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(image: Inhabitat.com)

Do you have a tiny house space? Want to make the most of what room you have? These small space decorating ideas can turn your tiny space into a palatial estate.

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There has been much talk about the small-home movement, and the thrills of living in a tiny house. Besides the smaller carbon footprint and sometimes substantial savings in building costs, living in a smaller space can make life easier in a multitude of ways (hey, less room means less cleaning — where do I sign up?).

But that tiny space can also create an interesting design challenge. Here are a few tricks to keep your smaller home as open and airy as possible.

Don’t close things up

One of the fastest ways to close up a room is to close up the walls — like closing the doors on a closet or pantry. It might hide away clutter and such, but it also hides away potential space that makes the room look bigger. Remedy that situation by eliminating doors wherever you can. For the pantry, turn to open shelving that allows you to put your best items on display, and hide the rest away in attractive baskets or bins. This open space does demand more cleaning and attention to detail, but the palatial feel it can add to a tiny room makes up for the hassle.

If you want to eliminate doors but you still want privacy, look into movable screens or heavy drapes that will fit where the door would usually be. This works especially well for bathrooms and bedrooms. When the curtains are open or the screen is pulled back, the space is open again. If you absolutely must have a door, put a mirror on it. That means that when the door is closed, that space doesn’t just vanish — the rest of the room is reflected, making it appear as though there is more space than there really is.

tiny home sunny day

(image: Inhabitat.com)

Turn to the unconventional

When you have a tiny house, making things work is what it’s all about. For instance, you might not have room for a dresser or chest — so what to do with all your clothes? Turn to one slim piece of furniture that does it all, such as a set of drawers that slide underneath the bed and hide away all your things. This helps you stay organized and neat, and makes good use of ample space that often goes to waste.

Eclectic Living Room by Collierville Home Builders Tennessee Tiny Homes

What about room for a table? Take a hint from very tiny houses and make it work! A table that folds down from the wall can be the perfect solution. Simply enjoy the full-size table while you have dinner or work on bills, then fold it up and out of the way when you’re done. This setup also demands that you be more organized, as there is no leaving that stack of magazines on the table or forgetting to clear away the dinner dishes.

Think about color and light

When it comes to a small space, every trick of the light counts. Just as using mirrors on the back of a door can help elongate and widen a tiny space, so can the colors and types of light you choose. Neutral colors, such as a healthy taupe or a subtle green, can allow you to change up your decor whenever you see fit. They can also help make a space look bigger, not closed off like many darker colors do.

Rustic Living Room by Stowe Architects & Building Designers Cushman Design Group

When it comes to light, look to let in as much natural sunlight as possible. Some tiny houses achieve a blast of mellow light with mirrored skylights that bring the outside in. If you can’t do that, look to your windows by getting rid of all the curtains or drapes that can block the light. If you absolutely must have privacy, look for gauzy shades that let the light in but keep prying eyes out.

When the sun goes down, turn to lights that make the most of the small space. In a tiny house, floor lamps are usually out, and overhead lights can be tough to fit in. A good solution is a set of sconces on the wall, placed strategically for the best lighting possible. For spot lighting, such as reading lights at night, turn to sconces that swing out away from the wall for targeted use, then fold back in when you just need some ambiance.

Rustic Living Room by Seattle Photographers The Tiny Tack House

Expand space by going retro

Many years ago, houses were much smaller than they are today. Can you imagine that huge two-door refrigerator finding a place in grandma’s tiny kitchen? Smaller appliances were used back then, and you can get the same effect now by going with retro options.

The four-burner stove of yesteryear is much smaller than today’s same number of burners, but it still works just fine. The same holds true for the refrigerator, freezer, and even the dishwasher. Don’t forget a tiny washer and dryer, if you happen to have the space. When it comes to paring down, your grandparents had it right!

Living the Minimalist Lifestyle

Living small might not seem like an easy thing to do, but you might be surprised by just how much room you have left over when you purge those things you don’t need. Now is the time to get started on that project, whether you have plenty of room or you are struggling to find space.

Rustic Kitchen by Seattle Kitchen & Bath Designers MLB Design Group

Here’s the secret that tiny house owners have already discovered: Paring down feels really, really good! Start with one room — the smallest room in the house — and make the most of it.

Then move to the rest of the house, keeping in mind your goal of finding more space. Pretty soon you just might be ready to downsize and take advantage of all those great things that a smaller footprint can offer.

 

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.