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.
From a functional and stylistic view, lighting is one of the most important aspects of an interior design scheme. Appropriate illumination is needed for different tasks and different times of the day. Also, decorative lighting is like artwork or sculpture for your home. It is usually placed within your line of sight and tends to be the first thing visitors notice, making the quality of your fixtures central to the look of your home.
Since it plays such a large role in the success of our designs, we work with the contractor on a new build or remodeling project to manage the whole house lighting design. Many times we end up making many changes to the original design to reflect the planned functional and stylistic needs of the space. We also prepare our clients for the real cost of lighting; when you are building or remodeling a home, you should plan to spend a minimum of 2.5% of the total value of the home on lighting. Since these elements are illuminated, and therefore immediately draw the eye, it is quite apparent when your lighting scheme is not done well. Why diminish a gorgeous design you are already investing in by holding back on this vital piece? Admittedly, we sometimes have to convince our clients to increase or rearrange their budget to accommodate quality lighting, but in the end they always thank us. When the project is complete and every visitor comments first on the lighting, its central role in the overall design becomes crystal clear.
Here are some ideas to consider when creating a whole house lighting design:
Develop a Plan: The key to success in whole house lighting is balance. Mixing the general illumination of recessed canned lighting with task and decorative lighting is what creates the ambiance of your home. Consider how you will live in each space and develop a lighting plan that suits your needs. Take into account the overall look of your home as well. Is there a special piece of art you want illuminated? Have you created a design feature you want to highlight? If you are not consulting with an experienced interior designer, work with a qualified lighting specialist to ensure your lighting plan is going to achieve what you need. Functionality, safety, and aesthetics are all a part of that process.
Create a Cohesive Look: Just like other design elements, it is important to keep the look of your lighting fixtures cohesive throughout your house. Classic lighting styles are your best investment if you plan to keep your home, as there will be less need to change it over time. However, if you want to try trendy, go for it! Just understand that you will be changing it out as styles evolve. Cohesive does not mean the same -mix different types of fixtures! Chandeliers, sconces, pendants, flush mount, semi flush, track lighting, canned lighting, art lights – have some fun with your options.
Scale Can Make or Brake the Success of Your Design: We talk about scale in almost every blog post we write, because it is usually the reason why something seems “wrong” with a room. Because quality lighting can be expensive, some homeowners will purchase pieces that are too small for the space. We draw all fixtures into our design schemes, ensuring they will complement rather than underwhelm. When you are weighing your options, also consider how scale will relate to functionality and space: does the fixture have enough wattage for your needs? Does it give off light where you need it to go? Unfortunately, the prettiest ones may not be the best choice when weighing all of your needs.
Add Dimmers to All of Your Switches: Adding dimmers to each piece of lighting allows you to control the mood of your space. Have you ever realized that you need more light during the day than at night? Daytime tends to be the most active time in a home. But once dinner and early evening busyness is over, we dim or turn off the lights to create a relaxing atmosphere. Note: There are special considerations with adding dimmers so make sure they are reflected in your lighting plan.
At Hoskins Interior Design, we firmly believe in “no more boring lighting”! There is no need for your lighting to look like everyone else’s when you are working with an experienced designer with access to trade-only resources. Lighting warehouses and websites are overwhelming, and we find that many homeowners end up choosing fixtures they really do not like. Because we understand the many details behind what makes a fixture the right choice, we are able to lead you through your options toward those that fit your design. Your lighting needs to match the style of the home you are creating. If you are investing in quality design, architecture, materials, and furniture, your lighting should follow suit.
Questions on how to create a beautiful and functional whole house lighting plan? Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.253.8986.