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Making Life Happy in a Small Home
Let's face it. Small homes are cozy, beautiful, and economical. The only problem? You may sometimes feel like the walls are closing in on you! Over the past few years, I have interviewed family, friends, and other small-home dwellers in my community. Surprisingly, many of the people I interviewed told me that they feel happier and lead more meaningful lives now that they live in smaller houses. Their families' happiness is based more upon experiences than stuff.
Now that the small-home movement has become increasingly popular, there are people who state that living in a small home contributes to improved health and helps them save money. Most of all, it has rewarded them with time-saving benefits.
Here are some tricks that work for many of the people whom I interviewed.
1. Go Outside as Often as Possible!
Take full advantage of public parks, nature trails, coffee shops, book stores, and other places in your community so that you won't feel so boxed in.
2. Include Reflection in Your Rooms
Things such as sliding mirrored doors and reflective paint help greatly when living in a small home because they throw light around and make rooms feel more spacious.
3. Add a Patio or Deck to Your Home
Sometimes when living in a small home you may find that there is not even an inch more of your interior living space to squeeze out. Try expanding your outside living space in any kind of way that you can.
4. Put in a Skylight
The room below would feel extremely stuffy without the skylights that were installed. Bringing light into a room always gives the feeling of more space as does providing views of the outdoors.
5. Get a King Size Bed
I know it may seem crazy, but large and relaxing pieces like a big comfy bed or sofa can actually make you feel like you have more space. Try splurging on pieces that may help you relax the most, maybe even a big bath tub!
6. Bring in Plants
Adding nature inside your home makes the space feel more open and brightens everyone's mood.
7. Be Sure to Have Nesting Tables
One major secret to making a small home work is discovering ways to add furniture that does double duty. Nesting tables can be moved out of the way and hidden fast and easily. Three nesting tables are a great way to go.
8. Use Light-Colored Paint
When you want to give your all in making a small home work, light colors become your best friend. Using light paint colors in your home will open it up and reflect light better.
9. Include Storage All the Way up to the Ceiling
In small homes, vertical storage is the best way to go. It's important not only to keep your belongings out of the way, but it also sends the eye upward to make a room appear larger than what it really is.
10. Add a Sectional
Believe it or not, it makes sense to add a sectional sofa in a small home. They offer more seating options than a sofa and chair combination.
11. Add Storage Ottomans
When space is a luxury, storage ottomans are a great way to go. Every nook and cranny counts when you are living in a small home. Storage ottomans are great for getting toys, blankets, and electronics out of view. They also provide extra seating.
Our homes are meant to give us shelter from the outside. They are not a substitute for going outside. Larger homes can meet people's needs so completely that they forget there's a yard outside to enjoy. Feeling compelled to "get out of the house" is a good thing. Smaller homes can inspire us to make a garden, be outside in nature, and explore new places.
Television and social media often suggest we aspire to McMansions with nothing less than two car garages, giant living rooms, and man caves. What was so bad about the homes we grew up in? Isn't there a part of us that is lost when we are constantly trying to move up? In the process we are losing our time, our money, and our freedom. Maybe we are simply wandering around our big houses looking for one another.
Chantelle Porter from Chicago on September 29, 2015:
I really enjoyed this article. I, too, live in a small home and I thought your advice was spot on.
DebMartin on June 06, 2015:
I'm so happy in my small home I'm working on moving to an even smaller home. Love all your ideas except maybe the skylight. With the snow load in my area, sooner or later a skylight becomes a problem. But my ceiling to floor windows across the back of my home make a huge difference. I especially like your suggestion to move outside. Even in the middle of winter here with single-digit temps, you can find me rocking on my porch wrapped in a wool blanket with my morning coffee. Truly amazing what one adjusts to and comes to enjoy.
Joshtheplumber on June 06, 2015:
What wonderful ideas you have! As George Carlin put it, all your house is, is a place to keep your stuff... While you go out and get more stuff.
I, personally, don't like to keep up with more stuff than I can carry. And none of it is really mine anyway- just stuff the Earth allows be to borrow... To share and enjoy with others :-)