to make sure you provide enough free space to make your home feel like its walls are not closing in on you. That can often mean omitting that extra chair or opting for a slightly smaller bed.

However you achieve a big feeling living space in a physically small home, it is worth getting the planning phase right from the start and ending up with a truly amazing home.

Resource: - Compact Home (Designing and furnishing small homes and living spaces)