Many homeowners struggle with trying to find more space in their small homes. Additions can be expensive and time consuming and renovations can interrupt your day to day life in the house. There are plenty of design tips and tricks to give the illusion of a larger home without any of the added hassle!
When homes get smaller, their backyards usually shrink with them. We’ve taken the top 10 tips for a small backyard design and broken them down here. You can use only one or combine different designs ideas to create space in your small backyard and create the space of your dreams!
1. Use Previously Empty SpaceOne of the best ways to create space is to simply use space that you hadn’t used before. This may seem obvious, but there are plenty of places that many homeowners forget about when designing their backyards, decks, and patios. If you plan to do a lot of outdoor entertaining, you may want more finished spaces in your smaller backyard. There are plenty of designs for small backyards that maximize your outdoor entertaining space. One of the most popular is to utilize the space underneath a second floor deck. Under deck patios provide double the amount of finished platforms that can be used for backyard parties. These open areas aren’t just limited to outdoor entertaining functions. If you simply want more storage, there are plenty of ways to incorporate it into the design for your small backyard. If you want to close off the open space underneath your deck, you can create an under deck storage shed. This is the perfect way to keep your structure’s footprint small, but still getting the maximum amount of storage. If you don’t want to take up your entire under deck area for storage, you can create a unique design with in deck storage. Similar to the hidden storage design of trap door storage, you make a small compartment that sinks down below your deck boards.
2. Create a Flow of TrafficJust like an interior space, creating a flow of traffic can help your backyard to feel larger and less cluttered. Clear organization of your space cuts down on clutter and maximizes your space efficiently. Depending upon how you plan to use your backyard, there are several ways to direct your flow of traffic. Zoning is a major part of the organization of any space. In interior spaces, it’s determined by the furnishings used. The same can be said for small backyard designs. One of the easiest ways to zone your backyard space is to have a finished platform, such as a deck or patio, and open green space. This natural separation creates different areas in your backyard with different functions. To create a clean flow of traffic from each zone, finished walkways through your backyard is an easy DIY small backyard idea. You can create the pathway that will best fit your home design and lifestyle. Whether you decide to have a finished brick path or have individual pavers in your grass, you will give your guests a clear walkway from section to section in your backyard.
3. Update Your Deck StairsIf you have a raised deck design, you may want to create an efficient flow of traffic by installing a deck stair. Deck stairs come in a wide range of designs depending upon your home’s design style and how you want to utilize your outdoor space. Traditional deck stairs are the most recognized stair design when it comes to backyards. These stairs are the same design that you would typically find in a home’s interior design. These stairs are usually an all wood design and extend out from the face of your deck into your backyard. However, these stairs do have some drawbacks. The biggest problem with a traditional deck stair in a small backyard is the large footprint. A typical traditional staircase with that will access an 8’ tall deck will extend approximately 9’ into your backyard. A spiral staircase is an ideal design for small backyards. The spiral design keeps the staircase’s footprint to a small circle in your backyard. The maintenance free designs of an Exterior Galvanized spiral stair and a Powder Coated Aluminum spiral stair are ideal for homeowners that want to maximize their small backyard without the added stress of upkeep.
4. Incorporate Built In PiecesNot only do built in pieces create one of a kind designs for your small backyards, but they also maximize your available space. Take advantage of your current backyard structure by incorporating any seating or surfaces directly into the design. This opens up the rest of the structure for other design accents to complement the one of a kind structure. One popular way to incorporate your seating into the existing deck or patio is to build a sunken conversation pit style bench. This unique design is perfect for a raised deck that has some extra space underneath the structure. It creates a truly communal space that promotes conversation and togetherness. If you want to incorporate a built in piece right into your backyard, in ground fire pits are popular DIY small backyard ideas. This weekend project creates a unique space that will be the central focus of any backyard party. While it may seem like an intimidating project, you can easily complete it with the help of a friend or neighbor!
5. Utilize Vertical LandscapingOne common staple of small space decorating is to build up, not out. The same principle applies to your backyard landscaping. If you have limited space in your backyard, it can be difficult to find the balance between finished and paved space and keeping the space green and full of life. Vertical landscaping is a new development to add green to your space without taking away any of your deck or patio. Green walls are popular in both indoor and outdoor spaces. These panels have the soil incorporate right into the frame to create a moveable garden that has a very minimal footprint. This is perfect for small backyards that may have close neighbors. You can use your green walls to add color to your backyard, as well as provide privacy. For a simpler vertical landscaping design, you can use a lattice panel with climbing plants. With a wide range of options for your plants, you create a unique garden that will take up no space that you would use for outdoor entertaining. While these may take a little longer to fill out than a green wall, they are a great DIY project for a small backyard.
6. Multifunctional Pieces Maximize SpaceMultifunctional pieces have been used to maximize small spaces. With the emergence of tiny homes and the growing popularity of city micro apartments, multifunctional furniture has come a long way from a futon. These standard indoor designs have been altered to fit into your outdoor spaces. Built in benches, like the ones previously mentioned, have started to be altered to multitask as storage units as well. By adding hinges to the actual seat of the bench, you are able to lift the top to show a space for outdoor cushions and backyard games when they are not in use. Another popular way to incorporate double duty furniture in your backyard is to install a cooler in the middle of your outdoor dining table. This popular DIY project is perfect for those that plan to do a lot of outdoor entertaining with their space. BY incorporating the cooler into the table, you’re taking it off of the deck floor and opening up that space for more seating or just removing clutter.
7. Create a Tiered BackyardWhile some backyards may not be small, their usable space can be limited. This is a typical problem when it comes to sloped backyards. Even if there is plenty of room, a steep slope may seem like it makes your backyard unusable. There are several different ways to design a solution into your space. If you don’t want to have the cost and stress of leveling your entire backyard, a tiered garden can help you use the slope to your advantage. By utilizing the small platforms, not only are you using the slope in a creative way, but you’re also creating natural retaining walls. This is perfect for homeowners that may have an outdoor entertaining space at the bottom of the hill. You can use these small terraces as smaller levels for entertaining, as well. By installing steps between each level, you can safely access the different spaces and not have to let go of any of that space. You can separate them with small walls and use pavers to create a flat stable surface on the slope.
8. Play with ShapesWhen you’re trying to make the most of a small space, don’t be afraid to use unconventional shapes in your designs. A standard square or rectangle may not always be the best design for your small backyard. Experiment with different blueprints and layouts to find the best fit for your home design. Circular designs are a unique way to have a finished platform without taking over your entire backyard. By cutting off the corners of a standard square deck, you can keep some green space and keep your finished deck or patio. Don’t feel like you have to organize furniture or lay your patio in a standard direction either. If you decide to design your backyard on a diagonal, you can trick the eye into seeing a larger space. Sometimes you may not need to create physical space, but rather give off the feeling of a bigger space.
9. Focal Points in your DesignAnother way to create the illusion of a larger backyard is to incorporate focal points into your backyard design. These focal points create a center focus and helps ease any visual clutter. It also gives you something to build the rest of the design for a small backyard. A popular centerpiece is a backyard fire pit. Not only can you customize a built in design, like the one mentioned above, but you can easily buy a standalone design as well. You can either have an all stone design or use a metal frame from an industrial rustic design. They’re also a popular option due to their long term use that extends beyond the summer. Use the fire pit as the center of a small circular layout for your backyard seating. Water features are another common visual centerpiece in backyards. They add a touch of luxury to an otherwise simple backyard design. They’re commonly found in backyard gardens that are filled with large flowering plants and iron benches or as the centerpiece to an ornately designed English garden.
10. Embrace SimplicityThe best way to make the most of a small backyard is to embrace the simplicity of design. You don’t have to completely fill a space to maximize its use. Prioritize the different applications for your small backyard and pick your furnishings from there. Once you’ve decided on how you want to use your space, choose simple furniture that’s proportionate to your space. This means larger, but fewer pieces. A lot of homeowners make the mistake of buy lots of smaller items. This makes your small backyard feel cluttered. You don’t have to pack everything you could possible want into one backyard space. Don’t feel limited by a small backyard! There are plenty of ways to create a beautiful space without a ton of square footage. These clever tips are the perfect way to create space using designs for small backyards. If a spiral stair is the right way to create space in your outdoor space, give one of our consultative designers a call to start your project!
Kitchen Hidden StorageMost kitchens have built in storage between the shelves and cabinets. Common designs have cabinets and open shelving, but you may not want to display all of your belongings at all times. If you have company coming over, or just want a hidden way to store extra kitchen items, there are small nooks hidden all over the room! If you have limited space, a slide out pantry is the perfect solution. A thin vertical drawer that holds herbs and spices can easily fit between the fridge and counter, or you can have a wider drawer that holds boxes and cans that you would typically find in a pantry. This keeps your items easily accessible, but cleverly hidden in a smaller space. Another kitchen cabinet modification idea is to add more vertical storage space. The space between a standard cabinet and the ceiling is typically unused. By adding in another cabinet, you are able to store things without having them on display in an open space. If you want to keep the space a little more open than a solid cabinet, the addition of a frosted glass panel can break up the dark wood. If you have an island as the centerpiece to your kitchen, consider using any empty space at the base as storage. Installing drawers in the baseboards is one way to hide the extra storage space. For some truly hidden storage, consider remodeling your range hood over your stove. This can be a DIY design that extends the range hood out to create a large space in front of the actual hardware. For some temporary hidden storage, your oven is an option. If your guests are coming soon and you need to hide some cookware, your oven is a no brainer. It’s out of the way and in a place where guests aren’t going to be looking. It’s also the perfect place to get hot pots off of the counter. They can cool without risking anyone burning their hands.
Living Room Hidden StorageYour living room has ample opportunities for hidden storage spaces. The one thing that’s in every family room is either a couch or bench. This can easily be transformed into a multifunctional piece with hidden storage for extra blankets, movies, and pillows. Benches and couches with hinged cushions create a trunk like space for bulky blankets and pillows. If you have a wooden bench, you can always add cushions and a slipcover. This would be a better option for items that aren’t commonly used. If you want a place to store your DVDS without using bookshelves, consider installing drawers underneath your couch frame. This is space that is probably being unused and is out of the way. While it may not be completely hidden, it is definitely out of plain sight. If you want to keep your storage a little more hidden, a pop out coffee table is the perfect place for small items, such as remotes and books. If you want more storage in your coffee table, consider using hinges to create a trunk. Old trunks are a trendy rustic option for those looking for extra storage in their coffee table. Many homeowners use their living room as a gathering place with large entertainment systems. This means lots of wires, electronics, and mess. A technology closet is a great way to hide the tangle of wires. If you don’t want to draw attention to the closet with a traditional door, a mirror or piece of framed art is a great cover. It can be fastened to the wall so it can be swung open like a door. This is also a popular place to hide safes and valuables, such as jewelry. If you have a wireless router on a shelf in your living room, consider hiding it behind false books. This is an easy DIY project that can really change the look of your shelves. Cut the spines off of old hard cover and attach them to the front of a basic wooden frame. This leave a small nook that’s the perfect size for your wireless router. Your staircase is another great place to have a hidden storage space. The cupboard under the stairs is a normal storage spot, particularly in old homes. However, you can make the door blend into the space with strategically placed molding. Another stair storage option is to have a modified false step design. You can either hinge the treads to create small trunks or use drawers as the base of each step. Not only does this save space, but it also hides the eyesores that are usually left at the bottom of the stairs, such as shoes and toys. If your staircase has a landing, consider a trap door style storage space. This creates a completely hidden space that can hold bigger items like extra duvets and pillows for a guest room.
Bedroom Hidden StorageMany homeowners want their bedroom to be a place of calmness and order. It’s hard to feel at peace when your room is cluttered and overrun with stuff. Hidden storage can help you feel more organized and calmer. A headboard with built in drawers and shelves is one way to take the clutter off of your floor. Under bed storage is a common form of hidden storage. It takes the same idea as the drawers under your couch and applies to your bedroom. There are the standard storage bags and large containers that are made to fit under your bed. However, you can have truly hidden storage by using a hinged mattress. By utilizing this small space organization tip, you can have a hidden space at the center of your bedframe that can also utilize storage. If you want some extreme under the bed storage, you can raise the floor around your bed to create many different trap door storage opportunities. By doing this, you’re not only creating a very large hidden storage space, but you can also sink the bed into the platform to create a cozier feel. These spaces can hold everything from extra bedding to out of season clothing.
Bathroom Hidden StorageWhile it may seem like your storage options for a bathroom are limited to open shelves and medicine cabinets, there are a few unexpected hidden storage ideas. The most unexpected design is a hinged bathtub frame. This is probably one of the most clever hidden storage spaces. The design uses the basic bowl of the bathtub and creates the square frame around it using tilt out drawers. This is the perfect place for cleaning supplies and frees up space under the sink or in a hall closet. You can use this design and apply it to your bathroom counter as well. Many counters feature false drawers above their cabinets. Create a tilt out drawer that can hold hair styling tools or makeup, freeing up a traditional drawer. You can also create a tilt out hamper to keep your bathroom clean and organized. If your bathroom features a half wall at the end of your bath or small nooks where the wall juts out, you have the perfect place for pull out shelving. This is the same design as the small pantry in the kitchen, but repurposed for the space! If you don’t have room for a bathroom closet, this can be a place for extra toilet paper or other supplies you need in your bathroom. This can also be used as a pull out towel rack. This is creating space by using the inside of your home’s walls.
Hidden RoomsYou don’t have to limit your hidden storage to small spaces. If you have the space, hidden rooms can be a great addition. Not only does it give you the storage space you want, but you get that square footage without sacrificing a full basement or your garage. The first type of hidden rooms are ones that are on the same level and simple have secret entries. This can be part of a walk through closet or hidden behind a built in bookshelf. The more complicated designs feature hidden rooms that are on another floor. Popular designs for hidden rooms feature wine cellars. These rooms have a trap door style entry and often lead down to the basement. If you’re a wine collector, or just an avid wine drinker, this frees up space in your kitchen that would otherwise be taken up by bottles. Another multi-level hidden storage option is a storage loft. These are typically tucked into the back end of a house and create square footage with a lofted space. If you choose a multi-floor design, you’ll need to access that space. A ladder is a popular option because it has the smallest footprint of all the options. However, it’s often times not stable and it’s difficult to carry things up and down your ladder. A spiral stair can solve these issues for you. They have a small footprint and can be maneuvered to fit your space. If your home doesn’t have a garage or basement, you may feel like your options are limited when it comes to storage. While open shelving is a popular design trend, you may not want to display all of your belongings throughout your house. These hidden storage ideas can be as small as a compartment in your coffee table and as involved as a storage loft! With a little cleverness, you can find storage solutions anywhere in your home.
Furniture designs have become more innovative to accommodate small living spaces. Your furniture can multitask within your space as well. Multifunctional furniture has become the standard in home design. With so many options, it’s hard to know which one is right for your space. This blog outlines some of the most common options for multifunctional furniture for small spaces, with some incredible innovations mixed in.