Whether because of a small lot, a restricted budget or an intentional lifestyle choice to live more simply and leave a smaller environmental footprint, many of us are living better lives by taking advantage of small home designs.
Hiring an architect and design firm to create a custom-designed home for you and your family can cost thousands, but there are many books and other resources available that offer small home designs and narrow-lot house plans. One of the designs available is probably perfect for you — or could be perfect with only a few modifications.
No matter what resources you consult, however, keep the following pieces of advice in mind when considering small house plans:
Try to choose a small home design that keeps the bedrooms apart. For the sake of privacy, you don’t want your own bedroom next to the guest bedroom or a child’s room. Putting bedrooms on opposite sides of the home or one upstairs and another downstairs are great ideas if you can find a design that allows for this.
Use a narrow-lot house plan or small house plan that includes high ceilings for a feeling of spaciousness. Taller rooms often feel larger unless they are very narrow, so keep height in mind when choosing a small home design. Check the plans for the height of the roof or plate beam to see how much headroom is provided.
Include as much outdoor living space as you can in your new home. In most places, there are at least a few months every year when the temperature outside is perfect for living outdoors, but allow some money in your budget to solve those issues that keep you from taking full advantage of outdoor space. That means installing awnings to limit the sun in your Texas yard and umbrellas and covered spaces to keep the London or Seattle rain at bay. Structures to block wind and comfortable outdoor furniture are two more things that make outdoor spaces more useful.
Consider carefully the number of bathrooms and their placement. Plumbing is one of the most expensive utilities to install in a home, so having only one bathroom saves a lot of money. Adding a half bath off the living space could replace a second bathroom. Locating bathrooms side by side or back to back also reduces costs.
Commit to a complete lifestyle change before you move in. Living in a small space involves more than just choosing the best option from among the small home designs in a book. You have to adjust to a new way of living that involves fewer possessions, less clutter (since there aren’t as many places to hide it) and a simpler way of living overall.
Whether you’re turning to a smaller home by choice or because of necessity, taking advantage of existing small home designs can save you time, money and hassles if you consider a few things along the way and make the decision to enjoy your home, no matter how small it is.
Narrow-lot house plans and small home designs are easy to find — and they’re easy to live with when you’re prepared for a new and exciting way of life that makes the best of what you have.