Applied Design – Maximizing the Space In Your House

I’m especially drawn to the relaxed atmosphere in the Room of the Week, largely attributed I think to the comfortable sofa and the built-in bookshelves.  It was a genius idea to use that space for built-in bookshelves, instead of just keeping the walls bare.  Instead of just a flat wall, the bookshelves create the perfect nook for the sofa, add personality to the room, and maximize the given space in that room.

It’s the “maximizing space” part I want to focus on today.  Whether your house is large or small there is always room for improving the way you use your space.  I’ve always been inspired by designer and author Susan Sasanka, who has published multiple books on this topic, including my favorite The Not So Big House.  She talks about improving the quality of your house, not by adding to its size, but by really assessing the way you live and making appropriate changes.

It’s easy to think you need a bigger laundry room to more effectively clean your clothes, or a bigger kitchen to cook a better meal, or a bigger playroom to store your children’s toys, but there is almost always a way to improve the quality of the space you already have, without renovating.

There are millions of clever ideas for organizing and improving rooms on Pinterest. But, instead of just trying to implement them directly into your home, you should use them as inspiration for improving your home to suit your specific needs.  For example, there is no reason to add a built-in bookshelf under your stairs if you only need space for a few extra books…maybe it would be better to get a basket and store them under your bed.

Here are a few ideas I hope will inspire you to assess the needs you have in your own house, and then look for solutions to use the space you have more efficiently.


Create a little place for your child to escape to and read.  No built-in bench required – a closet floor will do.

No need to add-on another room in your home for an office space…reorganize and decorate a closet.


An entire room to do laundry is heavenly, but the job can be done just as well in a closet-sized space that has been organized thoughtfully.


No garage to store sports equipment?  Look for solutions in out-of-the way places.

storage space stairs 23 30 Under Stair Shelves and Storage Space Ideas

It’s especially important in small homes and apartments to take advantage of spaces, no matter how small or awkward.  Plus, the space under the stairs provides a unique way to store objects and keep them out of the way.

No need for an entire craft room.  A few shelves tucked under the stairs will work if they are organized in an efficient (and pretty!) way.

If you don’t have space in your home to add furniture just for the sake of displaying decorative dishes and serving ware, look for a solutions in simple built-in shelves.



You might not have the wall space to add a handy bulletin-board….this little cork board inside the cupboard might do the trick.

You know that empty space on top of your kitchen cabinets that you leave empty because you don’t know what to put up there?  Big baskets can keep lots of items out of sight, but in easy reach…even non-kitchen items that you don’t have room for elsewhere in the house.

If the cupboard under your kitchen sink looks like mine, then it’s a mess and you probably aren’t using the space efficiently.  Here’s one example of maximizing this cupboard space.


I love this overhead bookshelf…a clever way to add storage in a doorway above the head in an unused space.

Built in bookshelf wall in London townhouse with Tom Dixon tall beat lights

LC 6 154+125 Newlo

Never use your fireplace?  It’s a large open space just waiting to be filled.

fireplaces midcenturymodernlove1 10 Creative Ways to Decorate Your Non Working Fireplace

Do you have any unused space you can use to improve the quality of your home?

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