10 Must-haves for Small Urban Homes

As New Zealand's urban population grows, we're seeing an increase in smaller homes, such as terrace housing and apartments. This is in-keeping with bigger overseas cities, where they have learned to do more with less.  But less space doesn't have to equate to less style, and there are plenty of practical ways to maximise space.   Here are 10 examples of must-have design ideas for small homes.

1. A Corner Fireplace

Corner fireplaces started in Europe, where medium density housing and small homes are the norm.  A corner fireplace works because you can tuck it into the side wall, and it doesn't dictate the layout of the room like a conventional install is prone to do.  It also allows for more creative design options for wood storage, shelving and cabinetry, as seen below.

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2. A Round Dining Table

Round tables are not only a great way to add visual interest to our homes (which are largely made up of rectangles and squares), they are also a great way to maximise your space. They tend to seat more people and can fit into tight corners, working perfectly with inbuilt seating.

Image credit: Brandi Becker of Indi Interiors


Image credit: Brandi Becker of Indi Interiors


3. Custom Cabinetry

Inbuilt custom cabinetry might cost you more money, but it definitely saves you space.  Go floor to ceiling to really maximise your vertical space and mix up hidden and open shelving for the ability to display beautiful things and hide the not so beautiful (such as TVs and AV equipment).

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4. Indoor/Outdoor Island Bar

If you've got a deck area coming off your kitchen, why not utilise the space in front of the window by creating an extra island to your outdoors? Makes feeding hungry kids easy and adds a fun element to your outdoor area.


5. Big Mirrors

One of the easiest things you can do to make your space feel bigger is to add large mirrors, which visually expand a room and reflect light to brighten the space.  Point them outdoors to reflect the window outdoors and you'll be surprised how well they open up the room.

Image credit: Brandi Becker of Indi Interiors


6. Transparent Furniture

See-through polycarbonate seating is perfect in smaller spaces. While wooden furniture can feel heavy and cumbersome, transparent furniture has the opposite effect, giving the room a light and clutter-free feel.


7. Nesting  Tables

Stacking tables, or nesting tables, are a must-have piece of furniture for the smaller home. You basically get multiple tables in one, to use on an as-needed basis.


8. Sliding Doors

In Japan fusuma (sliding doors) are common and a clever way of finding different ways to use the same space. Flexi/multipurpose spaces are so valuable these days, particularly where space is limited.  In a bedroom like the one below, for example, you can open the sliders between the rooms, giving you a a second living space for the children to retreat to if mum and dad are entertaining.


9. Mezzanine Floor

If you have the vertical space, a mezzanine is a genius way to add another bed, or room within a room. Although this is quite a major renovation, if you love your existing home and just want more space, it's a great alternative to moving.


10. Double Duty Furniture

Multi functional pieces are essential in a small home because they allow you to do more with less. Think inbuilt bench seats with storage, kitchen Islands with pull-out cupboards or even drawers within a staircase, like below.



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