I know there has been a trend towards people buying larger houses and I sometimes think it would be nice to move into a bigger place. The thing is, the bigger the house you have, the more things you need to furnish it, the more fuel you need to heat its, etc., etc.
We have a large family and we live in a smaller house than most people, but we sure make good use of the space we have. Almost every room does double duty except the kitchen, but as you can imagine, the kitchen is kept busy enough as is!
For instance, our main bathroom originally had a full sized linen closet. We took out the shelves and installed a stacking washer and dryer in the space instead. For our extra towel storage, we hung up a wire shelf above the bathtub.
The kids' bedrooms are small, but each has their own space. In the smallest rooms which are only 7’ X 8’, we built a single-size platform that goes across the width of the room. The mattress goes on the platform and there is lots of storage under that. Our teenage son added an extra piece of foam at the end of his mattress so he now has a 7” long bed... lots of room to stretch!
Each room has rows of shelves attached to the walls with L-brackets for books and anything else that the kids collect. We have found that hanging closets are not very efficient for the kids. Instead, we put in wardrobes with drawers at the bottom and just a shorter hanging closet on top, and then we made the closets into mini offices. We installed a piece of countertop at the right height for a desk and then put shelves above that. The closets are 3’ wide, so they are just right as a study centre. The chair scoots in out of the way under the “desk” .
We have an office/library/spare bedroom that is used for a lot of different things. We don’t have a bed in there, but we have a hideabed couch. That leaves us with more floorspace for other things and the room doesn’t look like a bedroom. Again, we lined the walls all around with shelves hung up with L-brackets and we use the shelves to store our books as well as all our framed family pictures and special ornaments. It was originally a bedroom, so we once again took out the larger 5” closet and put in a full sized desk in the space so we have a place to do our bills. When company comes, the couch becomes the bed and the room is private for the guest. I use this room to fold my laundry or to set up my ironing board. If the kids have friends over, they use the room to visit or play board games.
Our living room, as you can imagine is also our family room. Because we don’t have room in our kitchen for a table, we have it at one end of our living room. A hideabed couch and chairs is at the other end of the room. This room becomes another spare bedroom if we have more overnight guests. I have installed a set of drapes that pull back on either side of the room in front of the couch so when it is made into a hideabed, we can pull those drapes and curtain off a private area for the sleeper. With the draped pinned back, they still visually divide the room between dining area and seating area.
My King and I have a bigger bedroom and our own bathroom - rank has its privileges! The other day I was thinking how the space was under-utilized since it was empty all day long, so I’m going to invest in a couple of those heavy-duty retractable clothes lines to install across the room. We have a ceiling fan to keep air moving and it would make a great drying room during the day instead of always using our electric dryer in the winter. The extra humidity in the bedroom wouldn’t be such and bad idea either, since the furnace makes the air so dry. The other bonus is that at night, I can get my King to help me fold the laundry before we go to bed!