Whether you have a small home because you've voluntarily decided to live with less, or because the astronomical rent in your city made the choice for you, there are space-saving lessons to be learned from the tiny home movement. Here's a look at five design tips I've picked up from admiring little houses—plus, how to use them to create a little home you'll love.
The Lesson: Every wall is a potential spot for shelving.
The Inspiration: This Tiny Alpha House, featured on Tiny House Talk, has extra shelving attached to almost every vertical surface, including on the sides of kitchen cabinets and high up above the windows.
The Takeaway: Look at the empty wall space in your home and see if there's a spot to attach some additional shelving. Not sure where to begin? Check out our list of 10 spots to sneak in another shelf.
The Lesson: You do have room for a workspace.
The Inspiration: If this 180-square-foot home built by Atelier Praxis in Quebec City has room for a desk, your home probably does, too. The space-saving one above has a work surface that flips down to reveal three compartments—one to store a computer, and two others for books and office supplies.
The Lesson: Don't try to hide all of your stuff.
The Inspiration: When you live in a small (I'm talking 196-square-foot small) space, it may be tempting to buy a bunch of cabinets, throw everything inside, and shut the door. But Macy Miller's tiny home above, featured in Dwell, demonstrates how open shelving helps the flow of a home. Imagine how cold and closed off this space would look if the dishes, pots, knives, books, and tv were hidden behind cabinets. Instead, everything's out in the open, creating a space that feels more like a home and less like a storage unit.
The Takeaway: Give open storage solutions a try. Open shelving, a magnetic knife bar, and hanging pot and pan racks (find some inspiration from real homes here) are all great options.
The Lesson: Multi-functional furniture is king.
The Inspiration: In Shelbie's Cool Small 2016 entry, we spotted this charming kitchen island that acts as a prep surface, storage unit, and tiny dining table when you pull stools up next to it.
The Takeaway: Look for pieces that can be used multiple ways. Pair them with adjustable-height bar stools that can be moved wherever an extra seat is needed. Consult our top picks for kitchen carts and islands that double as storage and prep stations.
The Lesson: Sliding doors take up less space than doors that swing open.
The Inspiration: Inside a home on wheels spotted on Tiny House Swoon, regular doors have been replaced with sliding barn-style dividers. Sure, this design doesn't offer a ton of privacy, but in a 160-square-foot home, there isn't much privacy to be had.
The Takeaway: Try this on a bedroom or closet door. Here's how to make a sliding door for less than $40.