How to make a ‘compact and bijou’ interior feel more spacious

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Whether you’re renting or buying, space comes at a premium in any property. The more spacious your interior, the greater the cost of your rent or mortgage. So if you want to save money (and time spent cleaning – bonus!) it makes sense to opt for a smaller ‘compact and bijou’ home. But how are you going to fit everything in if you do downsize..?

You can start by getting organised and decluttering everything, but once you’ve reduced your belongings to a minimum, that won’t make the rooms any bigger! However, it IS possible to find more space in each room by making the most of nooks and crannies, and by choosing multipurpose furniture. Here’s how:

COMBINE COOKING & DINING

If you can manage without a dining room, that’s one less room you have to pay for. Much of the time a formal dining space is rarely used and you might prefer to eat at a breakfast bar in your kitchen – or even on a lap trap in the living room. But sometimes you just need that dining space – think about Christmas dinner and birthday parties – you can’t really eat a family dinner at your kitchen island, can you?

In this instance, I’d recommend a fold out table and stacking chairs. We have a table that is only 6 inches wide when folded down, but can easily seat up to six people with the two fold-out leaves extended. We can tuck it away against a wall or behind an open door when it’s not in use. In terms of seating, wooden stacking chairs are at once stylish and practical and take up the space of only one chair when piled up. Plus, you can use them in other places in your compact home – such as your computer desk or dressing table.

COMBINE LIVING & SLEEPING

You’ll no doubt have room for a sofa in your living room but, if you’ve downsized to a one-bedroom apartment, you won’t have extra space for guests. The obvious solution for ensuring that you can still have guests come to stay is a sofa bed. It can be a pull-out double bed, a fold-out armchair (like the one in this nursery below) or a day bed that you pile up with cushions to use it as a couch.

When I was looking for a sofa to fit in my living room, I wanted it to be small but also practical, so I opted for a secondhand mid-century Ercol studio couch. It has a comfortable mattress-like base with lots of back cushions for comfort. I didn’t really think we’d be using it as a bed but within a couple of weeks we had visitors come to stay and we found our just how useful a day bed could be!

Image from Living At Number 29

COMBINE STORAGE & WORKSPACE

If you’ve got any kind of alcoves, L-shaped spaces or built-in cupboards in your smaller home, you’ve got to make the most of them! I built a dressing table into a narrow cupboard in my bedroom, which keeps everything neatly tucked away and provides plenty of storage. You could do the same inside a wardrobe, or you could add a shelf in an alcove to use as a desk for your laptop. Or if you’ve got one of the fold-down tables I mentioned above, you could pull up one leaf and use that as a workspace for crafting, computer work, sewing or admin.

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What else could you combine in a small home? If you have downsized or live in a ‘compact and bijou’ home, please let me know your tricks for making the most of the space in the comments below πŸ™‚



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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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