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Less Is More – the Minimalists’ Guide to Furnishing Your Tiny Home

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The benefits of a minimalist home are seemingly endless; they equate to less stress, less clutter, more space, and in turn mean that they are less expensive – to both create, and maintain. 

In today’s eco-conscious world, the tiny house phenomenon is a mantra that is seeing many people downsize their belongings and consumer footprint by eliminating excess property, possessions and attempting to vastly reduce their carbon footprint by occupying makeshift home, sometimes under 400 square feet in total. 

These spaces make creativity, ingenuity and design strategy integral to making the most of small spaces, and it’s this ideology that is giving people a renewed sense of independence, freedom and humanity. 

But how do you furnish a tiny home? How do people end up making such chic and postmodern spaces out if such little space? It’s no strike or luck – these dwellings are meticulously and pain-stakingly designed and re-designed to get the most out of square-footage challenged homes. 

The Purge 

If you’re about to move into a tiny home, you’re likely looking at your plethora of personal belongings knowing full-well they won’t all fit. Start by addressing each room, one by one, and eliminating the excess stuff you know you don’t need. If you haven’t used or even seen the piece in months or years, donate it to a recycling depot, give it to a friend, or sell it on any number of online resource sites like Kijiji or Craigslist. 

Keep your furniture and measure your belongings along the way. The fewer, the better, so start with the couch and see how you can arrange it within your new space. If it proves too clunky and large for your new home, investing in a new reversible sofa bed that boasts additional storage may be right up your alley. 

Design-Savvy 

In a tiny home model, functionalism is key. The lack of furniture means that everything has to serve a purpose. Your accoutrement has to be useable, and design-wise, needs to contribute to tying the room together. In a small space, if you end up creating multiple smaller spaces within – you’re downsizing your attempts at downsizing. Make sense? 

Put it this way: opening up a small space makes it feel bigger. The same idea is what makes cleaning out your garage so satisfying. 

Waking up in a clean, organized and sleek space is a great way to start the morning. Everything will have its space, and everything – with design in mind – will serve a purpose. At the end of the day, however, balance is very important. 

The size of your space, sometimes around the 350 sq/ft mark, and upwards to 1000 sq/ft., dictates that if you don’t have the furniture and accessories you need –stick to buying what you like–it’s that simple. If you put all of your energy into storage and minimalism, you’ll only be enjoying half of what your space can offer, and denying your house the chance to thrive as a home. 

Quality Over Quantity 

First on the docket is addressing the issue of what types of furniture can provide additional storage space, a reduced footprint, and eco-conscious building processes while still providing a stylish and desirable aesthetic for an up-to-date modern home. 

Options like murphy beds provide a solution to reduced space by being able to hide away against a wall while entertaining, or making a meal with friends and family. These bed systems are much like the ironing boards of olde, seemingly disappearing into a wall unit and providing ample space for improved mobility and space. 

Similarly, many tiny houses opt to include a sleeping loft type of design, where the main bed is located above the rest of the floorplan, keeping it out of the way. This can also mean eliminating a heavy and cumbersome box spring, making investing in a new, well-built mattress a staple of the tiny house ethos. 

Further – the staircase ascending to the bedroom make for a great way to add storage under the stairs, for such things as books, clothing, linens, and even cutlery and kitchenware. A good organization unit for these types of nooks makes for a clutter-free and efficient storage solution for clothing as well, ridding you of having to wrestle a bulky dresser or desk is a good place to start. 

Stackable Everything 

Tiny home owners know how to store and organize their lives into very small spaces, this is made easier by addressing the storage aspect of larger objects that are still necessities. Chairs for example, are crucial to entertaining, eating, and being comfortable, so a few stackable and foldable chic bistro chairs may be a perfect fit for a smaller space. When the chairs aren’t needed, they fold up and disappear into a carefully designed space for future use. 

Lighting 

First, ask yourself what you’re trying to say – aesthetically - with your lighting. You may be interested in a modern gallery-style lighting motif using pot lights and fluorescent tubes, or you may wish to bring in a few warm lamps to accentuate conversation spaces and spots for taking a load off. 

What’s best? A bit of both, really. A good reading lamp is an invaluable benefit to any living room space, it allows you to turn down the intensity of the room and provide a calming, soothing environment for a good book, a movie night, or an après dinner coffee with friends. 

Similarly, pot lights literally are built into the ceiling or your tiny house, so they add – however insignificant this may sound – space to your floorplan. Having standing lamps and big lampshades on top of the few end tables and counter spaces you have available take away from the open concept look you’re likely going for. Stick to one good, bright reading lamp and experiment with alternative lighting sources elsewhere. 

Kitchen 

Around the world, particularly in nations like Italy, Ireland, Canada and the US, the kitchen is the focal point of the house –it’s where people gather to tell stories, cook together and spend quality time. In a tiny house, this can prove difficult, so it’s important to invest the time and effort to creating a great kitchen in as little space as possible. 

Start by maximizing your counter space. Wide open and clutter free counters in a tiny kitchen will give you the space you need to prepare meals, provide storage underneath for pots, pans, and dry goods. Stainless steel or concrete countertop options are always in style, and allow you to keep a sleek and elongated look. 

Many appliance manufacturers offer smaller renditions of stovetop and oven combo’s, range hoods, refrigerators, and even chic and functional hotplates that can be built into a new countertop to maximize efficiency and practicality. 

Sink considerations are important here as well. When purchasing a new kitchen sink, go for a deep model, rather than a wide model. This will enable you to clean and have access to larger quantities of water for cooking and dishwashing, but will also conserve that valuable counter space.

Living Room 

By far the most important, and probably largest space within many tiny house designs, the living space needs to be functional, feel spacious and warm. Using the lighting tips and storage suggestions above, you can further accentuate the scope of the living room by shopping for inexpensive or used reading chairs, a tiny coffee table, a few throw pillows and blankets, as well as wall art for the space. 

Large wall art will tend to loom over a small space, so investigate the use of smaller pieces, creating a gallery wall, or tiny library of visual cues that pull your sightline up, using the typically high ceilings of tiny houses to your advantage.

Focus on conversation, as well. A big overwhelming TV or computer monitor can also overpower a small space and quickly become the focal point. If at all possible, stick to a laptop for entertainment, or even a projector that can make a large screen out of an adjacent wall. 

Arrange your chairs to embrace the people within the room, and refrain form setting them up in a straight line, if space issues persist, eliminate the coffee table altogether and utilize multiple micro end tables for each seat.  



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