Small spaces, big potential

Small spaces, big potential

Studio Home design blogger Julia Atkinson offers some stellar tips on how to make the most of tiny spaces.

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Personally, I find a real romance to designing my life to fit into a compact home. I have always loved the concept of living aboard a boat where everything has its own clever spot and enforced tidiness ensues (something that is a challenge for me). Or maybe it was my childhood years of hut building that led me to seek out smaller spots to live in. Nonetheless, I have really enjoyed my tiny footprint rented homes that rarely felt claustrophobic – as some visitors have remarked on! 
The tiny homes I have lived in include a cool studio in Queenstown, a semi-detached two bedroom townhouse in Wanaka, a two bedroom apartment stacked over four levels in Auckland’s inner city, and an award-winning one bedroom beauty in Christchurch.

Diminutive dwelling to spacious oasis

+  If flat surfaces are at a premium, inject some texture and interest into your space by hanging a plant from the ceiling. Corners are great spots for this!

+  Embrace changeable spaces. Could your office double as a spare room? Airbeds are inexpensive, and now made to luxury levels. 

+  Choose a slimline standing desk that is narrow in depth and allows space for storage below.

+  Focus your efforts on a comfortable living area with a large coffee table that could sub for dining too. Popping cushions on the floor around it rather than sacrificing space for a full dining table works well for casual group gatherings. You just need to weigh up whether ‘table time’ or ‘couch time’ is more important!

+  Consider the scale of your furniture. A huge deep corner suite will dominate a room; so, instead, swap it out for a comfortable 2.5 seater with narrow arms that will perform just as well. 

+  Don’t get hung up on creating space with the colour of your walls. The size of your room is the size of your room and that’s that. However, playing with the colour of your walls to add maximum personality and character is a goer! If dark walls are your thing – go for it! 

+  If you have glass doors that open onto a courtyard or balcony, get planting! Interesting flowers and potted plants will draw your gaze beyond the confines of your indoor space and give the feeling of an additional outdoor room. 

+  Make use of that extra wall space if you have rooms with high ceilings. Hang art right to the top or build shelves all the way up to the ceiling. This gives a feeling of loftiness while creating more storage space, and the chance to inject personality into the space with different display options.

+  If you have the luxury of building your own tiny house from scratch, take a leaf out of the book of my previous landlord and incorporate ‘walls’ that slide away, transforming rooms into open-plan living, or closing off spaces to create intimacy.

Nature’s calling

Nature’s calling

Streamlined simplicity

Streamlined simplicity