Home sizes for the average family grew over the course of the twentieth century, with families needing more and more space for storage, cooking, and living. However, many young people are looking for smaller homes in order to save money and reduce consumerism.
If you're currently living in a small home or looking to simplify by moving into a house with fewer square feet, then you might be concerned about the rooms feeling small instead of spacious. Part of the way a room feels depends on design, but a major factor in whether or not a small house is livable is the amount of light and visibility.
This is where mirrors and windows come into play. They hold the secret for making a small house feel like a larger home.
Expanding Visible Space
Many smaller homes that were built in decades past had smaller windows or stretches of wall with no glass at all. Natural light was not as important in post-war bungalow building, and it shows in these otherwise charming houses. The result, however, is that the home can feel closed in, especially when the ceilings are low.
The easiest way to solve this problem is to add more visible space to the room with mirrors. For example, if you have one small window in the dining room, you would place a large framed mirror on the opposite wall in order to reflect the light and the view of the window into the room again. You essentially double the effectiveness of the window for that room.
Mirrors are also great additions to long dark hallways or even for living rooms. Living rooms often have the largest front windows, but other walls are neglected. Use small and large mirrors on walls with pictures to help draw more attention to them and to bring light to more areas of the room. Using mirrors is especially effective for living rooms that are long with only one window.
Making the Most of Smaller Rooms
For other rooms, you need to get more creative. Bathrooms in small houses can be quite tight. If you renovate the bathroom, consider giving up the shower curtain for clear glass doors. These work for both showers and bathtubs.
If you don't take baths, you might consider removing the tub altogether and installing a larger shower with clear, frameless doors. The shower won't seem to take up as much space in the bathroom, making it seem much less crowded than it previously was. Using glass as a primary feature in smaller rooms helps to reduce the impact of furniture and large fixtures.
Another small area that people might have to deal with is a small office room. If you know the room will remain an office, you might consider putting in a door with glass panels instead of a solid, regular door. This way, you allow light from other areas of the house to enter the room, and you make the room seem more open. For privacy, you can use frosted glass or use a film.
If you are worried about your small house feeling dark or cramped, then you might even consider opening up a room by adding more windows, or by making existing window openings larger. Many homes have small windows, especially on the back or side walls, and these can reduce how much visibility and light you have in your home.
In kitchens, look for areas where you can install French doors instead of solid doors. In living rooms, check to see if you can't add another bank of windows to a wall, or even install a bay window instead of a flat front window to increase surface area for light.
Adding windows will give you a number of benefits, including:
- Reduced stress. Increased exposure to natural light has a calming effect, especially in the morning. In a small home, you might feel stressed if you start feeling restricted in a small room. Windows help to reduce that feeling.
- Better curb appeal. Homes with larger, fuller windows look better from the street and are more inviting. If you hope to sell your home down the road, then some larger windows can help draw buyers. Since not everyone looks for a smaller home, the windows make the home more marketable on the inside by increasing the sense of spaciousness.
- Better health. People who have more natural light exposure have lower blood pressure, better eyesight, and even sleep better. For people who prioritize simplicity, these added health benefits can bring even more purpose to your life.
If adding a window to a room is not possible, you might consider the possibility of adding a skylight. If your small home has a basement, then you may want to look into the possibility of installing a larger egress window to allow more light into basement living areas.
For more information on adding windows and mirrors to your small house, contact us at Valley Glass.