Independent Design Magazine

Your Ultimate Guide to Small House Design

Your Ultimate Guide to Small House Design

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All across the globe, people are turning to more simple styles of living. Small house designs are becoming increasingly sought after more than large ones. For instance, a smaller home costs less to build, design and operate. In addition to that, it’s also easier to clean and maintain. A smaller home is also more cozy and intimate than the vast types. But despite of all these benefits, we can’t deny the fact that many people still question the idea of designing their small homes without sacrificing their style or comfort. The good news is that if you’re dealing with a tight square footage that is less than 1000 ft2 • and aren’t sure where to start, you’ll definitely find this article helpful. We packed this article with savvy design concepts and ideas that would make imaginative use of your small home.

Concept: Open Floor Plans

Airy, spacious and versatile, open-plan rooms are a popular design concept to whoever plans small house design whether it’s a family home or an individual one. Open plan homes all about free flowing spaces that are flexible with infinite possibilities. Anyone who’s ever had to deal with a tiny apartment knows that small space living comes with its own set of challenges and one of them is the tiny area. So, an open layout, which is the one with no doors or walls between different zones, might be a solution to make the space look and feel expansive and encourages togetherness among the family.

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Open Floor Furnishing. Photo Courtesy:

Zone Your Home

The trick of creating the perfect open-plan is to plan a general idea of your zones. So, for example in your modern house living room, assign zones for lounging, dining and working to keep the room organized. Your open plan layout doesn’t have to be entirely wall-less to be called “open”. However, you can definitely divide your place with sliding doors, panels or partitions without making your house feel disconnected.

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Wall Partition. Photo Courtesy:

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Wall Partition. Photo Courtesy:


Floor Refinements

In addition to that, we also want to add another hack in designing with the concept of open layout. This hack is to zone your areas through flooring. To clarify, one way to separate your zones is to mix and match different types and heights of flooring. For instance, you can raise or sink one zone with a step or two to distinguish it from other ones. Also, you can design a special patchwork effect floor and assign it to a certain area to distinguish it from the rest. Remember to use different yet harmonious materials and textures in each of your zones to create an organized fun space.

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Different Floor Leveling. Photo Courtey:

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Different Floor Leveling. Photo Courtey:


Concept: Seamless Indoor/outdoor connection

Bringing the outside in is an increasingly popular goal for homeowners with modern house plans and who want to maximize natural light in their home. However, forging a strong connection between indoors and outdoors can make your home naturally feel larger and more expansive. So, encouraging the flow between indoor and outdoor spaces through our ideas and tools of small house designs is a game changer for those with small homes.

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Increasing Space Through Openings

Life Through Windows

If you’re keen on designing your house to look and feel wider, we think that high and large windows will do the job. Windows will not just invite natural light so as to make your home sizeable. However, they will also offer beautiful views to the treetops or sky, creating another connection to nature. There are many window types that you can design and implement according to the activity of the room. For instance, corner windows, picture windows, floor-to-ceiling and side-by-side windows can be great for a living room.

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Enlarging Spaces Through Windows

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Enlarging Spaces Through Windows


Clerestories and Skylights

On the other hand, in more personal spaces as the bedrooms, clerestory windows might be your best design idea. To illustrate, clerestory windows are windows that are placed above eye level will lend a small home extra spaciousness. So, these windows can deliver natural light and allow the space to be of considerable scale without compromising privacy. Finally, let’s not forget skylights or glass panel ceilings either. This is actually a design tip for those living in the rooftops or the upper floors of a building. This tip will make your space beam with wideness and light and make your home be part of the sky.

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More Light and Space Through Skylights

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More Light and Space Through Skylights


Concept: Minimalism

Clutter is the enemy of spaciousness and one way to get rid of that is to become minimal.  Minimalism doesn’t have to mean choosing simple, boring or inexpensive furniture and accessories. This concept just means ‘less is more’. To illustrate, Minimalism aims to find the beauty in function, by voiding unnecessary, distracting elements and allowing function to dictate an object’s form to perfection. So, your entire home environment is streamlined, creating a sense of harmony, openness, space and tranquility. In your small house designs, even when heavy materials are used, there is an aim for a sense of “lightness” needed for your small house plan.

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Uncluttered Design. Photo Courtesy:

Uncluttered Your Living

If you want to apply this concept but are unsure about how to get started, our step-by-step approach to minimalist design will help you kick things off. Firstly, define clutter. Then, get rid of it so as to make to your surfaces as minimal as possible. Ask yourself questions like: Do I use it? Do I love it? Do I need it? So, before you buy or design any piece of furniture or accessory to your home make sure it’s actually a necessity. For instance, search for furniture with built-in storage to limit clutter.

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Uncluttered Design

Lively Mood Creation

Secondly, make subdued hues rule. A neutral palette doesn’t need to be pale or boring. You can actually use more than one neutral color to add interest and depth to your décor. For example, use blush pinks, pale blues or grays and dusky lilacs. Those shades will make any small living room feel fresh and inviting and cozy. Remember that when creating an interior neutral color scheme, the successful combination of colors is actually more important than the individual colors you select. This hack of using calm, even-toned rooms fool the eye into thinking they’re more spacious than they are. In addition to that, make sure to add a variety of textures to keep the space from falling flat. Finally, minimalism isn’t just about keeping clutter to a minimum; it’s also about incorporating useful, sustainable and meaningful objects into your home.

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Vibrant Design

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Vibrant Design


Concept: Flexible Furniture

Furnishing a small space is a challenge but definitely not a reason to get depressed about it because this article is here to help you with small house designs and tips. The answer to questions like: How do you balance between making the room feel spacious while also squeezing in extra seating? is simply the concept of flexible or multi-functional furniture. Flexible furniture simply means the type that is easily moved around, used in different settings, could be fold up and above all is super compact. From beds with integrated TVs, to foldaway dining tables and seating that doubles as storage, check out these ideas.

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Felixible Furniture. Photo Courtesy:


For those needing help to solve a small space challenge, here are some ideas to guide you in furnishing your home. For instance, use small modular sofa units that come in parts. They can be rotated and arranged in a multitude of fashions. So, they can be easily modified to suit a whole range of spaces. In addition to that, the idea hanging seats that can be drawn up when not in use is also great. These seats free up floor space when needed and also add an element of fun to your home.

Home Office Space Saving Design

For those who suffer from that lack of room for an office, the mounted wall desk is the solution for you. It takes up way less room and you can even mount shelves above it for more storage space. We highly recommend our article on “tips to design your home office” for more inspiring ideas.

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Home Office

Folded Furniture

It’s also worth mentioning that a Murphy bed • is a great space saver for small homes. To illustrate, these are beds that folds away in a closet and used only when sleep is needed. Also, Foldaway dining tables and chairs designs are an invention that is designed specifically for tight foot areas. For your bathroom, we suggest using a tallboy cabinet that is a perfect space-saving freestanding furniture and one of the best small house designs instead of a regular bath • Finally, built-in storage nooks, can be a real space saver for your small home. When they’re part of the walls, you don’t lose nearly as much valuable square footage. And extra storage under a bench helps, too.

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Flexible Furniture. Photo Courtesy:

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Flexible Furniture. Photo Courtesy:


Concept: Home Decor

Decorating Small home plans may seem may seem like an impossible job where you’re torn between trying to fit everything and personalize your home without making it feel cramped and cluttered. However, we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to let your small living room pinch your style. No matter how small your space is. So, we’ve gathered our favorite small house designs and decorations to help you tackle your own petite dwelling.

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Home Decor

Decorating With Mirrors

Whoever plans small space living, there is a common trick interior designers swear by, and it works like a charm is adding mirrors. Expanding walls, amplifying light, breaking up visual clutter, mirrors can be used to solve most any design dilemma. For instance, try placing a large mirror behind a piece of furniture in your home. This will help to create the illusion of more space behind that item. Also, for small home designs, adding a mirror behind a light source is a great way to expand the reach of the light and make your home feel brighter and more welcoming.

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Mirror For Space Extension

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Mirror For Space Extension


Decorating With Plants

Accessorizing with plants is another tip we suggest you do. For those who have small house plans, Plants are a wonderful way to add depth to a small living room. Lush greenery softens corners and fools the eye into thinking there is more to the room than there really is. Plants are especially effective in corners and beside or behind chairs and sofas. Also, a hanging planter is a great way to add functional decor without taking up floor space. To know more about indoor plants check “Our Favorite Indoor Plants”.

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Decorating With Plants

Decorating With Rugs

Finally, small house designs are all about tricking the eye into seeing more than there really is. So, when you use small rugs in a small space, you see and actually think small. However, when decorating with large rugs, it gives a sense of grandeur and the feeling of a larger room.

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Decorating With Rugs

At last, we think that you’ll definitely love this video of small homes ideas and inspirations!

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Ambitious architect, eccentric writer and a lifelong learner. Fascinated by the world and always in search of new adventures and experiences to tell. The dream is to inspire people to pursue new perspectives through the splendid art of writing.