5 Tips to Make a Small Home More Functional

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Square photo of a small bedroom with gray bedding and accents.

Our family of four moved into a much smaller house last year and we love it. Our new home is cozy and functional.

If you’ve recently moved into a smaller space or you’re thinking about downsizing, keep reading to see how we have maximized every square inch and my top five tips to make a small home cozy and functional.

1. Create Dual Purpose Rooms

Our 1950s Cape didn’t have an extra room that we could designate as an office. To make things work we added a desk area to our living room and relocated filing cabinets to a nearby closet to keep things tidy.

My desk also has a glass top so it looks light and airy in the room as opposed to another heavy piece of furniture.

With the right furniture and storage mix, even a small room can pull double duty without looking overstuffed!

Looking for more home office ideas, check out my post and an update on how we’re currently handling home schooling and home office space for our family of four: Home Office Ideas for Small Spaces.

2. Add Shelving

Add shelves in rooms where you can. And, you don’t have to run out and buy pricy shelving units. We made a table and two media shelves (above) out of wood we had left over after renovating a 4-seasons room.

Wood pallets work great too! If you’re handy (or your significant other is) then you can make custom shelves to fit your space and needs.

Media shelf and side table we made from reclaimed wood.

3. Simplify Your Decor

When decorating a small space, don’t overdo it. Pick accent pieces and artwork you love and don’t try to fill every nook and cranny of your space. I gave a lot of my artwork and furniture away because we just didn’t have space for them in our new home. This was difficult but it made me appreciate the pieces we chose to keep even more.

Related Post: 6 DIY Interior Design Tips to Decorate Like a Pro.

4. Get Rid of Stuff Weighing You Down

This point is related to #3. I put this one last but you’ll probably have to address this sooner than later! If you want to be able to function in a smaller space but are still trying to keep everything you had from a larger space, I can tell you it won’t work.

I’m a bit of a minimalist so decluttering comes easy to me but even I still have things I’m holding on to (for now). It’s perfectly normal to hold on to things for a season especially if you’re renovating or getting used to a new home.

If you’ve tried to downsize but are still drowning in stuff and need a few down to earth tips on decluttering, check out my post: 5 Easy Steps to go from Pack Rat to Minimalist.

5. Get Creative

Don’t be afraid to do a little problem-solving to make the space you have work harder. Sometimes even small changes can make a huge difference. Here are a few creative space-saving ideas to get you started:

  • Open up an entryway by turning a closet into a mudroom. Remove the closet doors, add a few hooks and a small bench. We did this in our previous home and you wouldn’t believe how this one change opened up our entryway.
  • Spend some time planning out your bedroom closets and buy organizer systems to maximize closet space.
  • Need more space in the garage? Try hanging bikes and seasonal items overhead to free up floor space.

If you need more small space inspiration try Pinterest, Amazon, or visit an Ikea Store in your area. There are so many great products out there to make your space cozy and functional.

If you have a great small-space solution you’d like to share, leave a comment below!

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Penny

    We built beside our fridge a little area to house our cutting boards and trays and below that our brooms.
    We find it very handy.
    Our fridge was smaller than the space alloted for our fridge.

    1. Dawn Stewart

      That’s a great idea and you don’t have to take up valuable cupboard space for the cutting boards and the broom is always handy. Thank you for the great tip.

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