The Charms of a Small House
Flooding a room with natural light can help open up the space.
When the Baby Boomer generation started raising families, homes started getting bigger, a sure sign of success in the Boomers’ eyes. Houses have continued to get bigger and bigger, with a heftier price tag attached. With the market being what it is and with greater awareness of conservation and economy issues, though, these big homes are not selling as well. Now, the old adage, “Large things come in small packages” is more than ever true. The charms of a small house can mean comfort, coziness, and a large savings in the long run.
Cozy charm doesn’t need to mean cramped and cluttered. As a matter of fact, small requires less clutter. You may want to make a few remodeling changes to create a feeling of space while keeping your comfy, cozy effect. Open planning makes everything feel larger, as does lighting and using lighter colors. So let’s look at the options that will add more charm to your small house.
Look for details that already give your house charm. Do you have a fireplace, wood flooring, a second floor stairway, or any other architecture that drew you to the place to begin with? You will want to work around these elements. Keeping them in mind, let’s start by opening up your living area.
Eliminate unnecessary walls. When knocking out walls, be sure to consult a contractor for help; you don’t want to knock out a structural wall holding everything together. Eliminate basements, attics, and/or hall spaces, if possible. Now you can have exposed ceiling rafters, allowing one’s eye to travel upward. Instead of walled-off bedrooms upstairs, how about a loft with the stairway open and exposed? If you do not wish to eliminate the basement or attic, convert one or both to another room, like a family room or another bedroom.
With this higher open look, you can now open up your windows, installing larger, taller treatments to allow more natural lighting. Add a bay window in the living room, with built-in benching for reading and relaxing, leaving one less piece of furniture taking up floor space. Track lighting or recessed lighting works well in an open room and keeps floor space free for the special pieces of furniture you do want.
Divide your living area by furniture groupings and make areas double up. Your dining area can also double for a library or study area with built-in shelving for books, a computer, and office supplies. Wherever possible, install built-ins: built-in bed frames, built-in shelves, or even a built-in fireplace or wood stove. There is often room in the wall spacing for these things.
Along with all the lighting you now have, brighten up the area even more with lighter colors of decor. You may love everything in your kitchen, but with dark cabinets and dark flooring, it feels cramped. Use white and light pastel paints; lighten the flooring with light colored cork, easily installed and comfortable. Now accent the kitchen with bright colors and your kitchen will welcome everyone to it. Use this type of coloring throughout the house to lend a fresh and airy atmosphere.
For closed spaces like bathrooms, install a skylight, add mirrors, and again, use lighter colors on walls and flooring. Also consider bringing more of the outside indoors. Open up the back door to the patio or yard by adding French doors or a sliding glass door. This, too, will bring in more natural light and make the area seem larger.
Whatever remodeling ideas strike you to add charm to your cozy little house, be sure to consult help from a professional for the big jobs. Insist on keeping those special features that make your house so charming in the first place, be it the rock fireplace, the hardwood floors or the small details in architecture, making your small package charmingly larger.
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