While some people still subscribe to the “bigger is better” mantra, for many custom-home designers, this is the age of small homes. Despite a smaller space, there’s plenty of room for movement. We show you how to make the most of it with 3 timber home space savers.


1. Create open space.

Load up on multipurpose rooms: a family or game room; a great room with combined space for living, dining and cooking; and a loft that doubles as a guest bedroom are popular spaces to expand square footage while combining functions. This design strategy is collectively called “open planning,” because it eliminates unnecessary interior walls, which also helps reduce cost.

Lars-232. Don’t waste space.

Two of the most notorious space-hogging offenders are formal living and dining rooms. Why? Nobody uses them! They just become extra spaces to furnish and clean. Think practically to avoid creating the ill-fated dust-gathering room.

3. Focus on the kitchen.

Everybody congregates in the kitchen. Cooking and eating are very social activities, so an eat-in kitchen is a typical wish-list contender. If you frequently host parties, groom your kitchen for this type of activity by installing two dishwashers and two sinks to lessen the amount of time you spend on cleanup. A large pantry for additional storage is another good use of space.

Small & Savvy

“I advise my clients to build a house that’s one-third smaller than what they’d planned, but just as expensive,” says Sarah Suzanka, architect and author of The Not So Big House book series. “The extra money can go into quality, character and style.”

Ways to Downsize

  • Know how much space you really need.
  • Ditch the rooms you never use. (Anything with “formal” in the name can go.)
  • Reduce the size of architectural elements such as the hearth or staircase.
  • Incorporate smart storage beneath the stairs or in unexposed trusses.