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Tips for small space living

Small cactuses decorate a home.
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Get comfortable with downsized living

It is a fact of modern life that many of us are living in smaller spaces. The population is growing, and property prices have soared, so we are having to adapt and think ‘minimal’. TV presenter George Clarke has shown us some Amazing Small Spaces, and there are so many documentaries about living in a shipping container, a boat, or a redundant public toilet.

There are many reasons for needing to downsize. You might be a student living in digs, who needs to eat, sleep and work in a tight space. Maybe you are a family in temporary accommodation waiting to move. Or maybe you have downsized permanently after your children have flown the nest or after the end of a relationship.

Whatever your reason, living in a smaller space is an interesting challenge and can inspire great creativity.

Decluttering is key

Try and rehome the things you don’t use or donate them to charity. To stop your belongings mounting up again, adopt a ‘one in, one out’ system. Invest in storage containers and baskets, which also make it easier to organise and find things.

If your living arrangements are temporary, you might want to consider storage. You will need to be decisive about what you don’t really use that much – and if you are really organised you can even save space by doing things like scanning your favourite books and important documents.

Box up and label your belongings, then store them away from humidity and bright light. A self-storage facility would be ideal for this. So, how much is self-storage per month? The price of storing your goods varies depending on how much you want to store and what facilities you need. The best way to work out your monthly spend on storage is to estimate how much you want to store with our helpful guide, and then get some quotes. If you take a look at the Store and Insure website , you will find links to facilities across the UK.

Time to decorate and furnish

There is a wealth of interior design advice for small spaces online. The general rule of thumb is to use light-coloured paint and zing things up with some brightly coloured accessories that really express your personality. Dulux has a Light + Space range designed especially for small rooms with colours ranging from Coastal Glow and Nordic Light to Frosted Dawn.

When choosing furniture for a small space, you don’t necessarily have to think of everything in miniature – the key is functionality. Ikea has even designed a range specifically for people living in smaller spaces. Look at items like drop-leaf tables, storage ottomans, hideaway wall desks, nests of tables, and beds with drawers. Wheels and castors are so useful; furniture that can move around a room or between rooms is instantly multi-functional!

Don’t forget to use some tried and tested trickery – well-positioned mirrors are great for letting in light and creating an illusion of space.

And remember to look upwards. There is so much vertical space available for shelves, tall corner units and hanging plants…

Bring nature indoors

Being cooped up indoors has become synonymous with the Covid pandemic and it can be especially tough for people confined to small spaces, particularly if they live alone. That is probably why there has been a big resurgence in our love of pot plants. They don’t have to take up valuable space. Why not hang a Hoya (or Crimson Prince) in the bathroom window, where it will thrive on the light and humidity?

Small space living is all about attitude

The main thing is to remember that it is okay to be messy sometimes, and when your small home seems to be closing in on you, just get out into the fresh air for a change of scene. Remember to make use of public spaces, too – parks, cafes, libraries and local attractions. Maybe you will return home refreshed and inspired, ready to move a few bits of furniture around the living room.