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8 ways to make your small home feel bigger


Homes are getting smaller as demand for land and the cost to build and finance a new home increases. You may wonder how you are ever going to fit your family of three or four and all your furniture into less than 100m²? Thankfully, our friends at Blue Designs provide 8 clever and practical solutions to designing for smaller homes.

#1 Open up the floor plan


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Open-plan living as opposed to older homes that have separate kitchens, dining rooms and lounges make the house feel much bigger. Blurring the lines between one room and another also allows for a lot more flexibility.

#2 Compact bedrooms

Having smaller bedrooms means that there is a lot more space for the living areas and encourages the family to spend more time together. Built-in cupboards also help bring down the size of the bedrooms.

#3 Combine circulations

Having circulation spaces rather than numerous hallways also helps to maximise space that would otherwise be lost. A pajama lounge, study or library area can be an inspiring space with other rooms leading off of them.

#4 Floor-to-ceiling windows


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Larger windows with added natural light and views make a small room feel more spacious and allow for natural ventilation.

#5 Live outdoors

Covered patios and open-deck areas make summer al fresco dining a breeze and effectively doubles your living space.

#6 Multi-purpose storage

Thinking creatively about storage means that you can maximise the use of your space. For example, stools and seating with cupboards underneath, hidden drawers in staircases and under beds, shelving units in stairwells.

#7 Think vertically

Higher ceilings mean that you can build more cupboards and shelving into your walls. Old fashioned library-type ladders are enjoying a new revival and can be child-proofed.

#8 Make the most of your roof space


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Specifying a clerestory or vaulted roof right at the start of the design stage means that you have the space for either a mezzanine floor or an attic that can be used as a study, playroom or additional bedroom.

Who is Claire Cardwell?

Claire Cardwell of Blue Designs is an architectural designer with over 15 years experience in the Johannesburg area. She has worked on small projects – double garages, swimming pools – and new houses from a 1,300m² house in Featherbrooke Estate, to houses of only 110m² in size. In 2015/2016 she worked on a small complex, a warehouse, a nursery school and new houses in the Waterfall Country Estate, Copperleaf Estate, and in Limpopo on an old-age home and frail care facility in North Riding.


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