Small House, Big Ideas

The key to saving space? Organization. I keep a binder of all relevant information and paperwork for each room of the house to reduce clutter. Nancy Hill photographed these for my latest book 'The Soul of a House'.

Living in a small house or apartment can sometimes make you feel as though you have few options for a clutter-free space that feels bigger than it is.  All the space has to be functional, and it’s limited! I remember my previous house – I was convinced that it had the world’s smallest bathroom.  I might be exaggerating, but it really can be a challenge to make those small spaces, whether your bathroom, bedroom, or any room, feel larger. Here are some of my tried and true tips –

  • Keep window treatments simple and let in as much light as possible – bright rooms always look bigger.
  • Painting the walls white or slightly off-white also gives the room some brightness.  But before you buy any paint – test it on your walls.  To keep your tests hidden, put a small patch behind a hanging mirror or print. You’ll be surprised how much blue or yellow a white paint can contain, and how those hues can change depending on the time of day.
  • Surprise! Dark floors can help make your room look larger.  Visually, the colors recede, making furnishing ‘float’ above the floor.
  • Control the clutter! The more clutter, the less space – visually and actually.  Edit your possessions in every room on a regular basis.
  • If you’ve chosen a busy pattern on your bedroom walls balance it with something simple – your comforter and pillows, for example.  Keep what you can in pretty containers or store in boxes under your bed.

In a small house, you have to make a place for everything and everyone.  But that doesn’t mean your space has to look or feel smaller than it is.  Clutter can equal stress, and who needs more stress these days?!

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