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Downsizing conjures images of being snug and cosy, but will it work for you? In the following article, I share the benefits of living in a small home and why it is something we should all consider.


Seven years ago, my family and I moved to a cottage at the end of a lane, overlooking some fields. We adored it the moment we saw it. For years we’d been looking for a project and this 1930s chalet bungalow fitted the bill perfectly, except for the fact that it was small. We moved from a four-bedroom house with a utility room and study, to a three-bedroom cottage with a living room, kitchen diner and one bathroom. 


We planned to extend to create enough space for four people, especially as the kids were adult-sized! We envisaged a big kitchen at the back of the house, a utility room on the side and a large outbuilding for a studio and storage. We lived in the house for two years, saved up, had plans drawn up and went through the planning process. 


Looking from the living room into the dining area of a 1930s bungalow. The image shows contemporary dining chairs at an old famhouse table with a steam bent wooden pendant hanging above. In the foreground you can see pieces from the home owners art collection.
Hallway of a 1930s bungalow showing a handmade bench made from birch ply, with books and houseplants below a gallery wall.
So, how did the renovation go? Click here to see how we transformed our home.

The planning was approved! So, we went out to contractors to price the project. Costs started mounting. The stress levels started to rise. To rein things in, we decided not to build the outbuilding. Then we dropped the utility room. It was still coming in at over £100k to extend out for a big kitchen and I don’t even like cooking! Time to rethink.


Although we had thought the house would be too small, by that point, we had lived in it for two years and managed just fine. In addition, our kids were getting older and planning to go to university. So was more space necessary? 


We reviewed our situation and decided to work with what we already had. Our plans switched to refurbishing the house from top to bottom. A home renovation on our budget would allow a higher standard of finish. More importantly, we knew we could complete the whole project without the risk of running out of money.

We completed the house renovation a couple of years ago and I can honestly say that not adding a massive extension is one of the best decisions we have ever made. Our house is warm, friendly and cosy. Everyone who visits has the same reaction ‘Oh wow, it looks like something off of a chocolate box!’ More importantly, we love it and we have learned to live differently in the process. 


So, what are the benefits of living in a smaller house? 

In my mind there are many:


Smaller Houses Are More Affordable

It can depend on the style, location and size of the garden, but typically the smaller the footprint of the house, the cheaper it will be. A smaller mortgage is never a bad thing, especially with rates on the rise. Equally, there is a bigger market for smaller properties if and when you decide to sell.


Energy Efficient Small Homes

It’s quicker to heat a smaller house and council tax is lower, so less of your hard-earned cash is spent on bills. That’s a major advantage! As well as cutting financial costs, better energy efficiency brings environmental cost savings.

Less Housework

Less housework, that’s a huge bonus! The fact that a smaller house is easier to maintain is a big win for me. There are fewer jobs to do and it doesn’t take as long. I relish having more time to do the things I want rather than the chores.


No Space is Wasted

In a large house, you often find that some rooms are rarely used. They become a dumping ground for stuff. In a small house, every single inch has a purpose and nothing goes to waste. We don’t have a guest room, but most of our family live locally so we wouldn’t use one anyway. We can’t hold big family dinners in the winter as 20 people won’t fit around our table. However, a large patio provides the perfect venue for summer get-togethers. Occasionally we are restricted, but 99% of the time it works perfectly. 

Living room of a 1930s bungalow showing houseplants. in the foreground.
Bespoke birch ply bookcase in 1930s bungalow. Displaying colourful books and magazines, ceramics and decorative objects.

Declutter your Home

A smaller home forces you to declutter, but do you need all that stuff? When we moved, a few boxes were stored in our garage until we had completed the renovation. Two years after packing these boxes, I finally had the chance to unpack them. I have to be honest, as I was unwrapping, I wondered why I had kept it all in the first place! I repacked most of it and donated it to the charity shop. 


Now, I think carefully about whether we need something and where we are going to put it. It has changed our mindset. Too many possessions can cause storage and cleaning stress, so this fresh approach is working well for us.


Easy to Customise Small Rooms

A smaller house is easier to customise. If you decide to redecorate your living room it is going to cost less for materials and you may even be able to have a go at doing the job yourself as it is less intimidating. Less paint, less wallpaper, less carpet and less furniture equal less work. It allows you to splash out on more indulgent interior design features or save money for a holiday instead! 

Small Homes for an Intimate Living Space

Small homes provide a more intimate living experience. To be honest, this point has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that we are a close family and we all get on well. A smaller space has made us all better at communicating, keeping things tidy and keeping the volume down! One of the disadvantages is that you don’t have many places to hide. This is why it’s been good to retain separate rooms and not be completely open-plan. Shutting the door for a bit of peace and quiet is usually fine and if you want to escape the hubbub, it’s time for a walk. I’ve got fitter since moving in!

A Cosy Atmosphere

It creates a cosy and inviting atmosphere. When it comes to interior design, large rooms can be overwhelming and present a challenge when creating a physically and emotionally warm space. A smaller is instantly more intimate and homely, especially in the cooler months. 


More Character

Smaller houses can be quirky and have more character. Inventive storage solutions, unique finishing touches and clever interior design details can give your home its personality. This creative thinking needed for small spaces has been one of the joys of our home renovation. It’s quite a different approach to some of the large, showy properties I’ve designed interiors for.

A bookcase in a 1930s bungalow. The bookcase is made from birch plywood and forms cubby holes, with and without doors, and displays colourful books, ceramics and other trinkets belonging to the homeowner.


Many people have to rethink their dream homes and downsize. I think there are plenty of positives in this decision.


When we bought our house, the intention was to make it bigger, therefore, we weren’t consciously downsizing. Living in the space for two years whilst planning changes and then seeing the cost of extending changed our plans. Society influences us to want bigger and better all the time, but I realise we are missing a trick by not making the most of what we have. As I have said before, we don’t need more space, we just need less stuff!


Small homes mean fewer responsibilities. Less money spent on the mortgage and upkeep equals more disposable income to enjoy life. Less time cleaning and maintaining the property offers more time to focus on bigger priorities. That is more time spent with family, travelling, going out for meals or indulging in your hobbies. 


Our little house has taught us how to live a more meaningful life and I would not change that for the world. If you are thinking about downsizing, to free up some time and some money, I would wholeheartedly recommend it.


If you are downsizing or would like some advice on how to make the most of your small house then get in touch as I would love to help! 


I am passionate about small houses and making the most of all the available space. I don’t subscribe to the ‘bigger is better’ way of thinking. Let me provide advice on living in a smaller home and help you organise the space you have, so you can enjoy it as much as I do!

A detail image of the living room in 1930s bungalow. The image shows a Vitorian chest piled high with design books.

If you would like to have a chat about your project please feel free to give me a call or click the button below.

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