by Sara Costi
Compact, inviting, cosy, practical and functional, small homes are right back in fashion. Over the last 20 years, changes in demographics, lifestyles and habits in society have led to a growing demand for living spaces in big cities. As a result of rising property costs, smaller homes have also become the ideal solution for students, managers on business trips, or for those nearing retirement age and looking for a smaller house with lower running costs, while maintaining the conveniences of city life.
When we think of one-bedroom flats or small homes, we imagine those attractive little semis in Notting Hill, delightful little houses looking onto the ocean, tiny country cottages or romantic chalets.
With carefully chosen projects, an intelligent layout and the right materials, small homes can become versatile, functional and practical, as well as beautifully stylish and exquisitely designed.
When seeking to furnish a small home, the first thing to consider is the full amount of space available, in order to identify the structural strengths and architectural elements to make the most of, such as the height of the ceilings in relation to the surface of the floor, the size of the doors and windows, the layout of the rooms and how they are connected, and how the natural light interacts with the spaces throughout the day.
The area under the stairs can be used as cupboard space by adding some shelves, while the cellar or basement areas can be waterproofed and used as an inviting bathroom, games room or a small gym area. You might like to identify dividing walls that can be removed to extend the space available in all directions, add some full-length windows to make the most of the natural light, and sliding doors to isolate the bathroom area, or create a cosy atmosphere in the bedroom without using up space that’s at a premium.
When space is limited, an orderly setting can be created by focusing on a few essential details: open storage right across the wall, or niches built into the wall and equipped with shelves, offer original solutions for obtaining extra room for clothes or objects.
A window ledge with floors creates a connection between indoors and indoors, making the room a sort of natural extension of the space, while simple decorative elements above the hearth, a wood-burning stove, a carefully positioned mirror or a beautiful table lamp can bring a touch of warmth and harmony to the whole home.
How to choose the right floors for small settings
Whatever your favourite furnishing style, in a small house where there isn’t enough room for significant decoration work, it’s important to create a clear style identity, starting from the floorings and coverings, which are the base of any furnishing project.
White, and light colours in general, reflect more light than other colours, making rooms appear larger and more spacious.
Dark colours are also suitable for floors in small settings, because they draw attention away from ceilings that are too low. They are the ideal choice for narrow corridors with little or no natural light.
Attention to detail is essential when designing smaller spaces: in this small loft apartment, the open beams and bricks are reminiscent of the urban chic style typical of New York city. Laying the same flooring throughout the home makes for a uniform appearance and extends space: the range of soft, natural colours of concrete-effect flooring is perfectly suited to the simple style of this small setting, and helps to create a pleasing atmosphere.
Every home, however small, can become a splendid living environment when designed with effective solutions able to respond to the needs of its occupants. Casalgrande Padana porcelain stoneware tiles, made exclusively from natural materials, free from plastic and harmful substances, non-allergic, antibacterial, fire-resistant, easy to lay and clean and completely recyclable, will help you create versatile, inviting settings able to tune into the needs of modern living.