Design + Build, Uncategorized

Building Your Dream Home: Making the Most of Smaller Square Footage

Building your dream home is an exciting and fulfilling endeavor. While many associate dream homes with sprawling square footage, it’s essential to recognize that a smaller home can be a haven of comfort, functionality, and style. In fact, designing a dream home with smaller square footage allows for greater attention to detail, efficient use of space, and customization to suit your unique needs. Let’s explore the key considerations and design strategies to build a dream home that maximizes the potential of smaller square footage.

1. Thoughtful Space Planning

When working with a smaller square footage, thoughtful space planning becomes paramount. Begin by identifying your must-have spaces, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and living areas. Consider how each space will be used and prioritize functionality. Optimize the layout to create flow and efficiency, ensuring that every square foot serves a purpose. Explore innovative design solutions like open-concept layouts that blur the lines between rooms, creating a sense of spaciousness.  Make a list of your must haves, and then rank them in order of importance. Think about the future use of the home, and think creatively about how you can use one space for more than one use.

2. Multifunctional Spaces

Make the most of your smaller square footage by incorporating multifunctional spaces. Each area should have multiple purposes to maximize its usage (no really, if you’re building a dream home with smaller square footage and you can’t identify how each room in your home serves more than one purpose, you may need to re-think your design). For example, a home office can double as a guest bedroom with a sleeper sofa or a murphy bed. A dining area can also serve as a workspace or a children’s play area with the right furniture and storage solutions. By embracing versatility, you can optimize your home’s square footage and adapt it to various needs.

3. Efficient Storage Solutions

Effective storage solutions are crucial in a smaller home. Clutter can quickly make a space feel cramped, so prioritize smart storage options. Utilize built-in cabinets, shelves, and closets to maximize vertical space and keep belongings organized. Consider hidden storage solutions like under-bed drawers or ottomans with hidden compartments. Customized storage solutions tailored to your specific needs can help maximize every inch of available space and maintain a clean and organized environment. Use the experience of planning for your dream home to pare back the items in your current home – you may be surprised how little you really need or want to keep when you start assessing what your future home could look like.

4. Open and Airy Design

Creating an open and airy atmosphere is key to making a smaller home feel more spacious. Note that we didn’t say “open concept floor plan”. In smaller spaces, an open concept plan can be perfect for some, while others feel an open-concept plan ruins the coziness or even the functionality of their space. If you’re interested in a more traditional concept floor plan, focus on how design can help make the spaces airy. Maximize natural light by incorporating large windows and skylights, which brighten up the space and give the illusion of openness. Choose light-colored paint for walls and ceilings to reflect light and make the rooms feel larger. Opt for open shelving or glass-front cabinets to create visual depth in the kitchen and storage areas. We love factoring in a loft or second story with railing in small spaces – not only does the light from the loft or second story provide additional airiness to the space below, but it also creates additional interest – a corner of the home undiscovered to the viewers below.

5. Clever Design Elements

Incorporate clever design elements to add visual interest and maximize functionality in your dream home. Consider utilizing vertical space with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves or display areas. Install mirrors strategically to reflect light and create the illusion of more space. Choose furniture with built-in storage or modular pieces that can be easily rearranged to adapt to changing needs. Additionally, invest in quality finishes, fixtures, and materials that elevate the overall aesthetic and add a luxurious touch to your home.

6. Energy Efficiency

Designing a dream home with smaller square footage provides an opportunity to prioritize energy efficiency. Choose energy-efficient appliances, lighting fixtures, and HVAC systems to reduce your environmental footprint and lower utility costs. Insulate the home properly and consider incorporating renewable energy sources such as solar panels. Efficient insulation and energy-conscious design choices contribute to a comfortable living environment while being mindful of sustainability.

7. Outdoor Living Spaces

Make the most of the available space by extending your living area to the outdoors. In the mountains of Western North Carolina, this is one the best ways to make the most of a smaller footprint house plan.  Create a functional and inviting outdoor living space that seamlessly integrates with your smaller dream home.  Almost all of clients opt for screened outdoor living spaces, as they provide additional room for relaxation, entertainment, and enjoying nature. If you’re working with an especially small footprint and your outdoor living space is also on the smaller side, choose space-saving furniture, such as foldable tables and chairs to optimize the area. Incorporate greenery, potted plants, and vertical gardens to add a touch of nature and create a serene atmosphere.

8. Collaborating with a Design + Build Firm

To ensure the successful realization of your dream home with smaller square footage, it is beneficial to collaborate with a design+ build firm. A design + build firm is experienced in the practice of working with clients’ budgets and desires, and designing a home that fits all of their needs.  They possess the expertise to maximize the potential of your space and transform your vision into a well-designed reality. A design + build firm will help you navigate the challenges of construction, offer innovative solutions, and ensure that your dream home meets your desires, no matter the issues which may come up along your construction journey. Their professional guidance will streamline the design and construction process, resulting in a customized home that perfectly suits your needs and preferences.

9. Leave Room for the Future

If you’re building a long-term home and you need to start with a smaller amount of square footage than you initially imagined, there are many ways to plan ahead and leave room for expanding in the future. If you’re building in Asheville or the mountain of Western North Carolina – good news: the mountainous terrain almost always calls for  (or at the least allows for) a walkout basement design. This is one of the most expansive ways to plan for future square footage, as the basement can be as large as the main level of your home. We also love planning for detached garages with a future-use guest suite, office or studio. Some homes may have 2nd or 3rd floor bonus room potential, where future expansion could easily take place. Always speak with your builder about the areas you may want to finish later on. There are actions you can take during your home’s initial construction that will make finishing those spaces later on much easier.

10. Incorporating Smart Home Technology

Integrating smart home technology into your dream home adds a layer of convenience and efficiency, regardless of its size. With advancements in home automation, you can control various aspects of your home, such as lighting, temperature, security, and entertainment, with ease. Install smart thermostats, lighting systems, and security cameras to enhance energy efficiency and improve the overall functionality of your smaller home. Smart home technology not only adds a modern touch but also simplifies your daily routines and enhances your lifestyle.

11. Showcasing Personal Style and Taste

Lastly, embrace the opportunity to showcase your personal style and taste in the design of your dream home. Customization is key, regardless of the square footage. Select finishes, materials, and decor that resonate with your aesthetic vision. Incorporate unique architectural details, personalized artwork, and cherished possessions to infuse your personality into the space. Your dream home should reflect your individuality and become a sanctuary that brings you joy and comfort.


Q1: Can a smaller home still be a dream home?

Absolutely! A dream home is not defined by its size but rather by how it fulfills your desires and meets your needs. A smaller home allows for greater attention to detail, efficient use of space, and customization, resulting in a comfortable and stylish living environment. Often times, we have found that planning a smaller dream or retirement home often means the home is more thoughtfully designed.

Q2: How can I make the most of smaller square footage in my dream home?

To make the most of smaller square footage, focus on thoughtful space planning, incorporate multifunctional spaces, utilize efficient storage solutions, create an open and airy design, incorporate clever design elements, prioritize energy efficiency, embrace outdoor living spaces, collaborate with a design + build firm, leave yourself room to increase the home’s size in the future,  incorporate smart home technology, and showcase your personal style and taste.

Q3: What are some design tips for maximizing space in a smaller home?

Use vertical space to your advantage (think floor to ceiling everything – bookshelves, mirrors, curtains, etc),  incorporate built-in storage, choose modular furniture (furniture that serves more than one use, like a couch with a pull out bed), use mirrors to create the illusion of more space, and prioritize an open and airy design with ample natural light.

Q4:How can smart home technology enhance a smaller dream home?

Smart home technology can enhance a smaller dream home by providing convenience and efficiency. Automated lighting, programmable thermostats, and voice-activated virtual assistants streamline daily tasks. Smart home systems allow you to control lighting, temperature, security, and entertainment with ease, adding a luxurious touch to your small dream home while improving energy efficiency.

Q5: What role does a design + build firm play in designing a smaller dream home?

A design + build firm  plays a crucial role in designing a smaller dream home. They have the expertise to maximize the potential of the space, offer innovative solutions, and ensure that the design meets all of your need. Collaborating with an experienced design + build firm  ensures a well-designed and customized home that perfectly suits your needs and preferences.