5 Ways to Live Small in Big Spaces

Recently I was watching House Hunters on HGTV, a favorite show of mine, and there was a couple who was buying a bigger house because they had too much stuff and were squeezing themselves out of their current home. It's not like they were living in a studio apartment and needed a two bedroom, so this got me thinking: as someone who recently left the city for the suburbs, I'm still living like we're in 800 square feet, and this is how.

5 Ways to Live Small in Big Spaces

  • Sparsely Furnish: Just because you have the space, doesn't mean it has to be filled to the max. Let your furniture breathe and have space to be seen. If you don't over-stuff, you can actually allow your furniture to float in the center of a room, away from your walls, something you can't often afford to do in small spaces. If you lived without that piece before, consider that you might not need it now, or at least not right away.
  • Stay Organized: Staying organized is a must-do in small spaces but it's easy to let that go if you have a few hundred or few thousand extra square feet. If you're disciplined to stay organized in your larger home, your space will function so much better and you'll feel very much on top of your to-do's. Make sure everything has its place and keep it there.
  • Purge: Paring back is a common task in our house. It's totally addictive. In the series Living with Less, I've gone through every room in our home already once and plan to do so again soon. It's not that we're always bringing in new goods; instead, as we pare back we realize, even the things we thought were useful not always are.
  • Refuse: When living in a small footprint, you must be so careful not to bring anything into the space that's not useful. Take this same approach to your larger space; it'll help you keep unneeded stuff in check. Refuse, refuse, and refuse that unneeded, single-use item. I promise you'll be fine without it.
  • Purpose: Living in the dimensions of past generations, our home has specific rooms for specific functions. Our dining room, kitchen and living rooms are all separate and we love that. When you live in a small space, every inch has its purpose. Keeping that level of intention for your larger dwelling is just as important. Yes, you have the extra square feet, but you don't need your office spilling into your dining room (something I'm totally guilty of) or your TV room in your bedroom. Keep your spaces separate and make them purposeful.

(Image: Landis Carey)

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Landis is a ceramic artist who hand-makes heirloom-quality pottery for the kitchen, table, and home. She writes about tabletop design and entertaining for The Kitchn and lives in Maplewood, NJ with her husband and toddler.