Small Place Big Living

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Shoebox homes and Mickey Mouse spaces are becoming more and more popular in real estate for both investment and living. The creative designer in you can expand that tiny space to make it larger both physically and psychologically.


The more light there is the larger the space will appear. Utilise large mirrors on the walls, use reflective light-coloured paint in creams and light blues; flooring should be light and reflective as well. Wherever possible furniture colour should be the same as your walls so that they blend in and ‘disappear’.

Wherever possible place large mirrors near windows so that the outdoors can be reflected.

Have many ceiling lights and wall lights. The more light there is the more space will open up.


Furniture should be kept small and have multi-purpose functions. Instead of a coffee table get a trunk that can store things, instead of a bed opt for a sofa bed that can fold up. Avoid tall fixtures such as shelves as they make the ceiling appear lower. Stick to clean, simple lines for furniture design instead of flowery and complicated patterns.


Fact: The more floor space you can see the larger the room appears. How you place your furniture and fixtures can be an advantage to creating larger space. Place larger items such as a sofa and wardrobe against the wall so you can expose as much floor as possible. Create a walkway that is unblocked, for example, from entrance to living room to kitchen.


Avoid messy paintings and artwork on the walls and get rid of carpets and rugs. One painting in bright colours will work better than a group of small ones. Have focal points for different parts of the room. The living room should be the sofa, the dining room the dining table, the kitchen the cabinets. Your eyes will be attracted to these points so that you see ‘less’.

How to do this? Have bright yellow cushions on the sofa, have a colourful vase on your dining table, try bright, reflective kitchen cabinets.


The Japanese are famous for their creative use of space and design. If you want a theme the minimalist and zen themes work best for small spaces. Lines are clean and uncluttered, light colours and natural fabrics like soft bamboo and rattan are utilised. There are no bulky beds but futons that you can roll up and put aside. All work together to make the space comfortable, larger and airy. Tiny water features and wind chimes add a cooling, breezy  touch.

To recap, small spaces can appear large by tricking the eye and with clever and creative design and positioning. Lots of light, soft colours, maximum floor space, focal points and multi-purpose furnishings will stretch that space for you.


Having a lot of storage space that is invisible or blends in the background is a plus for making your space larger and eliminating the clutter that builds up.

1. Throw it out. Be strict with yourself. Start by throwing items out that you don’t need. Small knick knacks and old souvenirs, books and magazines that you won’t touch again can be donated to the library or children’s welfare; photographs you can put on electronic
photo displays instead of hundreds of photo albums and loose photographs. Buy furniture and storage items that can do double-duty.

2. Bunkbeds. Add space and eliminate a dresser in a small bedroom with a three-drawer or six-drawer platform bed. Find one at a furniture or big department store, and online.
Bunkbeds save space by stacking beds and you can create desk space, dressers, book shelves and more storage under these beds.

3. Hang-up organisers. Free up drawer space by using these handy storage items. They have hooks and have several pouches that hang vertically to save space. These can be hung at strategic points in the home for various purposes. They can store shoes at the entrance or in the bedroom. You can use them for onions and kitchen gadgets in your small kitchen space.  Use them to store TV remotes, keys, stationery, phones, chargers and other household essentials.

4. Underneath storage. The space under furniture such as coffee tables, cupboards, beds, book shelves and so forth create many storage possibilities. Store your linen, cutlery and china, manuals, first aid kit, bags and other stuff in these spaces. Before you buy
your furniture opt for those with storage space or custom make them.

5. Floor-to-ceiling storage. The taller the better. Furniture-style bookcases that reach the ceiling are fantastic storage facilities that don’t have to hold just books. DIY stores and furniture outlets have a large variety of shelving and bookcase options that rise from floor
to ceiling. Keep in mind the colour schemes and styles that would work for your interior.

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