The way we build and design our homes has changed over the last few years. Homes have gone through vast and expansive transformations, some of which would have not even been possible not that long ago.
From all-out maximalism with loud and eccentric designs to the smart homes of the future that incorporate technology in almost every aspect of the house, the everyday home has indeed gone through many changes.
These shifts have all been influenced by the design trends in the world today.
Like most movements in culture, trends are a reflection of the times — or even a reaction to other trends.
An example of this would be the rising popularity of small space housing or downsizing. Downsizing is in large part a reaction to the growing climate crisis.
After all, The Conversation reveals that people who move to smaller homes significantly reduce their carbon footprint.
This trend is quickly growing and spreading all over the world, with each country adapting it in their own way.
If you’re interested in applying this to your own home, read on for five small space trends from all over the world!
1. United States – Van Life
In a move that may seem surprising to some, many Americans have packed up their homes and have started to transition into the downsized lifestyle of Van Life.
Van Life is the act of outfitting a van with the amenities of a home through rigorous customization. While many of these vans vary in design and livability, most of them have the bare necessities that constitute a home.
These homes on wheels are equipped with beds and power supplies that make life on the road a little more comfortable.
Some people take it a step further and install working kitchens in their vans — with running water to boot.
While we understand that you may not want to live your life on the road, there are some things you can learn from the Van Life.
One great takeaway would be using alternative sources of energy. Most vans are equipped with solar panels, as to not fully rely on batteries when on the road.
And for your small space home, you should have minimal problems making the shift to solar energy. In fact, companies such as Tesla have designed solar panels that are strong enough to power your entire household.
2. United Kingdom – Wood and Glass
While we usually associate the United Kingdom with grand castles such as those seen in the popular TV show Downtown Abbey, homeowners in the country have decided to scale it down a bit.
The Telegraph details how many newly built homes in the United Kingdom register at around 750 square feet, which is down from the 900 square feet averages from the 1970s.
However, this scaling down doesn’t mean simplified interiors. Small-scale housing has resulted in the increased use of light wood and glass that help give smaller spaces a more spacious feel.
And while you won’t really have to make too many adjustments with wood and glass design, one place you’ll have to be extra careful is in the bathroom.
Wood floorings, for example, are quite susceptible to water damage. This is why it’s important to have your bathroom checked before installation, as leaks could ruin your new wood floorings.
What’s more, British plumbing company HomeServe point out how burst pipes can cause quite a dent in your wallet, especially if they are not insured.
This is an inconvenience you definitely don’t want when you’re already spending on a major renovation to your small home bathroom.
After your panels have been installed, there are also more proactive measures you can take to deal with water damage.
One easy way to prevent it is by treating your wood flooring with either linseed or tung oil to give it a protective coating that’ll stave off water damage.
3. Japan – Decluttering
Small homes don’t have the luxury of excess storage space. This is why a new wave of decluttering has dominated in Japan.
And who is at the forefront of this new movement of minimalism and neatness?
Marie Kondo, who is the author of the massively influential The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, encourages people to reduce the number of unnecessary objects within their homes.
This can range from something as small as books and clothes to bigger objects such as couches and random ornaments.
So how do you decide whether to get rid of something or not? Marie Kondo explains how objects must “spark joy,” meaning that it’s something that you truly must have in your life.
And while this can be rather subjective, the sheer introspection that comes with weighing whether or not objects in your home spark joy should be enough for you to gauge if the object will be kept or not.
4. Singapore – Customized Built-ins
Flats have always been popular in Singapore, and these apartments have never been known for their size, so locals have had to make the most out of the space that they have.
However, instead of getting rid of things, the Singaporeans thought it would be a good idea to increase the storage space without adding new pieces to their flats.
They did this by making use of customized built-ins. Customized built-ins are efficient storage spaces integrated with pieces of furniture within the home.
Her World highlights how these are especially popular in smaller homes, as extra storage space is always welcome.
One tip we have for using customized built-ins is to develop a system when it comes to where things are placed.
A good rule of thumb would be to only keep things in rooms where they will be used.
For example, only store linen and extra pillows in the customized built-in added to your bed frame. This way you’re less likely to misplace anything, thus making your life exponentially easier.
5. Sweden – Houseplants
Houseplants are a famous element of Scandinavian design. Not only do they add another dimension to your home by making small spaces feel bigger, but they also provide your home with other benefits as well.
Treehugger highlights how having plants in your home can give you an assist in breathing by releasing more oxygen into the space.
Plants such as orchids and succulents are particularly good at this, as they continue to release oxygen at night.
Now, the most important thing you have to take note of when it comes to adding plants to your home is the type of plant you have.
Not all plants are suitable for the indoors as they require varying amounts of sunlight.
The Philadelphia Inquirer details that plants such as the spider plant can survive in low-light conditions and are not toxic to pets, meaning they should be a no-frills addition to any home.