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10 Tips for Small Homes

Smaller can offer big rewards.
by Editorial staff

10 Tips for Small Homes

1. Set your priorities. Just because you reduce square footage doesn’t mean designing a Lilliputian house. Keep your living room, kitchen and master bedroom large enough to make living in your log home enjoyable. Economize elsewhere.

2. Keep it simple. Stick as closely as possible to the basic rectangle and avoid complicated rooflines with multiple dormers. But include embellishments that help overcome monotony. Inside, avoid hallways. Let rooms flow directly from one to the other.

3. Keep it light. Windows should be in proportion to the rest of the house, but aim to admit as much daylight as possible. Use skylights to add light that will visually enlarge interior space.

4. Open up. Keep living areas open and sleeping areas cozy. The great room concept will let each area borrow space from the other and share windows. A cathedral ceiling will make a small log cabin living area seem much larger.

5. Make rooms do double duty. A guest bedroom can double as a home office. You can set up a computer desk in the corner of a kitchen.

6. Make space count. Be ingenious in planning storage space. Use full-height cabinets. Use space under stairs and the eaves in loft areas. Consider an attic with a pull-down stair.

7. Avoid a loft. It requires a staircase and uses floor space on two levels.

8. Add a basement. It’s great for storage, as well as mechanical systems and a washer-dryer.

9. Forgo the fireplace. A smaller gas or wood-burning stove will provide efficient heat and a charming look that will be better suited to a smaller home.

10. Include the outdoors. Porches and decks can extend your living space. Even in bad weather, they will make the rooms inside seem more substantial. Also, landscaping can make the home seem larger by making the building and the yard flow together.


Comment Feed

4 Responses

  1. We have a 600 square foot cabin with a loft. We avoided the steps by having a custom ladder installed to access the loft, after the final inspection.
    Before the inspection, the loft had a railing and an opening in the rail, and was called “storage”. We have a bar system that can be placed when people go to bed upstairs in the loft, that would keep anyone from rolling out. It works great and there is minimal floor space interruption with the ladder steps.

  2. Great idea Jane and one we used on our “Yukon” model mini cabin. We have 5 new models to choose from and they are getting a lot of attention. From hunting cabin, lakeside to just starting out or folks wanting to downsize. There are a lot of reasons someone would want a mini cabin. or facebook Hunter Log Homes. We also design from scratch according to our customers ideas.

  3. Nos. 7 & 8:
    (7. Avoid a loft. It requires a staircase and uses floor space on two levels.
    8. Add a basement. It’s great for storage, as well as mechanical systems and a washer-dryer.)
    seem to contradict one another–unless, of course, basement access is moved to outside the living space. A stair is of some kind still needed to access a basement–especially with a laundry basket in your hands…

    I typically avoid both OR include both–depending, of course, on soil conditions that would make a basement feasible.

    Mira Jean SteinbrecherOctober 3, 2013 @ 8:45 pmReply
  4. These tips are great, and very refreshing. It’s nice to get a dose of small home insight after years of looking at dreamy McMansion log and timber homes and trying to figure out where they could be cut down into something more realistic. Thanks again!

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