We can learn a lot from the recent tiny home movement that has blossomed globally over the last few years. We can also learn a lot from those parts of the world that characteristically have lived ‘tiny’ for centuries. Tiny homes are nothing new, but in Australia our thirst for ever-increasing oversized homes means we’ve turned a blind eye to the benefits of small spaces. Whilst they have their challenges, living in a small space doesn’t mean you miss out on a big luxe life.
The elements and principles of designing a small space are exactly the same as those for larger spaces. Unlike larger spaces, if you get these wrong in a small space it’s really obvious! Spend time on setting out the traffic flow and clearances on paper first because if you get this wrong in real life the design is just not going to work.
Built-in multifunctional furniture and storage is critical when designing for a small space as these will be the building blocks of your design. A great example would be built-in bench seating that can be used with a dining table, doubles as storage, could have a flip-up lid and act as a pet bed, or it can work as a step-ladder to access overhead cabinets. Sometimes the custom built-in pieces may appear to be expensive so make them work hard for you and the investment will be worth it.
Storage should be given a high priority in small spaces because clutter will make the space appear smaller than it actually is. Look for every opportunity possible and think outside the traditional way of storing things. Under the stairs, within existing cavity walls, within a bay window, there are countless opportunities for storage you just have to be looking for it. Building in storage through custom cabinetry or carpentry work is going to give you the best look.
Building in as many elements of the design as possible is going to visually make the space look bigger because you’ll have reduced the clutter on the eye. Restrain the material and colour palette, make sure you’ve installed good lighting options that are wall or ceiling hung – don’t be tempted by a floor or table lamp! – and choose your decorative accessories wisely to complement the interior.