Living in a smaller space seems like it is becoming a popular trend, particularly for millennials and empty nesters. More and more, we at Hoskins Interior Design are getting calls from homeowners looking to maximize a small house rather than spread out into a traditional large home. For us, we use the same design principals for small spaces as large ones. What changes is the precision which must be applied as there is less room for each element. Each bit of space must be maximized for both functionality and aesthetics to ensure the home is comfortable for those who live there.
Creating Functionality in a Small House:
A space is functional if it supports the way you live, and this functionality is the key to your happiness with your small space. Every one of us uses our home differently, so if you have purchased a house designed around someone else’s life, chances are it will not suit you. Don’t be afraid to make changes, like taking out a bunch of drawers in a bathroom because you need shelving instead. Just because an element looks nice and worked for the previous owner does not mean it is appropriate for you!
Kitchens and bathrooms tend to cause the greatest amount of angst when it comes to designing for a small home. Below we offer some ideas to consider for your project:
Designing for a Small Kitchen
We promise—big cooks can live happily in a small house. All it takes is planning. You will want to consider the flow you need to prepare dishes and allow guests or family to hang out with you. However, what will really lead to your culinary dream is maximizing your storage. Our design approach begins with figuring out which tools and gadgets the cook will be using most, and making sure they are accessible within arm’s reach. Rarely-used items can be stored in low or high cabinets that require bending down or a step-stool.
The secret to storage is using your vertical space wisely. We take the upper cabinets all the way up to the ceiling in small kitchens, and are methodical about the types of cabinets we choose. How many drawers are needed? How many shelves? What exactly needs to be stored in each? We work with expert cabinet makers to ensure we take advantage of the specific styles available to maximize the guts of the cabinetry.
For example, we are currently designing a kitchen remodel in a small home located in Broad Ripple. The homeowner is an avid cook and was asking about how we could include a good-sized pantry in his new space. His existing 24” deep pantry is not helpful as the items in the back get lost. We plan to install fold-out cabinet inserts instead which will triple the amount of available storage and keep all items within sight.
Other opportunities to customize the insides of cabinetry include sliding inserts that allow for double storage in utensil drawers, vertically-oriented spice racks that nest within a bank of cabinets, appliance-specific cabinets such as those for standing mixers, and pull out shelving which really helps with the scary stuff hidden under your sink. There is no dead space allowed in a small kitchen!
Designing for a Small Bathroom
Americans love their large, spa-inspired bathrooms. However, we can create a similar feeling of serenity in a small bathroom as well. The key again is understanding how you function in the space. Do you need a lot of drawers or does shelving work better for your morning and evening rituals? What size bottles do you tend to use? Do you need to store hair dryers, curling irons, electric shavers, etc.? Just like for a kitchen, there are specialty cabinet options designed to address bathroom storage needs. Creating a logical place for all your accouterments will make your time in the space more enjoyable.
One space homeowners tend to forget about in the bathroom is within the walls. Updated medicine cabinets can be installed into a wall, offering additional hidden shelving space. We can also build open shallow shelving into a wall, or create niches in a shower.
Unlike in a large space, you may have to weigh the importance of the amenities you would like in your small bathroom. If there is a tub in another bathroom in the house, you may want to opt for a large shower instead of having both. If soaking is a large part of your life, then creating a shower/bath design may be a better route. Finally, if you plan to stay in the house for a long time, we suggest planning for the future by adding elements that accommodate limited mobility as you age.
Creating a Beautiful Small Home:
Being comfortable in your smaller space is not just about functionality—the style has to suit you as well. Whether a home “looks right” or not has a lot to do with scale. The furniture you purchased for your large home will most likely not suit the smaller space. With the popularity of tiny homes has come a growth in the amount of “apartment-sized” furniture. Take advantage of these options to ensure your space does not look too full.
In a large space, there is more room for superfluous pieces of furniture—pieces that you love but are not necessarily comfortable. In a small home, each item has an important role both stylistically and functionally. It is important to choose your furniture carefully, maximizing comfort and usability. Your interior designer will be able to find the perfect pieces to support both your style and the way you live.
Choosing color wisely can help you space feel more comfortable as well. Lighter colors and tonal schemes allow the walls to recede, making a room feel more spacious. Then you can add pops of color for visual interest without creating a claustrophobic feeling.
Finally, another secret to designing a beautiful small home is to take advantage of multi-functional furniture. For example, there are console tables that have flip up table tops that can be used as another dining table or activity space when needed. We also love to include ottomans in small spaces for their opportunities to create visual interest, but also as extra seating.
At Hoskins Interior Design, we believe good design is always important, but it is especially crucial to the success of small homes. You have fewer options and less opportunity to implement your design scheme, so each element must be carefully planned. We are enjoying the growth in smaller living. The challenges these projects offer have made our problem-solving and creative skills even better. We’d love to help you design your space, large or small. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317. 253.8986.
Undertaking a Remodeling or New Construction Project? Interior Designers Help You Make the Most of Your Investment
When you are undertaking a home remodel or a new construction project, you are committing to spend a large amount of money regardless of whether you end up with a home you love. With the minimal investment in a quality interior designer you can help ensure your expenditure of time, effort and money results in a space that suits your style and the way you live.
The fact is that contractors are in the business of implementing your ideas, not helping you develop them. Tapping into the expertise of a talented interior designer allows you to make the most of your home investment. Most homeowners have not undertaken a large building project, and do not know the ins and outs of designing a home for the functionality they need and the look they want. They do not know the questions to ask, or what is possible. Partnering with an interior designer opens a world of ideas and options that turn a project from passable to incredible.
Define Your Style:
Interior designers will work with you to define your style, sharing images that ensure you are using similar vocabulary. Light blue to you may mean something completely different to someone else. Imagery creates a common language between you and your designer, keeping you on the same page. Once a style has been chosen, you designer will research the available options, tapping into their wealth of trade-only resources and experience.
Most of us work with a budget, and interior designers will help you set priorities on where to put your money and where to save money. Allocating your resources wisely ensures you get what you want in all aspects of your project. Click here to read more about how we helped one of our clients bring high style to a room for a small portion of their remodeling budget.
Focus on Functionality:
Functionality is the root of whether you will enjoy living in your home. Through discussions, site visits or blue prints, your designer will uncover the storage, flow, conveniences and other function-based aspects you need to be comfortable. Their experience in use of space, coupled with knowledge of what is possible, ensures you end up with a design that supports your way of life. Why remodel or build with a cookie-cutter design when for a small investment you can create a home custom-designed for you?
Stay on Track:
The idea of a newly designed space is exciting, and it is easy to get distracted by all of the beautiful options when you are shopping for materials, furniture, lighting, etc. Interior designers work with you to develop a design concept based on not only how you live in your home, but also the look you desire. Then, it is their job to keep you on track toward achieving that plan, steering you away from items that will not support your intentions. In other words, they keep you from making costly impulsive decisions that in the end you will not be happy with!
One of the most difficult aspects of choosing the elements within a design concept is scale. Many homeowners buy furniture that is too big or lighting that is too small. When a design seems to “not work”, it many times has to do with inappropriate scale. Once the furniture, lighting and accessories are delivered, it is usually too late to change your mind. Interior designers are experts in scale and space, and can guide you to buy the correct items the first time.
What to Look For in an Interior Designer:
It is important to do your homework before you hire an interior designer. Creating a home is an intensely personal experience. You want to make sure you bring in a partner that you enjoy, who listens, and who has the experience you need. The following are some qualities to look for when choosing an interior designer:
1) Project experience – Have they worked on your kind of project before, both in type and quality? If you are looking to craft a high-end home, you will need an interior designer who has access to the quality of materials you expect.
2) Proven Team Player – Do they work well as a team with architects and contractors? What is their reputation among the building and remodeling community?
3) Defined Process and Philosophy – Are they able to articulate how they work and their approach to design? Understanding both of these aspects give you a glimpse into what you can expect up front.
4) Capacity – Do they have the time and staff to support the size of your project? You do not want your designer to be the cause of delays!
5) Personality – Do you think you can work with this person and their team on a daily basis for potentially months on end?
6) Portfolio – Do you like their previous work? At Hoskins Interior Design, we work with the philosophy that a designer should not have one look; rather, they should be skilled at creating a home that reflects their clients’ sensibilities, regardless of style.
7) Resources – Do they have a broad network of rich relationships that allow them access to the materials, products and services you need? Skilled designers have a network that has been built on good work and trust.
Having an expert guide you through a remodeling or new construction process offers many benefits; avoiding costly mistakes, designing for how you live, and opening your mind to the possibilities are just a few of them. For example, we are currently working with a homeowner and his kitchen contractor on a kitchen remodel. Our client is being asked “what do you want” and he does not really know his style or what the possibilities are for his home. By bringing us into the project, we are helping him make the most of his investment while giving him a home tailored to his style and how he lives. He feels he is making a wise investment by hiring an expert and advocate to help him with his remodel, and we agree!
Looking for help with your home remodeling or new construction project? Send us an email or give us a call at 317-253-8986.
Does this situation sound familiar? You have purchased your dream home which, when you found it, seemed to work perfectly for the previous owners. However, now that you are moved in and living your daily life in the space, something is just not right. Although there is plenty of room, it does not seem to work for your family. The problem is that the functionality offered by your home does not suit how you live. We have some tips on how to rework your existing home so it supports you and your family’s way of life.
1) Design for Flow – Before you start placing furniture or adding cabinetry, examine how people move through your home. How does your family enter? Where do they either drop their stuff as they come in or go looking for it as they leave? Designing each space for the way it is used will make your home much more functional. If your family enters the home at the end of the day straight into a laundry room, create an arrival center for mail and keys rather than relying on the kitchen counter to capture the mess. Go beyond adding lockers for your kids’ back packs and boots by giving them a spot for sports equipment or instrument storage. If your family likes to hang out in the kitchen doing homework or chatting with the cook, create a comfortable place for them to sit out of the way of the workspace. Do you have a pet that needs to go outside even in wet and muddy conditions? Create an entry point conducive to easy clean up. Thinking through how those living in your home will move through it will help you eliminate functionality frustration.
2) Organize for Tasks – Living comfortably in a home means it supports the activities you need or like to do in it. Planning and designing for those routine tasks is the key to achieving this goal. If homework is usually completed at the kitchen island, install good lighting and outlets for electronic devices. It may be that your traditional home office cannot accommodate everyone who works from home so a second workspace needs to be created. Cooking as a family is much more fun if there are multiple workspaces available. Understanding how you live in your home can help you uncover areas that need to be reworked to accommodate your needs.
3) Manage the Mess – Few of us are organized at every moment of our lives. It is easy for papers and mail to stack up and to-do piles to grow. Gadgets seem to make up more and more of the clutter in kitchens and family rooms. At Hoskins Interior Design, we have many tricks to help homeowners manage the everyday mess. For example, custom cabinetry can be a lifesaver for a family with one neatnik and one slob. Placing papers, keys, phone charging stations and mail behind cabinet doors allows the “not-so-organized” organization to be hidden from view yet remain easily accessible. For the home chef who has many gadgets, appliance garages can make better use of counter space and help keep the kitchen from looking like a department store.
There is no need to remain frustrated with your space. Creating the functionality necessary to support your way of life is part of making a home your own! The designers at Hoskins Interior Design are experts in designing efficient, beautiful living spaces. We’d love to help you live happily and comfortably in your home. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317-253-8986.