Who doesn’t dream of a multi-room house with a large garden and picket fence? But sometimes, your palace might be a bit smaller than you hoped and you’ll have to get creative with the space.
Tiny homes, which are less than 400 square feet, are becoming increasingly popular in big cities like Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver. Despite their size, tiny homes are subject to the same land use bylaws as other residencies.
However, mobile tiny homes have to abide to a different set of municipal rules, depending on whether they are built on a chassis or on a permanent undercarriage. For example, parking regulations can vary city to city.
We turned to people living in the smallest of spaces for advice: those living in vans, RVs, micro-homes, laneway houses, and other unusual set-ups for a variety of tips.
No matter what your living situation is, these ideas will inspire better living in minimal spaces.
1. Dual purpose storage
"If and when you need to bring organizational pieces into your tiny home, consider stylish items that can function beyond their intended purpose," says Whitney Leigh Morris, author and founder of The Tiny Canal Cottage.
Items that pull double duty, like storage chests that act as seats, are both functional and stylish.
2. Wall mounted shelves
"Open shelving allows you to see what you have, while maintaining openness," say Alexis Stephens and Christian Parsons, who live and travel in a tiny home on wheels.
These shelves can be everything from pots and pans, spices, and bicycles. Open shelves help create the illusion of space by clearing the floor.
3. Space saving tables and beds
Furniture that folds up and tucks away, like a bed that hides away or turns into a couch, means more space for everyday use. Some tables, for example, have hinges so you can hide it away when not in use.
4. Use lighter colours
"Use white or light color paint on your walls. Painted wall panels can also lead your eye to a focal point, creating length in your space," says Jenna Spesard, who runs a tiny house blog.
A lighter colour palette brightens up a space and makes it look larger. Avoid dark coloured woods.
5. Think vertically
"Store items high and low, and out of the eye-line to make spaces seem bigger," says blogger Jenna Spesard.
Other tricks to make space look bigger include hanging mirrors up and keeping windows clear and open.