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How to Get the Most Out of Your Small Home

Creating the house of your dreams isn’t all about square footage. Some truly charming homes are small in terms of space — but they’re big on comfort and creativity.

Try these ideas for creating a cozy, inviting home that showcases your personality and accommodates all of your belongings.

Chuck the Clutter

Excessive stuff creates an unpleasant, untidy vibe in any size home. For small-house dwellers, it’s important to not share what limited room you have with unused objects. Even a collection of seemingly insignificant items uses up a surprising amount of space.

Dump a stack of old magazines piled in the corner of the living room and you’ll create a great spot for your child’s computer desk. And clearing out a kitchen cupboard jam-packed with rarely-used cookware gives you a chance to clear the counters and stash kitchen items you do use.

Go Vertical

Rather than storing all of your items in furniture that tends to fill up rooms (think bookcases and hutches), make your home more spacious by installing shelving and cabinets at eye-level or above. The more floor space you have, the bigger a room appears. Keep an open look by using shelving and cabinets that are approximately one-foot deep.

You can also hang bulky items that take up floor or counter space, such as bicycles and television sets. Install hooks on the walls for coats, purses and umbrellas, and opt for overhead lighting rather than lamps.

Trick the Eye

Well-positioned mirrors can make a small space look bigger and it can also create interest on an otherwise static wall. Placing furniture away from doorways improves the flow of a room and gives the illusion of openness.

The color of your paint is another effective tool in the quest for a more spacious feel. While the standard advice is that light neutral tones tend to open up a room, the fact is you can use some color on walls as long as you paint the ceiling a light tone. A few dark walls can add excitement and drama to a small home.

Try Built-Ins

Eliminate free-standing furniture and whenever possible install built-ins such as desks, cabinets, and dining banquettes that feature built-in seating.

Create Dual-Purpose Spaces

Closely analyze your home and consider your various needs for space. By getting creative with your furniture and accessory selections, you can design rooms that fill a variety of needs. For instance, bookshelves in the dining room can house books and dishes, creating a room where you gather for meals, as well as for studying and reading.

Use Odd Spots

Many homes, especially older ones, contain random areas that seem like wasted space, such as spots under stairways, long hallways and strangely configured closets. Consider every square inch of your home as potential real estate — if not for use, then storage.

Now that you have some ideas for looking at your small home with a refined eye, you can make some big changes.

By Julie Bawden-Davis

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