In recent years there has been a noticeable trend toward smaller homes. They cost less to buy, cost less to maintain, and have a number of other advantages that can benefit your family, your pocketbook and the environment. Making a transition to smaller square footage can be difficult though – unless you know how to make every square inch count.
The first rule of living comfortably in a small space is to be flexible. Instead of defining every room to have a single purpose, allow each area to adapt to your needs as they change. Just because your home has a master suite doesn’t mean you’re bound to cram three kids into a second bedroom and keep the master for yourself and your spouse. Sure you might have to give up that coveted attached bath with double sinks, but giving the children that extra space could mean freeing up the section of your living room that has become their play annex.
Look for opportunities to combine functionality wherever possible. With the right kind of table, a breakfast nook in the kitchen can double as an eating area and mini office. A large walk-in closet can hold clothes and serve as your arts and crafting corner. Instead of using the kitchen pantry as such, downsize the amount of food you store and repurpose that space into an intimate library or general utility closet.
Yes, we live in an age of electronics – but is it really necessary to have multiple televisions, gaming systems and computer stations? Scaling back to one TV-viewing/entertainment zone can inspire family togetherness and ignite more daily interaction. In fact, one of the advantages of a smaller home is being able to easily keep an eye on kids, pets and guests. Since everyone is in close proximity, it is easier to hear what’s going on throughout the house.
Another trick of the trade is to take advantage of outdoor space. Even the tiniest patio or private deck can provide extra room for the family to spread out. Install all-weather curtains or shades to create privacy and lay down a waterproof rug to give it a cozy feel. A petite café table is perfect for dining, doing homework, reading or just relaxing.
Of course, the economical and ecological benefits of a smaller home are obvious. A more modest living space equals less energy consumption which equals lower utility bills and a smaller carbon footprint. As a result of being more aware of how you use every square foot of your home, you’ll also be more attentive to unnecessary wastefulness and ways to make your household as efficient as possible.
Learning to work with your individual space is a fun challenge. The more you embrace the livability of your small home, the easier it becomes to see opportunities around every corner.