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How a tiny house lifestyle can help de-stress the rest of us.

There are essentials to a tiny house design that can make any size house a bit happier.

I’m not ready to live in a tiny house. And if you are like me, you might wonder how it’s possible to really live happily inside a very small space.

Small can mean anything to anyone. To me, small is around 500 square feet. The smallest dwelling I know about is Jack Leahy’s $450/month 40-square-foot apartment tucked into a ceiling of a performance space in Brooklyn, NY.

While my version of tiny is different than yours or Jack’s, we can agree that small means a more minimal lifestyle than most of us are accustomed to living. Even if you aren’t embracing a more minimalist lifestyle at your home, there are design solutions to living happily inside a tiny house that can help all of us.

Color. The easiest way to transform a space is with color. One design solution for a small space is to use the same color as most everything. As soon as you introduce a new color, you are breaking the eye’s ‘line’ and each time your line is broken, the small space can look smaller. So using the same color floor and wall and ceiling, with the major furniture and cabinet elements the same hue, will make any space seem more expansive. And it will create a greater sense of calm, too.

Shine. Just because you are designing small, don’t forget to shine. It’s a classic design solution to bring in mirrors to create a grander space, but you can also use décor elements like vases and art, mixed with arms of chairs or tables in a metallic finish. The reflective quality against a one-note hue will create even greater expansiveness. And metallics elevate any space to feel more expensive.

Scale. Large items may seem like a giant no-no in a small space. And, yes, in general that is true. It is ok to use one large scaled item like a huge clock or feature wall or an unusual chair. The trick is to keep it to just one item. Small spaces can feel extremely miniscule if you have overstuffed couches and chairs combined with a giant TV and large wall art. If a cave-feel is what you desire, yes, go big everywhere.

Order. The most challenging part of embracing the tiny lifestyle is all of that ‘stuff’ we own. Keeping a tight reign on the amount of items on a shelf or inside a cubby can be difficult when we are so used to having so much in our homes. But, with minimizing the amount of items we own, there is great relief and lightness that happens. There is less to clean, keep in working order, and there is less to declutter, if we keep a firm handle on the stuff.