Small Space Living Part 1: White is the perfect backdrop

Live large in your small space ZoeAtHome.comWe made a radical family decision to downsize to a smaller home. It felt radical to us because Australia is a land of big open spaces, sprawling suburbs and their lavish houses. We’re happy with our inner city home and the new lifestyle it’s brought us: we are close to shops and amenities, and we can walk to most of the things we like to do. But we had to make a few changes to our house to open it up and make it feel more spacious.

This is the first in a three-part series on the conclusions I’ve come to whilst furnishing our little home…

Before we moving in, we painted the dark walls a fresh white. Moving house was stressful, and the last thing I wanted to do was begin a renovation. But this decision was the easiest one I’ve had to make, and in less than a week, the house felt so much bigger, brighter and airier! I don’t worry about my kids marking the walls because every few months my husband gets out the can of leftover paint and rolls over the marks with a mini-roller. With white paint you can do this, and it usually only takes him a few hours to freshen everything up.

How to choose paint colour Zoe at Home

Not all whites are the same. To choose the right colour, hold the chart up towards the ceiling in the darkest part of the house. The chip that looks the whitest will give the best effect.

One year later, we laid a floating floor over the dark green tiles. If you have some DIY skills, you can lay a floating floor yourself to easily update the look of your home. I picked this pale colour after drooling over the pictures of whitewashed floors on My Scandinavian Home. Click here for more on keeping white floors clean.

If all your furniture is white too, you can easily move pieces from room to room as your needs change. Sometimes in a small house you have to be creative with the way you place your furniture, so you need items that are flexible. And colourful accessories really pop against white furniture. I don’t believe in having a separate colour scheme for each room. Maybe in a large house you could get away with this, but when space is limited, I think all rooms should be in the same colour range.

When white is your backdrop, it’s easy to create this flow between your living spaces. I’m not an interior designer, but I think this is what they call a resolved palette.

White bedding Zoe at Home

An easy way to make bedrooms look bigger is to use white bedding.

Choosing to decorate only in white took a bit of courage for me. But the more research I did, the more I realised that there are so many iterations of an all-white theme in the design world. Perhaps this is because it really works. Here I’ve gathered some inspirational links on all-white interiors:

Kitchen Before and After Zoe at HomeNext on our renovating To Do list is to install a white kitchen. To maximise natural light, I’d like to knock out a wall and use mirrored splashbacks. Here is my ‘Before’ picture:

Join me next time for Part 2, where I introduce my Lego Furniture Theory…

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8 thoughts on “Small Space Living Part 1: White is the perfect backdrop

  1. Just wanted to let you know that I have gotten some great ideas from your blog including throwing out some of the furniture that took up a lot of space in my apartment. So thank you. And I hope I will get more great ideas from you. But no pressure. Lol.

    • Thank you SO MUCH for your kind comment! I really appreciate all the comments you have made! My blog is only new so it’s great to get such nice feedback. Let me know if you have a blog too and I can support yours 🙂

  2. You’re very welcome. And I usually don’t follow or comment on blogs, but one about small space living is worth following. My usual solution to make more room in my small apartment was to go for furniture I could hang on the wall. But I eventually filled the gained space with other stuff, making my apartment look even more cramped. But then I stumbled on your blog. And most of the stuff I could do without, went out the door. I’m not a blogger myself. But if I ever do make one. I might just take you up on your offer. 🙂

  3. Your ideas are great Zoe and what you have done looks beautiful!
    One trick of creating an illusion of more space is the use of mirrors. One big mirror of say 90cm x 110cm will make a small space appear so much bigger and not only that if placed appriately in a dark area, it will reflect light and brighten it up. A classy frame will set it off nicely and hanging it 60cm to 90cm above floor level will keep little hands out of reach.

  4. So pleased to have found you!
    Our house already had standard Swiss white walls (I used to find that so boring when we rented, but have I painted a single one since I had the choice?! Nope!). We have lovely oak flooring throughout and I wanted to keep the flow, so have stayed with white/cream/neutral and accents of my favourite red. I also pretty much stuck with Ikea for white and light oak furniture because the house is small and needs that continuity of same elements popping up repeatedly, just like you point out. Versatility reigns!

    • Thanks for dropping by! I’m glad you like it- I worried about getting a white floor and chairs with little kids. But it has been fine, and it makes our small house look bigger.

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