Whether you call them tiny homes, small spaces, or micro dwellings, compact living is here to stay.

If you’re considering moving into a bijou abode, design is going to play a big part in making the space liveable. But where do you start? Right here, with our article on maximising your small space with thoughtful design.

Let’s find out more.

The concept of compact living

The notion of compact living has gracefully transitioned from a mere trend to a lifestyle embraced by many. 

The essence of compact living is not merely confined to the physical dimensions of a dwelling but extends to a philosophy that champions efficiency, simplicity, and mindful living.


The rise of small-space living in the UK


Urbanisation, a phenomenon sweeping across the globe, has left a distinct imprint on the UK’s housing landscape. 

Cities, with their vibrancy and multitude of opportunities, have drawn populations into their buzzing embrace, subsequently propelling demand for housing that starkly outweighs supply. This imbalance has not only escalated property prices but also paved the way for smaller, more economical living spaces to become the norm. The concept of downsizing, once perceived with a degree of scepticism, has now blossomed into a movement, with more individuals and families opting for homes that may be limited in space but are abundant in charm and potential. 

The motivations steering this shift are multifaceted, encompassing financial considerations, an aspiration for a simpler lifestyle, and often, a conscious decision to reduce one’s carbon footprint.

Benefits of compact living

Economic advantages


Compact homes, with their reduced square footage, generally come with a smaller price tag and ongoing maintenance costs. This economic efficiency extends to utility bills, where heating a smaller space invariably consumes less energy and incurs lower expenses. 

For homeowners, this translates to financial breathing space, enabling them to allocate funds towards other aspects of their lives, such as travel, education, or investments.


Environmental impact


Smaller spaces, when designed thoughtfully, inherently require less energy for heating and cooling, thereby reducing the dwelling’s carbon footprint. 

Moreover, compact living often demands a mindful approach towards consumption, encouraging residents to purchase only what is needed and thus, indirectly promoting a lifestyle that is considerably less taxing on our planet.


Simplified lifestyle


Embracing a compact living space often heralds a decluttering of not just physical possessions but also, metaphorically, one’s life. The limited space necessitates intentional choices about what to keep and what to discard, prompting a way of living that prioritises quality over quantity. 

This simplicity can inadvertently foster a tranquil living environment, where every item has a purpose and a place.

Design principles for small spaces

Beginning your journey of compact living invites the exciting challenge of marrying aesthetics with functionality, particularly in the realm of interior design. Small spaces, while they may have certain limitations, also offer a unique canvas to showcase creativity and ingenuity. 

Here, we explore key design principles that can transform a compact space into a haven that is both stylish and practical.




In the realm of compact living, every square inch is precious. Thus, embracing furniture and designs that serve dual (or multiple) purposes can be a game-changer.


Furniture that doubles up in function 

Invest in pieces that offer more than meets the eye - think sofa beds, extendable dining tables, or ottomans that provide storage space. These multifaceted items not only save space but also offer flexible solutions to accommodate varied needs and situations.


Convertible spaces 

Consider designs that allow a single space to transition seamlessly between different functions. For instance, a wall-mounted drop-leaf table can serve as a workspace during the day and transform into a dining area in the evening.


Light and colour


The strategic use of light and colour can dramatically alter the perception of space, creating an illusion of expansiveness even within limited confines.


Using light to enhance space 

Natural light can be a small space’s best friend. 

Using sheer curtains, mirrors, and reflective surfaces can amplify natural light, making the room appear larger and more inviting. For artificial lighting, opt for fixtures that provide ample light without consuming floor space, such as wall sconces or pendant lights.


Colour schemes that expand visual space 

Light, neutral colours tend to recede visually, making the room feel more spacious. Use a palette of soft whites, creams, and pastels to enhance the sense of openness. 

Introduce pops of colour through accessories or a feature wall to inject personality without overwhelming the space.


Vertical space utilisation


When floor space is at a premium, look upwards. Using vertical space not only provides additional storage solutions but also draws the eye skywards, creating an illusion of height.


Wall-mounted storage solutions 

Incorporate shelving, hooks, and wall-mounted cabinets to store and display items without encroaching on the floor area. This could include bookshelves, spice racks, or even a vertical garden to bring in a touch of nature.


Elevated furniture designs 

Consider furniture that sits off the floor, such as wall-mounted desks or floating bed frames. This not only provides additional storage space beneath but also contributes to a lighter, airier aesthetic.

Room-by-room design strategies

Working your way through the design intricacies of each room in a compact home requires a tailored approach, ensuring that every space, despite its size, radiates both functionality and style. 

Let’s delve into strategic design tips for various rooms, ensuring each area is optimised to its fullest potential.


Living room


The living room, often considered the heart of the home, should exude warmth and be inviting, all while being a model of smart, space-efficient design.


Furniture arrangement 

Opt for furniture that is proportional to the size of the room. Consider sleek, low-profile pieces and be mindful of the traffic flow, ensuring that the arrangement allows for ease of movement.


Decor tips 

Utilise wall art, plants, and decorative items judiciously to add personality without cluttering the space. Remember, a few well-chosen pieces can make a statement without overwhelming the room.




A sanctuary for rest, the bedroom should encapsulate tranquillity and organisation, even more crucial when dealing with limited space.


Bed size and placement 

Choose a bed size that complements the room’s dimensions and place it in a way that maximises available floor space. Consider options with under-bed storage or lofted beds to make the best use of vertical space.


Wardrobe management 

Go for wardrobe solutions that maximise storage while minimising footprint, such as sliding doors or built-in units. Implementing organisational tools inside the wardrobe can also enhance storage efficiency.




The kitchen, a hub of activity and culinary creativity, should be designed to facilitate ease of use and efficient storage.


Storage solutions 

Install cabinetry that reaches the ceiling to maximise storage and consider pull-out shelves for easier access. Place internal organisers within drawers and cabinets to ensure every inch is used effectively.


Appliance arrangement 

Choose appliances that suit your needs and space. Consider compact or multi-functional appliances and ensure they are placed to make a smooth workflow within the kitchen possible.




In the bathroom, the challenge lies in managing numerous items and maintaining a serene, uncluttered environment.


Using mirrors and transparent materials 

Incorporate large mirrors and transparent materials, like glass shower enclosures, to open up the space visually and enhance the available light.


Organising bath essentials 

Implement smart storage solutions, such as over-the-door organisers, recessed shelving, or wall-mounted baskets, to store essentials without encroaching on the limited space.

From tiny homes to massive mansions, Petty Son and Prestwich should be your first choice of estate agent if you’re looking to move home in or around the capital.

Established back in 1908, Petty’s has been in operation for well over a century. Our knowledgeable team of experts are always on hand to help you with your property needs. 

Give our sales team a call today to find out how we can help you make your next move, be it big or small.

Article By: Kinga Masianis

Kinga has been in sales since she was 17 and she already has both Negotiator and Sales Progression qualifications under her belt. She is bilingual, has a weakness for chocolate, and cites Robins Pie & Mash and The Cuckfield as her favourite Wanstead haunts.

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