The Big Small House


With the price of homes in 2021, larger homes are becoming more and more unaffordable to the average home buyer.  So how do you make a smaller home, feel larger. Well for some time, designers and builders have been using many tools that make a space feel larger than its actual dimensions.  

Quite obviously, adding an addition to a small house will make it larger, but for those that don’t have that option, it may be necessary to rethink the existing layout within the exterior walls.   

Here are some considerations for making a small house seem big:

  • Open concept - Existing layouts and walls do not have to be permanent restrictions.  It is often possible to remove interior walls to combine rooms and create a brand-new space.
  • Relocate - Combining smaller rooms on one floor to make one open space, then rebuilding a room in a different location such as a basement or attached garage can give you the feel of a larger home. 
  • Reconfigure - Changing the layout of a small bathroom, and utilizing different fixtures can turn a cramped space into a luxurious one.  The use of custom cabinetry, storage towers, floating vanities, pedestal sinks, multifunctional mirrored vanities, and walk-in showers instead of tubs, etc. can make it possible to create a functional luxurious space, albeit still small by dimensions.
  • Access points - Relocating access doors can make a specific room feel bigger, reduce unnecessary hallway space, and make the space more effective.   
  • Glass - Changing solid doors to glass doors also makes a room feel larger. Keep in mind the use of the room and the needs of privacy associated with the room.
  • Interior doors - Wherever possible and functional, remove interior doors from small rooms.  Either create pocket doors or a large archway to a hall or adjacent room to remove barriers and create the illusion of space.  
  • Ceilings and natural light - Depending on the roof structure and room, it is possible to make a small room appear to be anything but. Consider creating a cathedral ceiling or adding a consistent flow of natural light via larger windows, skylights, or glass exterior doors.  
  • Windows and Doors - Adding floor to ceiling windows and/or doors draws your eye to the outdoors and gives the illusion that the room is so much larger than it is. The additional natural light may allow you to repurpose the room.  
  • Connecting living spaces - If you add a patio, deck or balcony to a room you actually gain space visually and physically.  Creating an outdoor room, may actually give you more usable square footage without the expense of a full addition.
  • Staircases - Removal of closed staircase walls and replacing them with glass rails can make a huge difference in the illusion of space. Open lines of sight from floor to floor, and the unencumbered flow of light gives an airy feel to the home.
  • Multipurpose designs - Utilizing built-in custom cabinetry that conceals a murphy bed, a home office space, and/or a dining table, depending on your personal needs can create a multipurpose room which may eliminate the need for more square footage.
  • Built-in cabinetry – Cabinetry from floor to ceiling and wall to wall, provides a means of reducing clutter and freeing up floor space.  By customizing your cabinetry, you can ensure that everything that you have will be put away properly. Do not over fill shelves, left open space creates an airy illusion of extra space.  Discard or donate any items that you don’t use…Declutter your home!
  • Lighting – Maximum natural light through large windows and glass doors, skylights, solar tubes and/or archways, and consider lighting opportunities as well.  Recessed lighting (potlights), sconces, and task lighting helps layer the flow and draw the eye to your focal point.
  • Mirrors – Use oversized decorative mirrors or several different stylish mirrors to reflect light and fool the eye, by the illusion of space.  Mirrored backsplash in a kitchen creates the illusion of a much larger space. 
  • Continuity – Flooring should be the same throughout each floor.  Continuity in colour and materials creates flow and reduces barrier lines.  
  • Colour – Choose light and neutral colours for walls, ceilings, and flooring as these work as a space expander.  They will need to be harmonious. The use of cool monochromatic colours on the wall, trim and mouldings will make walls visually recede.  Darker colour defines space drastically.  
  • Window Coverings - If privacy and sun is not an issue keep blinds up and your windows clear.  Keep in mind the effects of midday sun for fading of your floors and furniture.  Natural streaming light will make the room feel larger.
  • Simple lines and proportions– Keep furniture simple, proportionate, and multipurpose.  Be mindful of foot traffic rules and visual balance.
  • Electronics - If your room has a television in it, treat it as art by using a wall mount and perhaps a removable frame.  This will allow you to discard any otherwise unnecessary cabinet.
  • Furniture - Use multipurpose furniture to store away essentials (ottomans with storage inside, tables with storage, etc.)  Use of light stains, glass or mirror on furniture keeps the room light and airy.

At Vanderzalm Construction Inc., we are experts at renovations and additions.  Whether you want to add more square footage to your home, or renovate your existing space to make it more efficient call us today at 905-684-5823 for a quotation.