Living in a small house is not just for minimalists, but also very cost-effective and a much easier way to get onto the property ladder. But this requires the skills of being very well organized.
However small your house might be, it will need proper planning to get the most out of it. The areas you will need to plan for are:
- The Kitchen Space
- The Dining Space
- The Living Space
- The Sleeping Space
- The Bathroom Space
- The Storage Space
If you’re considering to move from a large house or apartment into a small house. Or if this small house is your first step out of the parent’s den, read on and discover the ideas I’ve compiled for you on how to organize the spaces in your small house.
Defining your main space
When planning the spaces of your small house, the first step must be to decide on the main space of the house. This depends a lot on your lifestyle and what kind of person you are.
If you love to invite people for dinner or if you’re running a book club and welcome your members to visit for readings on a regular basis, the seating area might be your core space of the house.
If you love cooking and prefer standing in the kitchen, baking your best cake ever, the kitchen will probably be more important to you.
Consider this before deciding on your main space.
In the following sections, we will look at each space from two perspectives, as the main space, and as a practical side space.
The Kitchen Space
If you grew up in a family where the kitchen was the main hub of the house, this room probably feels like home. And just because you live in a small house with limited space doesn’t mean the kitchen can’t be the core of your small house. This might be true if you love cooking or not.
But if you are the inspiring Michelin-star cook, you will probably need lots of space for your kitchen equipment.
But if cooking is not your domain, you might be happy with just a microwave oven.
Either way, storage is paramount and because storage in a small house is limited, it’s best to limit yourself to the things you need.
A good idea is to make a list of all the items you use regularly. Those are the ones you’ll need to keep, the rest goes in a box, just in case you do need it in the future.
It sounds like a lot of work at the beginning, but it will be the best thing you’ve ever done and will help you live with the least amount of objects without missing anything.
It really depends on how engaged you are in the kitchen.
Avoid buying unnecessary items or decorations. It will just clutter-up your kitchen without adding any real value. Of course, if you find something that makes your heart tick faster, go for it. Just be aware that it might not look the same in your small kitchen as it does in the shop.
Don’t forget to plan for your washing machine and possible dryer if you can’t install those anywhere else in the house.
Because of the small size of your kitchen, chances are that a spitting frying pan will reach each and every corner of your kitchen and beyond. In a large kitchen, it might just be a quick wipe with a cloth over the adjacent surfaces, but in your small kitchen, this can turn quickly into a real spring clean of not just the kitchen top, but the floor and nearby furniture as well.
The Dining Space
In all of the small houses I visited, the dining area was usually a part of the kitchen or at least an extension of the kitchen area.
The size of the dining area depends a lot on the size of the kitchen, the number of people living in the house and their habits. In “main-space” kitchens, the dining area is often integrated into the kitchen and the table forms part of the kitchen surface area. Otherwise, the dining area maintains space on its own.
Either way, in small houses, the dining table is often used for much more than just dining. It becomes an office, a baby changing table, and a hobby or workbench, to mention a few. Even gardening and pottery are quite common on a dining table.
When planning and organizing your dining area, make sure you consider those aspects as well.
When choosing a dining table and chairs, see that the table allows for storage and the chairs can easily be either stacked or folded to provide for space if needed and for easier cleaning of the floor area.
Very often the dining area forms part of the kitchen, either as a type of bar or as an extension of the kitchen worktop.
The Living Space
The living room is often designed as another multi-functional space.
A living room is a room in a home that’s used for entertaining friends, talking, reading, or watching television. If you’re a couch potato, you most likely spend lots of time in your living room. You can also call a living room a lounge, a sitting room, a front room, or a parlor.
In a small house, the living room might also serve as a bedroom or guest room or integrates directly with the dining area.
A couch or sofa is usually the heart of the living space in addition to things like TV, stereo system and often shelves for books and other artifacts.
If your living space is very small, using the walls and the ceiling for storage makes a lot of sense. It allows more space for the couch.
I found that painting the walls and ceiling white gives the feeling of more space.
When choosing a couch or shelves which are not fixed to the wall, make sure they are on legs. This makes it much easier to clean the floors and allows for additional storage, like baskets or containers.
If you decide on a coffee table, choose a glass or transparent one and if space allows it, an L-shaped couch is a very good choice. This is specifically true if your living space doubles as a bedroom.
The Sleeping Space
The bedroom is the place we sleep but don’t forget, it is also one of the main storage areas. It starts with your clothes, shoes, etc. Most have to be accessible every day.
If you have a dedicated sleeping space, I found open shelves and hangers fixed to the wall are a good option. It allows seeing everything without having to open doors and it makes it easier to add additional shelves if needed.
If your living space doubles as a sleeping space, you might want to opt for a closed storage solution. Your clothes look best on you and not on a hanger in the living space.
Again, having a bed on legs allows for additional space below the bed for storing winter clothes in the summer or the other way around.
If you have the choice, make sure your sleeping space has a window or some form of airing. We sleep much better in cooler rooms with fresh air.
The Bathroom Space
Most bathrooms in small houses are usually tiny. Depending on the age, they come with a bath (often half-size) or a shower.
If you can’t find space for your washing machine in the kitchen, you most likely need to find space for it in the bathroom. This is something to consider.
In general, a modern walk-in shower turns out to be the best solution for a very small space. For the rest, there are some amazing toilet-sink combinations out there.
Being able to keep a bathroom clean is important, especially in such a small space. Humidity is another factor to consider. Look out for windows or at least a good airing system. Keeping everything in closed cupboards makes it easier to clean and it keeps the humidity out. And let’s face it, it looks nicer for visitors as well.
The Storage Space
Where to store the rest of the stuff?
A 50 to 60 square meter house doesn’t come with lots of storage space. You have several options to deal with this.
You can either hire a storage unit at a nearby storage provider. Leave a lot of your stuff at your parent’s house or with friends. Or get rid of a lot of your unused stuff.
I personally found a combination of it works well
- I got rid of a lot of the stuff I never really used
- I developed the habit to run a paperless office
- I scanned all my photos to the cloud
- I changed my PC for a Laptop
- I replaced my old stereo with a good headset and my iPhone
All the stuff I feel really attached to, but never really used, I stored with my parents and made an inventory list on my laptop. This way, if I look for something, I know where to find it.
I know it sounds very organized, but I am not really like that. I just don’t have that much stuff anymore and that helps a lot.
Other important points
All the points I described here would fit for a house or an apartment. A house usually comes with a plot or maybe even a garage or a loft. This will provide extra storage space and you might be able to make some structural changes to the building to make it fit your needs. With an apartment, this is more difficult
If you decide to move into a small house, be prepared for some change. I found that a small house can be an amazing place to live in and let’s not forget the costs. I was able to half my monthly outgoings and the savings on my heating hit 70%. This is substantial.
Whatever the size, you will have a place to call home. Enjoy