Décor Tips & Home Renovation Ideas for Small Houses

Living in a small space has lots of benefits, but sometimes it can feel limiting.

If you find yourself needing more closet space, counter space, or just more space in general, it may be time to call a contractor to renovate your home.

There are plenty of ways to optimize your home so it looks and feels bigger, brighter, and more functional.

Here are some tips and tricks to maximize any small space with industry-approved renovation ideas.

Things to Consider

Think About Function First

With small spaces, you should prioritize function over form. In other words, focus more on how you plan to use the space and less on filling the space with decorative items. How you will use the space will inform the floor plan during the design phase.

While you can still make the space your own, you will enjoy a practical space that meets your needs, no matter the size, without the added clutter of too much décor.

Consider Your Needs for Your Space

When designing your space, create a list of your lifestyle needs or must-haves for the area. For example, it must have:

  • Comfortable seating to entertain guests
  • Extra bedding to host guests overnight
  • A quiet nook to read or work from home
  • Enough storage to fit your large collection of hats or shoes

Renovation Ideas for Small Homes

Storage Solutions

Most homes have plenty of unused space that can be turned into storage. You just have to be creative. With the right storage solutions, you can free up most of your usable space.

Corners and walls are often overlooked as a location for storage, so consider adding shelves and cabinets in these spots.

And if you have staircases in your home, use the space under the stairs for storage. This is a great storage spot for otherwise unused space.

Retractable drawers allow you to pull out and access items when needed and easily store them away after. And like cabinets, these drawers can be designed to fit any unused space.

To maximize unused storage space, look around your home for any spot that could fit a shelf, cabinet, or drawer. Think under beds and couches, in the bathroom, on empty walls, and above doors.

Open Storage

Open kitchen cabinets and shelving open up small spaces by drawing the eyes upward and increasing the line of sight. To make the room feel even bigger and brighter, consider adding lighting to your cabinets. You can use either artificial light or natural light from a window behind the cabinets.

Optimize Lighting

Windows and skylights are the best way to optimize natural lighting in a home and make a place feel larger by extending the line of sight to the outdoors.

To make the most of lighting in your home, use reflective surfaces that bounce light and instantly make rooms feel larger.

Semi-opaque materials, such as Panelite walls between rooms, allow light to enter rooms that are smaller and possibly windowless. For example, a Panelite backsplash between a kitchen and bathroom works well for small space bathroom renovations.

Glass doors between rooms, such as French doors, also maximize natural lighting throughout and increase the line of sight in small homes.

Replace Doors with Sliding Walls

Standard doors and doorways don’t drastically increase the line of sight in a home. However, large sliding walls provide privacy when you need it, and open up the space with extra-wide doorways to make the room brighter and airy.

Breakfast Bars

The breakfast bar is one of the top kitchen renovation ideas for small spaces.

If you don’t have space for a kitchen table, install a breakfast bar instead. A breakfast bar, also known as a coffee bar, can be propped up against a window so you can enjoy your morning coffee atop a bar stool or seat while gazing outside.

Floor-to-Ceiling Shelving

Floor-to-ceiling shelving provides ample storage space without taking up too much space in a room. Instead, these tall shelves make a room feel larger and use up wall space that would otherwise be wasted.

High Window-to-Wall Ratio

Large panes of glass that take up most of a wall help to open up small spaces. So consider adding large windows to your walls wherever possible.

Fewer Walls, More Open Space

Walls only make small spaces feel more confined. So, consider knocking down the walls in your home to enjoy a bigger, brighter open-concept space. And if you still want separate rooms, use room dividers instead of walls.

Lower Windowsills

Lowering the heights of your windowsills can make your space feel larger by allowing more natural light in and expanding your sightlines to beyond the interior of your home.

Negative Space

Negative space gives the eyes a break and makes small spaces feel less crowded. While you might be tempted to use up as much free space as possible, it will only make your home feel smaller.

Build Lofts/Mezzanines

Lofts and mezzanines can make a small space feel larger while also providing some extra living space in an otherwise unused area above. If you have a high enough ceiling, you can set up an office, bedroom, reading nook, or living room above without compromising the space below.

Keep Lines, Materials, and Colours Simple

Simple, clean lines, materials, and colours that aren’t too noisy will help make your space feel brighter, airy, and less cluttered. Since white reflects light, white and light colours will make rooms appear bigger and brighter.

But you can still use a pop of bold colour here and there. Don’t be afraid to add your own personal touches, even if they are a bit bold.

Other Tips to Maximize Your Space

Along with small space renovations, here are a few décor tips to help you make the most of your space:

  • Use mirrors to bounce light in a small room, doubling its perceived size. Metallic surfaces, such as tiles, work to reflect light and make spaces feel brighter and larger.
  • Use furniture that also acts as storage, such as two-tier coffee tables, storage seating, and ottomans.
  • Also use other types of multi-purpose furniture, such as a daybed in a window nook that also turns into a guest bed.
  • Hang a light-coloured curtain to separate a room when you need privacy.
  • Use low-sitting furniture to create an illusion of an open space.
  • Consider using floating Lucite coffee tables that are airy and don’t appear to take up space.
  • Hang artwork above eye level to give the illusion of a taller ceiling.
  • Use a large-scale statement art piece to add a focal point to a room, making the room appear larger.
  • Use wheeled storage carts that can be brought out when needed—e.g., bar carts—and tucked away when not in use.
  • Consider building a concealed charging station in a drawer to help hide cords.
  • Use a disappearing desk—a shelf that turns into a table—and a chair with a slim silhouette for a small workspace.
  • Use a fold-out dining table that tucks into a cabinet, counter, or island when not in use.

There are many tricks that home builders use to make small spaces look and feel larger. So consider these tips and start thinking about how you can make the most of your small space.