Remodeling Tips for Making the Most of Small Homes

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Remodeling any home is a serious undertaking, but the smaller the home is, the more you have to lose in terms of space, comfort and aesthetics. There are plenty of tricks to make a room look larger, but if you’re going all the way you’ll need some more heavy-duty guidelines; here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of every inch when it comes time to upgrade the look of your home.

  1. Go Vertical with Storage

According to Woman’s Day, this is one of the best ways to utilize the space you have for remodeling. Installing custom shelving units from floor to ceiling not only gives your home a unique look, but also helps keep all your knickknacks and design elements visible without taking up valuable space on your end tables, entertainment center or—in the case of a busy workshop or child’s room—the floor.

If you can’t afford to install custom-built and custom-designed shelving, it’s easy enough to find “floating shelves” at most leading home décor supply stores. If you’re feeling a little green, you can also use a little carpentry knowhow and a good electric screwdriver to upcycle old shelving units into new storage spaces. Don’t be afraid of going “too high,” either, just make sure that the upper shelves are more for looks and less for function; if you have no choice but to take full advantage of every shelf, get a cute stepladder and store it in a nearby closet.

  1. Get Better Lights

Everyone knows that a well-light room looks larger than a dim one, but upgrading your light fixtures during a remodel can be a little daunting. Where do you start? What kind of lights do you need? How bright should they be?  Thankfully, any lighting professional can answer these questions using more or less the same standards:

  • Larger rooms require three points of illumination, according to Real Simple, including one point of ambient lighting and two points of task lighting, such as spotlights and reading lamps. You can purchase modern overhead fixtures like hanging lights from Lumens and other online vendors easily, so be sure to check online rather than visiting a home improvement store right away.
  • Ambient lighting should be overhead, while task lighting should be below eye level, using “white light” bulbs between 60 and 100 watts; check your local hardware store for energy-efficient bulbs that offer more light with less power.
  • Accent and decorative lighting can be installed for aesthetics over illumination, and should always use lower-wattage bulb than other light fixtures.

Following these guidelines, it should be easy to figure out the kind of lighting you need to keep your home looking spacious.

  1. Get Reflective

Making a small room look bigger could be as easy as installing a decent sized mirror, but proper placement of reflective surfaces is the real key. While Apartment Therapy reports that many decorators install full-wall mirrors in smaller homes to make small rooms look more spacious at first glance, it’s clear that isn’t a practical option for everyone.

Don’t be afraid to do a little experimentation; wall-mounted “full body” mirrors are inexpensive, easily installed, and no one said they had to be vertical! Installing a long mirror horizontally over a couch or table can make a huge difference, but isn’t seen often if you’re not paying big bucks to utilize the services of a professional interior designer.

A more feasible option, particularly for homes with small children, is to place mirrors on the wall behind light sources, such as standing lamps and lanterns, in order to reflect the light out more fully into the room. This not only creates the illusion of more space through reflection, but also helps illuminate your home even better than just using all new light fixtures. Mirrors also aren’t the only option for creating the illusion of space, as any pale reflective material can do this. Clear acrylic tables and shelves are both durable and reflective, allowing you to roll together extra storage lighting, and spatial illusions into a single installation.

Follow Your Instincts

A great deal of interior design requires going against the norm to do unique things with fairly mundane tools and installations, but when it comes to working with limited space there are some guidelines that shouldn’t be ignored. Furniture should generally be kept close to walls to maximize walking space—no matter how many designers claim that a couch should be in the middle of the room or a table should never touch the wall, you know how much space your home has better than they possibly could.

Maximizing the space you have in a remodel means being intimately aware of how many square feet you have to work with and how to fit your furniture and other elements into that space without turning your loveseat into a wall or your table into a stumbling block. If you feel like the interior decoration of your remodeling effort is working contrary to your intentions, there’s nothing wrong with starting over on a more traditional design path.