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Innovative compact living

Honor Kennedy Honor Kennedy
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If you live in a small space, you will understand how every little centimetre of room is important—from the floorplan to your storage, compact living is about one thing: comfortable minimalism. When we think of minimalism, we often imagine stark spaces devoid of character, and instead picture an essence of contemporary cavernous ostentation. Compact minimalist living doesn’t have to evoke these feelings, nor does it have to suggest a Tokyo-style cube with everything is miniaturised and tiny. This week we are taking a look at fashionable and stylish compact homes and spaces that have managed to incorporate a little charm, quaintness, character and elegance into an otherwise condensed or disused space.

If you would like some inspiration to make the most of an unused or poorly designed area of your home, take a look at the following examples, and get some motivation to give your domestic space a compact and slick makeover.

Practical space

A perfect example of how a smaller area can still feel spacious and useful, this family dining room is stylish, compact and creative. Utilising the exposed brick wall, this space fuses crisp white tones with statement furniture and different textures to ensure the area is interesting, practical and chic. If you have a small space to work with, the key is moderation and refinement. Try not to include too much, simply infuse a couple of elements and do them well. A dining space and kitchen is all that is needed to ensure this room is workable and stylish. If a living area had been included as well, the area would have felt squashed and cramped.

Stylish loft conversion

loft with rear mansard and roof terrace fulham:  Kitchen by nuspace

loft with rear mansard and roof terrace fulham


Compact living does not need to be cramped, confined or cloistered, take a look at this glorious example of what can be achieved within a small space—this kitchen and dining room has it all, great storage, light-filled ambience, entertaining space, and a stylish attitude. Loft conversions can often be difficult to get right, you need to ensure the space feels airy and liveable, while maintaining functionality and efficiency. Too much furniture and it will be cramped and impractical, too little, and the area will similarly act unworkably and feel void of character. Follow the lead of this example, choose light timber floorboards, timber table, and plenty of bright white elements and joinery.

A tiny yet stylish staircase

A staircase needs space—essentially they take up as much of the floorplan as a single room itself, and without proper planning, can create a space that is impractical and inefficient. This staircase is a perfect example of how compact does not necessarily mean cramped. The stairs are efficient, easy to use, and a feature of the space. If you want to make a statement in your small dwelling, use contrast, employ a condensed staircase in a dark timber, which will showcase the area and look stunning against the white walls. Top it off with some interesting lighting, and the area will be creatively original.

Space saving basement conversion

A basement conversion is an excellent way to incorporate a little extra space into your home. But where to start? How to achieve spaciousness and comfort without feeling cramped and dark. This example is a perfect illustration of a successful basement conversion. The light is maximised with a white colour scheme, and the furniture is eclectic which creates depth and intrigue within the space.

Floating ensuite

Warwick Place:  Bathroom by Will Eckersley
Will Eckersley

Warwick Place

Will Eckersley

This ensuite is really something else—floating above the sleeping quarters in an oversized bedroom, the architects have created a design that makes the most of the high ceilings, and incorporates a mezzanine level which acts as a compact yet seemingly commodious bathroom. Surrounded by glass, the freestanding bath feels as though it is part of a much larger room, and utilises the vaulted ceiling for a further feeling of airiness and spaciousness.

Did you like those compact living examples? Let us know in the comments below.
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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