Living in a home that’s far below the size of a mansion doesn’t have to be the cramped, cluttered disaster you might imagine it could be – provided you employ some clever small home space-saving ideas. Bear in mind that most of the ideas you’ll find below are specifically tailored for single-family homes with a yard; although some might work for homes with more levels, or even for small apartments. The best thing about them, however, is they neither require making a big mess, with contractors all over the place, nor do they involve colossal redecoration budgets. As a matter of fact, you might even find that some of them can be completed as DIY projects.

10. Bumped-Out Windows on the Ground Floor

Bumped-out windows add that tinge of retro charm and chic to any living space. If they’re fitted on your ground floor, they’ll make sure most of your day area is constantly basking in glorious natural lighting—not to mention they will actually add several cubic inches of extra space (literally!) to the room. If you’re redoing the windows with the aim of enlarging one or several rooms, it is advisable that you also expand them vertically and horizontally as much as the home’s structure will allow you.

9. Outdoor Dining Area

Your patio, yard, or garden can be turned into the best thing that ever happened to your tiny home. If you live in an area where the weather is mild enough for at least four months, then you should definitely set up as small an outdoor dining area as you can afford. You really don’t need more than a table with a couple of chairs. However, relishing the fresh air on summer evening, with a fine, home-cooked meal and a bottle of wine will remind you that this simple tip basically doubled your living space for nearly half the duration of one year.

8. Sliding Door Wardrobes

You’ve seen them on Sex and the City and just about any American TV series that features women with a sartorial excess problem – walk-in closets. While they may be every girl’s dream, girls who live in small homes will have to resort to more space-efficient solutions, i.e. fitted wardrobes with sliding doors. A custom-made interior for your new wardrobe will help you organize your clothes exactly as you would like them. Meanwhile, the sliding doors will save you massive amounts of space in the bedroom area, where you probably wouldn’t be able to spare the space required to open your regular wardrobe doors.

7. Veneered Doors Everywhere

There is perhaps no better move to employ when trying to make a small space seem big than to replace a solid door with a veneered one. The window panes should ideally occupy as much of the door’s surface as possible. If you have a privacy-protecting fence, why not add a window pane to the front door, too—or aim for a windowed door that looks out onto the patio, such as the one run by The Guardian in their “Big Ideas for Small Homes – In Pictures” feature? One very retro move is to veneer a double door that separates your living room from your dining area, for a touch of interwar flair to your interior design.

6. Remove Extraneous Walls

This is definitely not a DIY job, but one that is best left to a professional. This having been said, it’s common knowledge that most small residential spaces feel boxed in and cramped because of an excess of walls. Consult with a construction engineer and/or with an architect and try to identify any non-load bearing walls in your home, which can be torn down in absolute safety. By opening up a small room into an ampler one, you will gain visual abundance and also make the rooms in question appear much more luminous.

5. Select Light Tones for the Finishes

Dark wood floors, floor covers, walls and wooden paneling might look sophisticated and sleek, but there is no place for them in a small home or flat—and this is to be taken quite literally. Dark color tones can close down even ample spaces. When your living area is small enough as it is, you will want to opt for all-natural light tones: beiges, nudes and ever-so light powder pinks for the walls, and oak for the paneling and flooring. Also, try leaving most of your flooring not covered with carpets and only use accent carpeting for most of the house. Exposed flooring also creates the impression of space.

4. Build Storage Space

You don’t have to have a storage closet built inside your home. However, since most small residential properties suffer from a dire lack of storage room, a couple of well thought-out and positioned cabinets will fulfill two purposes. They will give you that much needed storage room, while also providing ample countertop work space in your kitchen, bathroom, dining room, or wherever else you might choose to have them fitted. Of course, the main problem with built-in cabinets is that they cannot be easily restructured, so make sure you’re absolutely certain about where you want to position them in the first place.

3. Have a Clear Shower Put in

This is one of the more costly suggestions, since bathroom remodels tend to run on the expensive side. However, if your home improvement budget allows it, then don’t hesitate to have a clear-wall shower installed in your bathroom. As with any improvement that involves glass, you will obtain the impression of more space, without having to tear down any wall. Go for clear glass, if you don’t have privacy issues, or spring for rather more expensive glass brick walls, which are semi-opaque, yet allow sufficient light to pour through.

2. Valorize Every Inch of Space

Look around your home – very carefully. Now look again. Are there any unutilized corners of rooms, under-stair spaces or any other nooks and crannies where you can fit a storage shelf, box or have a bespoke chest of drawers put in? Then, wait no more. When a house seems to lack in storage room, it’s usually because its owners or initial designers and decorators didn’t take the time to actually invest in setting it up properly.

1. Double the Purpose of Your Rooms

This works especially well if your home has tall rooms – you can take a hint from many interior design blogs online, which suggest you set up a platform higher up in the room, and install a bed up on the platform, while employing the space underneath as a small office, lounge or storage area. Conversely, you can have a small dining space put in in the kitchen or living room, or place a small desk with a desk chair virtually anywhere in your home, from the bedroom to the day area—or even the kitchen.