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homes under 1000 sqft

Nine Design Ideas for Homes Under 1,000 Square Feet

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
May 18, 2018

On a national level, the average size of a newly constructed home is over 2,500 square feet. Recent trends in housing show that the average home size has been slightly decreasing, as builders add more entry-level homes to the market. There is an increased interest in tiny houses. They are gaining more traction due to their smaller ecological and carbon footprint, affordability, and lower operational costs.

Only 1% of homes purchased in the USA are under 1,000 square feet. This infographic shows that there is a rising interest (especially among younger people aged 18-34) in smaller homes that are both more affordable and environmentally friendly. If you are considering purchasing or building a new home, resisting the urge to buy a large house will save you money while also benefitting our planet. The biggest question on the minds of most people (and especially with those who have children) is this: Will we all fit inside a home that is well under the standard home size? Below, we offer a few innovative design principles and ideas for homes that are under 1,000 square feet.

Get Rid of Unnecessary Spaces

We need to actively challenge the idea that more is necessarily better (more is certainly more expensive). Many homeowners in the United States blindly accept a contractor's blueprint that includes an extra bathroom, a playroom or TV lounge, and other redundant or unused spaces. A home is for living, and small house design is reliant on homeowners understanding their authentic spatial needs and designing accordingly.

A recently released book called "Life at Home in the 21st Century" tracked the movement of families around their homes. They found that most families living in homes above 2,500 square feet only used a small fraction of the available area. Most of the movement and time are in the dining, kitchen, and family rooms.

get rid of unnecessary space

Design Spaces for Versatility and Multi-Functionality

Getting rid of excess rooms that would rarely be used means coming up with creative ways to design for versatility and multi-functionality. Instead of adding a massive closet for extra storage space, using the space under the stairway is one way to increase the functions of each space in your home.

back deck outside living area

Connect Your Home to Outside Living Areas

Incorporating design ideas that encourage you and your family to get outside is one way to limit the amount of needed interior space. An outdoor deck connected to the kitchen rids of the need for an inside dining room while connecting our home and livelihood to the natural world.

brown ottoman

Choose Ottomans Instead of Coffee Tables

The average living room sofa is 86 inches long, and the matching coffee table is recommended to be at least 2/3 the length of the couch. Those two pieces of furniture alone will take up a substantial amount of space in your living room. To get around this is, incorporate ottomans instead of coffee tables into your living room design. Ottomans can be used for extra seating when you have guests, while a simple tray placed on top of the ottoman transforms them into a makeshift coffee table.

bed storage

Use the Space Under Your Bed

While we do spend long hours in our bedrooms, most of that time is spent in bed sleeping. A small bedroom, then, really only needs enough space to get in and out of bed comfortably. Closet space is what usually increases the amount of square footage dedicated to bedrooms. One way to reduce the need for a large closet is through purchasing a bed designed with under-bed storage or drawer space. IKEA has several different types of storage beds that give you ample space to do without that full walk-in closet.

white open concept kitchen

Combine the Kitchen and Living Room

A study by the University of California observed 68% of an average family's time at home is between the kitchen and the family room or living room. Because we spend more than 2/3 our time between these two rooms, connecting them can radically save on interior space. An open kitchen and living room encourages movement between these two essential interior spaces. Having an open kitchen/living room can also eliminate the need for a separate dining room. The fluid space between the kitchen and living room naturally becomes a family dining area.

Consider Built-In Seating

To further reduce space, opting for built-in seating instead of chairs is also essential. Individual chairs need at least 20 square feet per person. Built-in seating can use corners of a home while also reducing the square footage required to seat several people comfortably.

Add Built-In Bookshelves in the Stairwell

Stairwells are often wider than they need to be. Walls of stairwells can be perfect spaces for adding bookshelves. This addition can eliminate the need for additional rooms, like dens, dedicated to housing, mostly books.

Make Shelving on Wheels for the Bathroom Door

The bathroom is usually the place where the least amount of time is spent. Except for teenage children spending hours in front of the mirror, most people get in and get out of the bathroom on time. If you require extra storage space, consider including an extra-tall bank of shelves placed on wheels that slide open to expose the bathroom door. In this way, you can disguise the entrance to your bathroom that is not used during long periods of the day while also gaining needed extra storage space.

The interior design for your small home depends on several different factors, including your needs and preferences, the climate in your region, and the number of people occupying the space. If there are more than four people, consider splurging on an extra bathroom. The ideas mentioned above for commonly-used areas should help stimulate the creativity and imagination to live well in a smaller home. You will save money while also benefitting the environment.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2019-12-12T01:22:20+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.