The first five years I lived in our cottage is not something I reflect on with warm fuzzy feelings. I cried many tears over the lack of storage, the abundance of "stuff", and the inability to make our space work. All I talked about was getting out... because I believed I would be happier if I had more room to put our stuff. Granted, 1,000 sq feet isn't tiny, but when you throw three people and three businesses in the mix (with no garage or storage) the walls cave in rather quickly.
A year ago something switched in me. I am an interior designer who loves challenges and rather than seeing my home through the eyes of a challenge, I had viewed it as a problem... A problem I had to get rid of. Suddenly I saw my home as my newest project and a fun challenge. As I started making our space work for us, my husband jumped on board and got excited about making our home work, and work well. Our mindset has changed. We no longer want to leave our home, but rather add on a little square footage in the future. We have learned so much and I can't wait to share some of these tips with you!
Tip #1 : Change your Attitude
The biggest change in making our home a more joy-filled space was my attitude. Once I viewed my home as a challenge I found contentment again. The saying is true, "If mama ain't happy, nobody's happy." My bad attitude was putting a dark cloud over our home. Once that cloud was gone, our home changed into a happier and more loving household.
photo taken by Designs by Tonya
Tip #2: Think Outside the Box
I became remise for years that our little home wasn't going to allow me to have certain design elements I badly wanted because of our size constraints. My first big change was with our piano. I realized while I may not have a mantel to decorate for the seasons, my piano provided a blank canvas to decorate that's even larger than a mantel. That was an absolute breakthrough for me! Second became the challenge of incorporating a coffee bar into our home (this wasn't all for looks, it was also a functionality issue). That's when my husband had the bright idea of turning our antique record player (that wasn't functioning for us) into a coffee bar and moving shelving from our living room over the coffee bar so I could display our antiques and I could have greenery on our kitchen walls (greenery is key in every corner of our home). That was a game changer. After those first out-of-the-box changes happened, our home began falling into place. Neither items are being used for their intended purpose, but they are now serving our family and providing for our current wants and needs.
Tip #3: Don't Underestimate Curtains
What I am about to tell you changed the entire feel of our space. Our home felt choppy and the ceilings felt low (because they are), but with this simple tip we were able to make our living room feel so much larger. It is simple... add curtains that go to your ceiling and go 6-8" outside of your window. The height will make your ceilings feel taller and going outside of your windows will make your windows look larger and will add in more light. It's a win-win-win! There are so many other ways to make your home feel larger (and I'll share those later) but this is my top tip to all my clients. Don't underestimate those curtains!!
photo || Rules of Scale