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Designs for Small Spaces

by beconrad

The recent downturn in the housing market may have marked the end of the McMansion.  Those large showy homes somehow seemed to make a lot of sense when home prices were always on the rise, but these days many people view them as luxuries they no longer can afford.  More and more homeowners are looking for smaller, more practical homes for their families, and there are many reasons why this type of downsizing makes sense.

For one thing, a smaller home will typically come with a lower cost of ownership.  From lower heating bills to lower real estate taxes, cutting down on the square footage can have many practical benefits.  And there is no reason why a smaller home cannot be just as elegant and charming as that behemoth down the street.  With the right decorating touches even the most modest home can become a showplace.

Of course moving from a larger home to a smaller one will always have its challenges.  One of the biggest challenges is simply where to put all that accumulated stuff.  Having a large home can be an open invitation to the accumulation of unneeded items.  Moving all that stuff to a smaller space can result in an overcrowded and untidy living space.

The most obvious solution is simply to sort through all those accumulated items and divide them into must haves and must sell items.  Selling off those outdated and unwanted toys will not only clear up much needed space – it can provide an influx of spare cash as well.   That found money can be used to make home improvements, take a well deserved vacation or even to pay down the mortgage on the new and more modest home.

Of course those remaining items will still need a home, and that is where a good design plan comes in.  The smaller spaces of the downsized home can present some challenges, but those challenges are by no means insurmountable.  A little bit of planning goes a long way, and the right design can make a huge difference.

One of the best ways to take advantage of available space is with built-in shelving units, bookcases and other storage solutions.  Built-in bookcases can be used to display not only your library but your collection of DVDs, videos and other entertainment items.  A well designed set of built-in bookcases can be a valuable addition to any den, entertainment room or study.

Built-in shelving units can also be used effectively in garages, basements and other parts of the home.  These shelving units can be used to store everything from paints and solvents to gardening equipment and automotive accessories.  If no built-in units are available, investing in a sturdy set of steel shelves can be a cost effective solution to your storage needs.

When it comes to storing clothing and accessories a closet organization system can be a godsend.  Organizing a closet can be a difficult task no matter what the size of the home, and a good closet organizer can take advantage of space that would otherwise be wasted.

When choosing a closet organizer it is important to look for a solution that incorporates plenty of adjustable shelves.  These shelves can be used to store those items that cannot easily be hung on the racks.  A built in shoe rack can also ease the burden of an overcrowded closet.

The bathroom can also benefit from a top down storage solution.  There are many such solutions on the market, ranging in price from only a few dollars to hundreds of dollars or more.  It is important for downsizing homeowners to look carefully at their needs and choose the solution that works the best for them.  Something as simple as installing a caddy in the shower or above the toilet can help to recover all that wasted space.  Storing shampoos, soaps, conditioners and other necessities in the shower or on the wall can free up valuable space for all those other necessities of life.

Downsizing to a smaller home is not always an easy choice, but there are many benefits for homeowners of all income levels.  From the ability to pay off the mortgage ahead of schedule to the joy of a simpler lifestyle, it makes sense to invest your time and effort into a smaller home.  And with the right design tools and organizing solutions even the smallest home can still be comfortable and inviting.