top of page

How to Maximize the Space in Your Small Home


Wellington Builders | Renovations | Construction | Design & Architecture Services | Environmentally Conscious | Wellington Roofing & Waterproofing | Wellington Painters

Small home with lounge, kitchen, and bed in loft

Welcome to Orkney Group's blog! Are you facing the challenge of your current home becoming too small for your family? If you are struggling with limited space and need inspiration on how to maximize it, keep reading. We understand that living in a small home can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of methods to optimize limited space where you don’t have to compromise on style. In this post, we'll share 12 ways you can make the most of your small space and create a cozy and functional home. Let's get started!


Replacing regular doors with hanging doors will immediately make a huge difference. While it may not be the most cost-effective solution, the increase in floor space will have a big impact and won’t disrupt the layout of your furniture. A cavity slider (also known as “pocket doors”) is another option, however, this will likely have a structural impact on the wall and possibly under the door due to the increased opening size. It also means that you lose wall space for hanging pictures, etc.

Sliding door


This is kind of an obvious one, but if you have a loft or ceiling space in your home, consider converting it into extra storage space. If there’s more room in the budget, you could instead convert the space into another bedroom or office space (bear in mind that this could require building consent).


It's a good idea to have rooms that can change their purpose depending on what you need them for. If you have a spare room, you might want to think about getting a fold-out couch instead of a bed. That way, the room can be used for more than just sleeping when it's not being used as a bedroom.


There are many ways that paint can be used to create the illusion of a bigger space. One way is by consistently using the same colour - or slight tonal variations of the same colour - throughout a room (walls, ceilings, doors, etc.) to create an uninterrupted feel.

Most of us are aware that using lighter colours can enhance the size of a room. But this does not mean you can’t use colour in your small home! Every paint colour has a Light Reflective Value (LRV) that shows the amount of light that a surface reflects, compared to the amount of light that falls on that same surface. For example, black has an LRV of 0% which means that it absorbs all light and doesn’t reflect any. Shades of white, on the other hand, have an LRV of nearly 100%, meaning they reflect just about all light.

All that to say, look for colours that have a higher LRV percentage for your small home. Remember also that paint with a gloss finish reflects a lot more of the light that falls on it, so use it on kitchen cabinets, skirting boards, and window frames.

Dark colours can certainly still be used in a small home to create a cozy, intimate space but if it’s light and airy you want, we suggest sticking with lighter colours. However, using a dark colour on one wall can create a sense of it being farther away than it is because the depth of colour can make it difficult for the eyes to focus on.

Dark grey wall


If you want to create more space in a room, removing a wall is an effective way to do it (but you may need to address potential engineering issues and obtain consent). However, if you still need to divide the room for multiple functions, there are ways to do this. Partition walls with wheels can also be used as dividers, which can be easily pushed back when a larger room is needed. Curtains are another great option.


Speaking of curtains, another tip for making a small room look bigger is to hang ceiling-to-floor curtains. This will give the illusion of height as it draws your eyes upwards, and makes the room seem more spacious.


Glass is a versatile material that can be used to create the illusion of more space in a small home. It is perfect for front entrances as it allows more light in and can also be used for shelves, furniture (see final point) or banisters around the stairs. Mirrors also work well to make a space feel larger.

Glass balustrade beside stairs with storage beneath


Maximize the storage space in your home by utilizing unused areas like under the stairs or a kitchen alcove. These can be great to use as bookshelves or for storing other small items. If the space is large enough, you could transform it into a cozy reading nook.


Have you ever noticed the empty space above the cabinets in some houses? If it's within your budget, we recommend replacing those cabinets with custom-made ones that reach up to the ceiling. This will provide you with plenty of extra storage and make the room appear larger due to the additional height.

White kitchen with wooden floor


Using wall-hung light fixtures is another great space saver. Hanging bedside lights or fixing them to the wall gives you more space on the floor and tables.


Why not display your accessory collections on the wall? It’s a great cost-efficient, space-saving décor idea (think hats, bags, etc.) and if done well, can look like your own personal art installation.

Multiple hats hanging on a wall


We’ve left this one to the end because it has several bullet points of its own! Here are a few furniture tips:

1) Size

When you're decorating a small home, it's important to think about the size and amount of furniture you need. Choosing streamlined pieces instead of bulky ones can save space – and remember, less is more. Also, selecting furniture that sits lower to the ground can make the room look bigger. Don’t forget to choose furniture with exposed legs as this also helps give the feeling of more space. Oh, and one more thing - mount your TV on the wall.

2) Multi-purpose

Multi-purpose furniture such as ottomans that can be used for seating or as side tables are great space-savers. You may also want to consider having a couple of benches around the dining table (instead of dining chairs) that can double up on storage, and maybe a headboard with built-in shelving.

Cozy bed with cushions and shelving above it

3) Removable

If you have pieces of furniture that don’t get used often, maybe think about exchanging them for stackable or foldable items instead. For example, your big desk could be swapped for a hinged work surface that folds away after use – a modern take on a classic Murphy table. Stackable chairs and tables are also a good investment, as are rollaway islands (with storage beneath, of course!).

Small folding table below a window

4) Material

When it comes to material options for a small home, transparent materials such as glass, Lucite or Perspex are fantastic because they create the illusion of more space.

In conclusion, maximizing the space in a small home requires some creativity and smart solutions. By following the tips outlined in this blog, you can make the most of every inch of your home and create a functional and comfortable living space. Whether it's installing sliding doors, adding wall-mounted storage and lights, using multi-functional furniture, or getting creative with storage solutions, there are many ways to maximize the space in your home. Remember to keep it simple, keep it organised, and make sure everything has a place. With a little effort and planning, you can transform your small space into a stylish and functional home that meets all your needs.

If you’re looking for builders in Wellington who can assist with maximizing the space in your small home, call Orkney Group or contact us to see how we can make your home work better for you!


bottom of page