Have you been following the trend toward smaller homes, from the large square footage homes that were popular in the early 2000’s? What about the next extension into tiny spaces, which has co-opted the name, “the small (or tiny) house movement”? A few recent articles are here and here. These “tiny” homes measure no greater than 400 square feet, and many are closer to 200 square feet.
The size of one’s home is a personal decision, and my only encouragement is to build a home that suits your life and style. Whether 400 or 4,000 square feet are in your future, the small home movement has a relevant lesson for everyone. That lesson is impeccable design.
A successfully executed living space is a blend of function, comfort and ease. While each of those notions are highly subjective, they old adage works: you know ’em when you see ’em. The design ideas found in well-planned small homes can offer solutions in larger homes, too. From spaces being uncomfortably large and needing smart ideas to make them feel more intimate (open shelving?), to conflicting ideas of what is wanted for a space (e.g. spouses hoping for different environments in their shared master suite), tiny house design excels at using, dividing and sharing space wisely. And of the utmost importance: using space in a way that feels organic – neither cramped nor wasted.
Take a look at this article from Home-designing.com. It takes three small (344-484 square feet) floor plans for complete apartments, and plays with different design and interior choices. While the outcomes are all modern in their aesthetic, the ideas can be extrapolated to nearly any style and any room.
A few takeaways:
- Empty space, such as a blank wall or monochromatic areas or open shelves, can be just as critical to defining a room as the architectural elements.
- Multi-use built-ins and furniture are useful in any sized room.
- Thoughtfully designed transition areas between use spaces (e.g. a living room and bedroom in a studio apartment or a sitting area and sleeping area in a master suite), can help define a space and enhance flow.