10 Inspiring Ideas from Some of the Tiniest Small/Cool Contest Homes

published Jun 14, 2022
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In case it wasn’t obvious from the name of the competition, every space submitted to the Small/Cool Contest qualifies as small. After all, we only accepted entries from people who live in homes that are 1,000 square feet or fewer!

That said, some of the spaces are really, really, really small — just 315 square feet or even teenier — and yet, thanks to the brilliance of their residents, they’re packed with gorgeous design and storage solutions. Here are a few of the grandest ideas from the tiniest of the Small/Cool Contest 2022‘s top 50 spaces.

Credit: Emily Soon

Incorporate double-duty furniture — or, better yet, triple-duty items.

“My main living space can quickly and easily be converted from a dinette for two to a six-foot couch for relaxing. Housed within the bench seat is my composting toilet, making this space also my bathroom.” From Emily’s 72-square-foot space

Practically anything can be storage space — and that includes a fireplace.

“The fireplace full of books is always the first thing people comment on. In 200 square feet, you have to get creative!” From Bailey’s 200-square-foot space

Use plants to add coziness without taking up tons of room.

“Living in an RV doesn’t mean you have to be plant-less! Everything you see is anchored down, whether it’s with Gorilla Tape or eye hooks.”From Sheena’s 200-square-foot space

Embrace color!

“I painted [my dresser] light and bright, which could basically be the motto for my decorating style. All the color makes the small room feel bigger and more alive.” From Maya’s 249-square-foot space

Use an interior ‘window’ to divvy up areas but keep an open feel.

“The inside glass window was the major addition to the space, since it created the bedroom nook.” From Antonin’s 250-square-foot space

Optimize your wall for storage — your whole wall.

“Since I didn’t want to crowd my bedroom with too many pieces of furniture, the solution I found was to build this long shelf at the very top of the wall, right below the ceiling.” From Marion’s 290-square-foot space

Credit: Jesse Wong

Opt for moveable items in reconfigurable layouts.

“My dining table seats two by default, can be folded away fully, or expanded to host dinner for eight. My coffee table and side chair are lightweight and can be easily moved aside to clear the main area for home workouts.” From Jesse’s 306-square-foot space

When all else fails, hide clutter.

“I wanted to make sure this flat was equally practical and visually appealing, so I’ve relied on hidden and closed storage as much as possible. For example, I use an oversized flat sheet to hide the storage boxes under my bed. And I’m particularly proud of the footstool that I made.” From Rosa’s 306-square-foot space

Delineate ‘rooms’ within a studio through furniture placement.

“In the main living space, I was able to carve out small spaces for a sleeping area, a home office, a dining space, a seating space, and also a TV space.” From Francis’ 315-square-foot space

Credit: Heidi Postma

Don’t be afraid to incorporate large furniture.

“Does having a full-size sectional sofa in a 315-square-foot apartment seem like a good design choice? I didn’t think so, either. However, after facing the reality that I would not get the house after my divorce, I was willing to go to some extremes to keep my beloved sofa.” From Heidi’s 315-square-foot space