10 ideas to enlarge a small house

To enlarge a small house, we present 10 design ideas for your consideration. Follow them to make your small house seem more accessible, inviting and larger than it really is.

First take a look at two examples, one cottage and one house on wheels, and see their spacious appeal. What are they doing?

Mad Men actor Vincent Kartheiser lives in a 580 square foot home, in Los Angeles. His great room is used for working, dining and sleeping. The bed lowers from a high ceiling, and its headboard doubles as a desk. (Dwell)

Mad Men actor Vincent Kartheiser lives in a 580 square foot home, in Los Angeles. His great room is used for working, dining and sleeping. The bed lowers from a high ceiling, and its headboard doubles as a desk. (Dwell)

 At 130 square feet, this Tumbleweed tiny house feels open with a pitched roofline and windows. It has separate kitchen and great room areas. Book this Olympia, WA house for a night, from Brittany Yunker. (Bayside Bungalow)

At 130 square feet, this Tumbleweed tiny house feels open with a pitched roofline and windows. It has separate kitchen and great room areas. Book this Olympia, WA house for a night, from Brittany Yunker. (Bayside Bungalow)

10 design ideas for small houses 

In Fine Homebuilding magazine, Architect Russell Hamlet identifies 10 big ideas that enlarge and improve a small house. Here are key takeaways:

  1. Include an outdoor room — build outside the house, to make a major impact on how your home feels inside.
  2. Invest space in transitions — plan transitions ranging from stairs, hallways and balconies to beams and different ceilings.
  3. Use contrasts in light and color — place light in the foreground with slightly darker areas in the background to create perspective.
  4. Create contrast with scale — vary the scale of objects and elements from larger than normal to smaller than normal.
  5. Organize the house into distinct zones — create the impression that it contains multiple rooms and spatial domains.
  6. Develop multiple orientations — use windows to vary the focus from nearby features to distant horizons.
  7. Accentuate the dimensions — maximize sight lines, to extend space beyond its perceived boundaries.
  8. Put illusion to work — manipulate the scale of objects; design a space that beckons visitors into an area.
  9. Use thick edges and built-ins — try counter tops, window jambs and door thresholds to give the impression of strength.
  10. Include multipurpose rooms — combine different activities that occur at dif-
    ferent times in the same space.

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