Compact-living and Tiny Houses are the trend. The thing is, today, small spaces are still a choice by default and not a voluntary one. Most of the time, it’s the prices of real estate that command and we find ourselves having to adapt rather than exalt. We tell ourselves that this will not stop us from living, just to make some sacrifices.
And reflection stops there: space is small, we can’t do much, we must adapt. Period.
So we fill up with our things, we make sure to get everything inside, we apply well-known decoration principles, reputed for their efficiency (white color makes spaces look bigger) and the business seems settled. In reality, it results in a 2-0 match for the apartment: an extremely limited or non-existent customization coupled with a saturated or even confused space.
It’s therefore easy to conclude that living in small is no piece of cake and there’s not really much to do to make it change. Because it seems that to change, there’s a need for room.
But what if we resumed from the beginning?
If we look closely at what’s written above, we can easily see that our constraints do not arise from small spaces themselves ... but from what we do with them. WE impose our things without prior thinking and WE apply general rules without much judgment. And that’s the mistake.
A very important rule with small spaces is not to impose anything, not to go head first on an idea we think is true.
To live pleasantly in a small space, one must apply the « win-win » principle.
1. Choose moderation
We enjoy to lounge in a good sofa to watch a TV series? It's possible without falling for the huge corner-sofa of 3 meters by 2. We love open kitchens? This doesn’t mean we need the bar and the 4 stools that go with it. We’d like to have a bathroom like at the hotel? It’s not yet wise to fall for a double-sink.
This obviously represents concessions at the beginning but which will prove rewarding by avoiding future regrets. Indeed, if there’s an actual frustration due to reduced space, the temptation to compensate by satisfying one of our "whims" at all costs will only make the situation worse : impossible to enjoy it and the frustration will get stronger. For this only reason, thinking about what our real priorities are is priceless. This will define the balance between what we want and what the space can give.
2. Freedom from eternal interdiction
On the contrary, we may tend to forbid everything. Whether it's layout, furniture or decoration, we'll forego some things because we'll assume it's impossible or unreasonable. Indeed, the reflex is usually to put some white furniture on a white background rather than be bold in creating the dreamed interior with the colors we adore. It’s only because we are obeying preconceived ideas, what is generally expected (a dishwasher in a 2 m² kitchen ? No way!) But it’s important to override these rules we believe to be imposed on us (and which can be biased sometimes: "white color makes spaces look bigger") and understand that in small spaces, nothing is forbidden. Once again, the connection needs to be a win-win: everything is possible if we seek a compromise between our core priorities and the capacity of the place to integrate them.
Living in small spaces will always be a challenge, but they are not a burden, if we are ready to make the right decisions to manage them. By establishing a dialogue between our desires and the possibilities offered by the place, a small space can become an incredible opportunity. The opportunity to simply feel at home, the opportunity to value the property we’ve invested in, and, you wouldn’t think about it, the opportunity to impress our relatives by the incredible use of space we’ve made! Indeed, believe it or not, between two spaces ingeniously arranged and decorated, it’s always the smallest that will be the most noticed!