These days, homeowners might find that floor space increasingly comes at a premium. In many parts of the country, the definition of affordable housing is an apartment or tiny house. Yet even with modest digs, we often need to accommodate extra heads on occasion.
Lifestyles change; you might be entertaining guests or bringing family over for the holidays more often than before. When there are more people around the house, how can you make a small living space appear more roomy and comfortable in a pinch? Here are some cost-effective approaches:
Work on the layout
Students in the various fields of design will quickly learn that the same elements, arranged in different positions, can create a range of effects. Messy arrangements create confusion and turn off the viewer with a sense of disorganization. A clean layout isn’t just appealing to the eye; it also improves function, enhances flow, and allows the human perception to navigate through a space quickly.
Changing your home’s layout can be a simple matter of rearranging furniture to provide more room in areas where there’s lots of foot traffic. Leave ample space around closets, doors, beds, tables, and similar areas that people need to access frequently. You could also target specific locations where people gather; a kitchen remodel can have a particularly high impact since that’s where people often hang out and carry out food preparation.
Add storage, remove clutter
Tidying up is a recent popular trend, but a lot of people put off this task indefinitely. When you have a lot of stuff, it’s not just about clearing out the clutter; there are decisions to be made. Is this something you can throw away? Recycle or repurpose? Find a new home for them by holding a garage sale or giving it to a friend or local charity.
This activity can require more physical and mental energy than most people can spare in a day. Make it easier. Break it down over several days or weeks, going one room at a time. Adding storage can also simplify the process. Multi-purpose furniture, such as space-saving ottomans or storage beds, can upgrade your existing pieces with greater functionality. This way, you don’t have to sort through multiple decision points and categorize your stuff as you clear things out.
Play with light and color
Are your interiors receiving enough illumination? Dimly lit spaces can appear smaller as our eyes perceive less depth and detail. Simply add more light, and your home can seem to expand with this small change. You can start by removing any obstructions from your windows and cleaning the glass to let more natural light inside your home.
Mirrors can be used to add the illusion of depth and bounce light onto areas that receive less illumination. Light-colored furniture or other large objects can be positioned in areas that directly receive the sun’s rays and thus diffuse more light into the room. Applying a lighter-toned palette around your house is another inexpensive way to make it appear more spacious.
Finally, before you consider upgrading any lighting fixtures, try to make sure that multiple lighting sources can cover all areas of the home. An evenly lit space will look bigger than one with bright overhead lighting and shadows in the recesses.
Making large-scale changes, even to a small home, can disrupt your life for days or weeks. These adjustments won’t break the bank or mess up your schedule, but they can quickly expand your living space.