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Modern houses seem to be getting smaller and smaller these days and, with increasing restrictions on home-buyer finances, we can’t all afford the big house of our dreams straight away. The super cool thing is that even small spaces can be utilized effectively to make your home work better for your family. If you have a few smaller rooms in your house that you feel are being wasted, try this guide to making the most of your space and give them a much-needed makeover.

This may seem like an obvious point but you’d be surprised by how many people get it wrong. Lighter shades of colour such as pastels and neutral tones can do wonders for a small space and make it seem much bigger. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have any strong colours in your room; it just means that you have to think a bit more carefully about how much of it you put in.

You may think that a small room equals small furniture but that isn’t always the case. Some rooms, such as living rooms, can really benefit from one larger piece of furniture made into a feature. A large sofa for example, placed in the centre of a room, can draw focus away from the overall size and make the room cosy rather than cramped. Just remember to balance any patterns you may have – go with a plain sofa and patterned wallpaper, or vice versa. Two different patterns together will look messy and make your room look much smaller than it is.

Windows play an important role in making a room appear bigger than it is so make the most of yours. If you are lucky enough to have a large window, ensure that you let in as much light as possible using a roller blind or drapes from The Shade Store. Anything that you can roll up right to the top of your window and let in the maximum amount of light is ideal if you want to increase the light in your room. If you have smaller windows then see if you can place a mirror opposite or to one side. This will reflect whatever light you do get and bounce it back into the room.

While one piece of statement furniture can make small rooms look bigger, too much stuff can make it cluttered and cramped. If your room is small then think about what is essential and what isn’t. Anything that doesn’t need to be in the room should be taken out to allow as much room to move about in as you need. (Editor’s note: in our home, taking out clutter is also a great defensive technique. Boys. I’m just sayin’.) Alternatively, under-bed storage boxes can be a life saver if you have limited bedroom space.

If you need to have furniture such as dining tables in your smaller room then look for one with a drop edge in order to maximize your space when it is not in use. Drop leaves, as they are known, or retractable sections let you make the most out of your space. Additionally, coffee and side tables that slot into each other can also provide you with added wiggle room when not all of them are required.

By utilizing those small spaces, you’ll make the house feel bigger. This reduces stress and makes everything more workable and (dare I say it??) harmonious.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to make the most of their homes.