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Downsizing? Making the Most of a Smaller Space or Your Jewel-Box Home

Downsizing? Making the Most of a Smaller Space or Your Jewel-Box Home


Understanding the Small Home Trend


Things like compact living, small space homes, and micro apartments are becoming popular features of lifestyle magazines and interior design blogs because people are buying smaller homes and the housing market has responded. Average home sized have been trending down for over a decade and some cities like Los Angeles have banned construction of large home structures.


Several factors are playing into the trend in smaller homes. First, baby boomers are retiring and down-sizing. Second, millennials, or generation Y, want to own home but are conscientious with their money and about their environmental footprint and therefore are buying smaller homes. Third, is the “tiny house” movement. While the typical home is 2600 square feet, the tiny homes are between 100 to 500 square feet.


Further, the challenge of housing more people in cities is trending around the world. The construction of micro apartments is on the rise in European cities who realize that building smaller homes could be the solution to their space challenges. In 2016 alone, over 8,000 apartments were built in England that measured less than 37 m² or 182 ft2.


The trend towards smaller houses has become a social movement with people choosing to downsize and simplify their lives. They want a small footprint life, a home will less maintenance required, which also frees up money for other things like travel.


Another trend we’re seeing is what is called a jewel-box home. A small square footage home packed with upscale amenities and luxury finishes. According to an analysis by Home Innovation Research Labs, a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders, the number of new-construction luxury homes at 3,000 square feet or less has increased by nearly 20 percent since 2013, with a corresponding decline in larger-size, high-price homes. An article published by The Wall Street Journal noted that changing demographics could be driving the trend. More than half of all households now consist of single people or couples, U.S. Census Bureau data shows—with traditional nuclear families accounting for just 20 percent.



Making the Most of Smaller Spaces


Perhaps you’ve decided you want to downsize or live in a smaller footprint. How do you make the space usable and enjoyable? The first thing to think about is storage. Go through your current home and decide what you really need. And choose a smaller home with smart storage amenities. Walk in closets, pantries with storage, mud rooms, and butler’s pantries all offer multi-purpose spaces for storage.


You can make a small room seem bigger by altering design and décor. Large windows and smart decorating go a long way in helping a space feel bigger. Use focal walls painted a different color to draw the eye to the end of a room. Unify space with a single-color palette with one main and one accent color. Use neutrals to fill in.


Mirrors create depth. Position them over a fireplace or at the end of a room. Glass and clear objects like crystal chandeliers, glass table-tops, and Lucite chairs take up little visual space, helping a room seem bigger. Plants can create depth in a room.



Purchase multi-purpose furniture, a dining table with leaf extensions, ottomans and benches with storage space, a sleeper sofa for guests. Also pay attention to the scale of furnishings. Buy pieces that are right-sized for the space. Lighting like swing arm sconces can save floor space.  Finally, keep the space clean and clutter free.


Want to read more about jewel-box homes. Find my prior blog post here. Questions about the current state of new built homes? Read my blog post on new home construction and supply chain issues here.


If you’re jumping on the small house band wagon, down-sizing, or looking for your first home, I’m here to advise. Contact me with the links and/or number below to start a conversation today.


Catherine Bassick Fine Homes and Estates

Senior Global Real Estate Advisor

Brokered by EXP Realty


MA LIC# 9558155

CA DRE# 01380305

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