Ask Away...: Pint Sized Properties: Setting Up a Smaller Home

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Pint Sized Properties: Setting Up a Smaller Home

Small can be beautiful, there’s no reason to believe you can’t have a lovely home just because it’s on the smaller side. They’re cheaper to furnish and decorate, easier to clean and cheaper to run- a small home definitely has it’s merits. However there are some particular issues you can come up against when you’re setting up a smaller property- if you’re about to move (or want to revamp your tiny home) here are a few things to bear in mind!

Smaller spaces require light walls to make the space look brighter and more spacious. For this reason, a very light neutral is always a good choice. Plain white is one example, or you could go with magnolia or a very light grey. If you do want to go down the route of colour, choose the palest shade you can find. Most DIY stores will mix you up the exact colour you want- it will always look darker on the wall than in the swatch so bear this in mind. For small spaces, avoid very bold or loud wallpaper since this will close in the room and make it feel instantly smaller. If you do want to go with wallpaper, choose a subtle print in a light colour, and put it just on the feature wall. That way you can paint the others plain and keep it looking bright and simple. If you’re going to be painting walls, especially in a light colour, it’s crucial that your walls are in good condition. Spend some time sanding and filling and gaps, or if they’re in really bad condition you could have a plasterer skim them first. When you’re using light coloured paint there really is nowhere to hide when it comes to cracks and damage, so do the prep first to get the best result.

Flooring is another crucial element to get right. Choosing the same floor covering throughout will create flow to the home instead of being stop/ start. To create the illusion of more space, choose a lighter floor colour. Light neutral carpets or a pale coloured wood are both options. If you want to lay down a floor that’s easy to clean and will last, tile, vinyl or wood are all hard wearing. If cosiness is more your thing carpet will be a good choice, this will harbour stains and smells though so it’s important to be careful, regular professional cleanings will keep it at its best. You could hire a powerful carpet cleaner like a Rug Doctor, or have a company come in and tackle the job for you.

In smaller spaces you have to be careful about the furniture you choose. Don’t just click through a site and add things to your basket that you like the look of. Instead, measure your space and then check the measurements of anything you buy. For some small apartments you will need to choose smaller furniture for everything to fit and look right. Instead of a three seater or corner sofa, you might need to go with a loveseat. Instead of a huge sideboard and tv stand, you may have to shop around for small versions that work well with the space you have. You don’t want a tiny home that feels like it’s crammed with huge furniture, so shop smart and map out where things are going to go before investing. You want to keep your small home feeling spacious and be able to move around easily.

Your accessories are how you bring personality to your home, and bring it to life. Whether you live in an executive condo or a simple one bedroom starter apartment, you can also make your home look and feel luxurious with the right accessories. In a smaller space you won’t want tonnes of items since you’ll make it look small and cluttered. Instead, a few key pieces are the way to go. Some art, a clock, a plant. To make any room feel homely, soft furnishings like rugs, cushions and throws are a good option. You could choose an accent colour or keep it all neutral. Even a room where everything is white will still work well when you have different textures and textiles in there since it will help make it look more homely. One trick is to choose accessories that are no smaller than a grapefruit since anything smaller can look lost and too many of these things can look messy. Pick a few items that you love the look of and display these instead, it’s always quality over quantity especially in a smaller space. If you wanted to keep things very simple, one option would be to keep your other walls plain and then on one have a gallery wall. Here you can hang a selection of frames and choose different pieces of art- it makes a statement and can bring interest to a room. But If your space is only small, make this the main feature or it could end up looking too much.

When you live in a condo or apartment, you can’t make changes to the building since you only own the unit and not the entire building. This can be tricky as in a house, if the space feels a little dingy you can install larger windows, skylights or glass doors. However there are still things you can do to improve the windows in your apartment that will make the room look brighter. First, just giving them a good clean will prevent them from casting a dingy light inside. Clean the inside and outside, if you’re above the ground floor you may need to call in a profession to do the outside. The window treatments you choose can also make a big difference too, while you will want privacy and the ability to adjust the light, blinds that are too heavy will block out light during the day and leave the home looking dark. In a small space this is particularly problematic. You could get roller blinds, that way these can be rolled down at night but then rolled up in the day and block no light out. Vertical blinds in a light colour are another option. Wooden blinds and shutters tend to be heavier and will block more light so use these with caution. One way to get light bouncing and reflecting around the room is to put up a large mirror opposite the window. A simple, effective way for a room to look brighter and more spacious.

Speaking of light, your artificial lights in the forms of ceiling fittings and lamps are equally important. The great thing about smaller homes is how cosy they can look, and one way you can achieve this is by setting the tone with light. If you don’t have a lot of counter space to put lamps and things, wall mounted sconces work well. A freestanding tall floor lamp in the corner needn’t take up too much space too. In a smaller room, you will want to choose your ceiling light pendant carefully. Anything too big will look overwhelming, you could go with a smaller variety or have things like spotlights fitted.

Spend some time carefully thinking things through before decorating and furnishing your smaller property, and you’ll end up with the perfect, pint sized place.  

Do you live in a smaller home? What challenges have you had to face?

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