Lessons Learned From Living in a Small House — So Far…

May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.  – Irish Toast

I have lived in a small house for a few years now, and I adore small spaces.  Although large rooms have a spacious beauty all their own, there is nothing like an intimate room that almost feels as though it’s giving you a hug every time you sit in it.

Small spaces exude coziness, but it can be a challenge to decorate them.  I’ve got to admit that if I ever see a magazine or book that features articles on small-space living, it’s nearly guaranteed that I will pick it up and thumb through it, if not buy it.

It makes me so happy to see the growth of the tiny-house movement, and a shift in decorating and architecture towards more sustainable living.  I love the idea that people should try to use only the space that they need.  I am not a minimalist though, because I believe that any space should be tastefully decorated in the style of the owner.

There are some bits of wisdom I have learned from living in a small abode, so far, and here they are:

◊  Be Flexible and Patient
In a small space, it can be easy to get claustrophobic, so when I decorate a room, or add a new piece to a room, I always step back to see how the change makes the room feel.
 Is the flow obscured?
   How are the proportions?
     Do the colors play well off of each other?

Sometimes I even wait overnight, to see how everything looks in the fresh, morning light.  Don’t be afraid to edit, edit, edit, and remove pieces that no longer fit with your design aesthetic.

◊  Be Still
I’m not afraid of plain, blank space.  This lesson is something I have learned along with the importance of editing.  I think blank spaces can be necessary, especially in small homes like mine, that have an interesting, and sometimes frustrating, mishmash of windows and doors.

I have jutting, modern architectural lines in the slope of my ceilings, walls, and in the room transitions — it’s one of the reasons that I was drawn to the house — and I think empty spaces help to show them off.

◊  Happiness is Golden
If you find that you truly love an accessory, or piece of artwork, feature it in a special place.  We all have favorite tables, lights, sculptures, etc.  I love rooms that have multiple places for the eye to rest, because they are so reflective of the owner. 

No matter the size of your home, the décor should make you happy, so prioritize that with comfortable furniture, a color palette customized to you, and accessories (new and old) that you have collected over the years.

◊ Bring Good In, Take Good Out
This final lesson is about being good to others.  I love to shop, and I love to shop for my home more than anything else.  Yet, my home is small, and I have limited space and storage.  I make a deal with myself – if I buy a great, new piece of furniture or a fun accessory that I can’t store with ease, I always donate another piece in my home to the less fortunate to make room for the new find.  It’s really like a design win-win.