This year I have completed a number of beautiful display homes for Homebuyers Centre that are built on narrow blocks of land. I must say it has completely inspired me, seeing how much can be done on limited land, without compromising on design or features. Compact living is becoming increasingly popular and with so many of you building, buying and renovating your own properties at the moment, I thought it would be a lovely idea to share some of my top tips to maximise space and decorate small spaces confidently. Here goes!
Sheer curtains create a soft, dreamy aesthetic to all homes, especially when installed in a light coloured fabric. They not only help filter the sunlight, but disperse it in a subtle way throughout the room, in comparison to blinds and shutters. Sheer curtains can also help make the room appear larger when a few key pointers are factored in.
- Have the track installed as high as possible, even if the window is not full height. If you have a cornice, wall-mount the track straight underneath it, and if you have shadow line ceilings then you can ceiling mount the track. By hanging the sheer curtains as high as possible, you create the illusion of an elevated ceiling and more spacious area.
- Run the track further than the window itself, so when you draw the curtains completely back, the full view outside is visible. This emphasises the scale of a window and it appears larger.
- If you require a blockout aspect for privacy, select a block-out roller blind over a block-out curtain. Reason being- the roller blind is much more slimline and fits within the window sill, whereas the block-out curtain eats more into the room and will require a double track to then also hang the sheers on.
- Try to avoid having excess fabric and draping at floor level. In smaller homes we want to make the area feel more accessible and this will be achieved by having a sleek drop with either a serger stitch or weighted hem (that skims floor level.)
My go to (light coloured) sheer curtain fabrics are:
- Crisp White- Warwick Corfu Snow
- Ivory- Warwick Corfu Moonlight
- Light Beige- Warwick Burano Vanilla
- Light Grey- Nettex Cannes Cloud
You want to try and keep your furniture selections sleek, fuss free and cohesive so that the whole space works harmoniously together. Here are some of my top tips to ensure you choose the most appropriate furniture for your small home.
- An overall light, airy palette will ensure your home feels fresh and spacious.
- Keep storage in the forefront of your mind. For example, instead of selecting a console table, try opting for a narrow buffet to allow for more closed-door storage.
- Furniture like sofas, coffee tables, bedside tables etc that have legs (and are elevated off of the floor) will create the illusion of more space.
- A thinner arm on your sofa will maximise seating.
- Elongated seat and back cushions on your sofa won’t look as busy and chaotic as smaller width ones. For example both of the below sofas are 3 seat designs, but the second option looks much neater.
- You might not have room for a modular or chaise sofa design, but you can utilise a round ottoman nestled under your coffee table as a foot rest for when you want to kick your feet up and enjoy a movie.
- Avoid solid, chunky coffee tables unless they have a useful function, like extra storage. These round coffee tables from Life Interiors are a great way to maximise hidden storage in your home!!
- Alternatively, coffee tables that allow you to nest a side table and/or ottoman are really handy as well. By grouping these pieces together, you’re freeing up floorspace and have three usable surfaces to utilise when needed.
- A dining table with slim, tapered legs or a pedestal base will allow for more dining chairs without crowding.
- Try to avoid a dining chair design that has any sort of armrest element, as these require more room to seat the same amount of people.
- If your bedroom can house a bed-end-ottoman, one with a storage component would be ideal to store extra linen, towels and seasonal clothes in. If space is limited and you can’t comfortably fit one in, then you can always look into a gas lift bed which allows for plenty of storage between the floor and mattress (inside the bedframe.) The ‘Reno’ design below is available at Forty Winks and was featured on The Block by Ronnie and Georgia.
Artwork and Decor
- A large, statement artwork is going to create a focal point within a room and be a deterrence from limited space.
- Wallpaper can be a great alternative to artwork. Choose a calming, soft wallpaper to create a master bedroom sanctuary, or a stronger pattern to inject a bolder feature.
- The use of vertical linear repetition in the form of wallpaper, artwork, tiles or lining boards will draw your eye upwards towards the ceiling and emphasise height, rather than the lack of width.
- Artwork featuring greenery like palms, florals, forest or desert scapes will add life into your home without needing as much in decor. Save space by ditching the large potted trees inside and instead utilise surfaces (kitchen/dining/living/shelves) to display a delicate arrangement of flora and plants.
- Less is more when it comes to styling a smaller home. Minimal decor will speak volumes and keep the area feeling clutter free. For example, instead of styling both an entertainment unit and coffee table in the same room, I would choose to style the entertainment unit (on one side) and then keep the coffee table bare, or opt for a low stack of books.
- Wall Shelves are a fantastic way to create interest on your walls without repeating artwork. Decorate with personal items, family photos, cascading plants or a stack of books and the wall will look not only full spatially, but full of personality too. You can shop the above 190cm Ikea one here.
- Wall hooks provide a great option for storage without taking up extra floor space. Utilise a number of hooks in your entry to create a useable and beautiful drop zone. You can shop the below button hooks from Freedom here as a set of 3.
- Utilise smaller/pokier walls in children’s bedrooms (like the side of a sliding robe wall) to display books on, if you have door swing clearance. This allows you to decorate larger walls with artwork and the ledge won’t protrude into a walkway. You can even select a few books with covers that coordinate with the rest of your child’s bedroom, to enhance a cohesive colour palette or interior theme. You can shop these affordable book ledges (below) for $9.50 each from Ikea.
If you’re in the design phase of building or renovating a compact home, add in more lighting than you think you will need, especially if you’re building boundary to boundary and have limited windows to let natural sunlight in. If your home is already built, here are a few ways to enhance the ambience and lighting in multiple ways.
- Pendant Lights in a master bedroom are great because they allow for more usable surface space on your bedside tables, and they also make a beautiful feature in the room. Opt for one that evenly disperses light like an opal bulb or glass shade. You might find that a rattan or wire one will cast too many busy shadows in a small area and leave you feeling overwhelmed, instead of calm.
- If you do require a lamp, touch sensitive ones are particularly handy in bedrooms because you won’t need to fumble around for the on/off switch behind a bedside table. You can find a wide range of touch lamps at beacon or by clicking here.
- Alternatively, you can look into smart lighting products. Bunnings or Ikea sell wireless bulbs that pair with the appropriate gateway/app using bluetooth and wifi connectivity.
- Large mirrors will bounce around the natural sunlight available and can instantly brighten a dark wall. They also help emphasise the scale of a room by using reflection, making the area seem larger than it is.
- Floor lamps with multi/directional heads will light an area (or multiple areas) all from the one light source. They can be placed in the corner of a room to fill an empty space, and light an otherwise dull corner. Here are some my favourite multi-directional floor lamps.
- Make sure you don’t obstruct any natural light source with bulky furniture pieces. Same goes for landscaping… Make sure you don’t plant any large trees in front of windows that will restrict sunlight. If you have an already established home with larger plants limiting your light source- it might be time to redo some of your landscaping in order to maximise sunlight and warmth inside.
- Lastly, if you’re wanting to install a patio or covered structure to act as an alfresco, it would be a great idea to look into transparent roof cover options so that you’re not shading any more windows or sliding doors.
Narrow Lots and Home Designs
For anyone considering downsizing or building a smaller home, I wanted to showcase two of my recently completed projects built on narrow blocks, that have completely blown my mind. The cleverly designed Homebuyers Centre layouts, inclusions and use of space is appealing to not only singles and couples, but small families as well. The thought of bonding within a more homely, comforting environment is really appealing to me and if it means less area to clean- well sign me up nowwww!
The Axton is a 6m wide two-storey design, which is perfect for narrow blocks. The floor plan is super versatile allowing you to choose either 2x living areas or 4x bedrooms. There is also a convenient study nook in the open plan kitchen/dining/living area, which makes compact living so achievable! Lastly to secure this as one of my favourite floor plans- the ensuite has a double vanity and double shower, so when paired with the light-filled master bedroom and WIR, the overall space feels like a complete sanctuary. View the Axton here.
The second of my favourite narrow lot designs is the Berkeley which is a 10.5m wide single storey design. Oh my goodness! If you’re an entertainer- THIS home is for you!!! Sporting a 7.2m long kitchen at the rear of the home, with scullery and servery window opening up onto the alfresco- the Berkeley makes compact living sooo enticing. There is also a bright, light-filled open plan living/dining/kitchen, separate study space, theatre and (again) features a double vanity and double shower in your ensuite! Everything you need to live comfortably, under one cosy roof. View the Berkeley here.
I hope this advice has inspired and made you feel more confident in styling small spaces. If you have any questions or want to read other tips and tricks, feel free to scroll through my other website entries. There is an abundance of great content for likeminded interior enthusiasts that I’m sure you’ll love (I’ve linked some recent posts below.) Have a lovely week everyone and stay warmmmmmm.
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Homebuyers Centre WA has kindly sponsored this blog entry, based on my experience as their Interior decorator. All thoughts, design work, styling and written content are my own.