How to Design Small Houses


When it comes to design, small homes are a challenge. You may have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish, but one of the most important things to keep in mind is maximizing what space you have. Keep your focus on function and add a little creativity to the mix to design a compact home that will be a big success.

  • Build up. If you own a tight piece of land, you have only a certain amount of square footage to work with, but you can always build that second story. Keep ceilings high in tight spaces to keep rooms from feeling stuffy.

  • Focus on angles. Don't waste space with a grand straight staircase that takes up half a room. Instead, create a way to get up to a second floor or a loft with an angular or spiral staircase.

  • Keep the floor plan open. Instead of going for a separate kitchen, dining room, living room and office, try a functional multipurpose room. You'll gain usable square footage where those extra walls would be.

  • Let the light in. Use large windows throughout the entire home. Make that multipurpose room light and airy with a window, opting for a sliding glass door if you need an an exit other than the front door. Adorn bedrooms with big picture windows. Windows will make any room appear larger.

  • Scale it down. Keep external features small and don't let anything overpower the structure of the home. Opt for a single door entrance--skip the porch entirely as it will take over the front of a small home. Use windows on the front of the home to make it seem larger. A house without a window in front will resemble a shed more than a home.

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  • Photo Credit house blueprint and house model studio isolated image by dinostock from tall building with fire escape and bay windows image by Stephen Orsillo from spiral stair image by firstangel999 from plan of a flat image by forca from windows. arched windows image by L. Shat from shed image by Julia Chernikova from
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