10 Ways to Find More Space in a Small House

Our houses are shrinking. In fact, research shows that British new build homes are around 30 per cent smaller than they were 50 years ago. If you live in a modern, family home, you'll already know what we're talking about.

Older houses can feel small too, particularly period properties with low ceilings and bedrooms barely big enough for a double bed. Even if your home once felt like it was plenty big enough, the arrival of a child or two can turn your once generous dwelling into something rather pokey.

If you and your family are struggling to find space for everything in your house, here are some top ideas for discovering more space, even in the tiniest of dwellings.

1. Use height for storage: Look to high level shelving, floor to ceiling book cases and wall hung cupboards to maximise the storage space by using that wasted wall space above the eye line.

2. Built in where possible: Using built in cupboards to make the most of awkward shaped rooms can help create space where there was none before. If you have exposed stairs, use that space underneath to create useful toy or shoe storage for the family.

3. Divide and conquer: If you have large bedrooms, you could partition an existing room to create an additional bedroom, study or snug.

4. Use multipurpose furniture: Footstools with built in storage, nesting tables and divan beds are all very useful in the smaller home. Store towels, bedding, DVDs or games in these sneaky spaces to free up cupboard space for other things.

5. Use the attic: Attics are great additional spaces for those things you don't need very often. Seasonal supplies like Christmas or Halloween decorations are perfect for the loft, and if you like to hold on to boxes for your electrical items, the loft is the perfect place for these too.

6. Make a wet room: If you enjoy a shower more than a bath, consider getting rid of the bath entirely and turning your bathroom into a wet room. This will allow you to make the most of the floor space offered in this room, and will give you the scope to install cupboards, shelves and rails in order to store towels, cosmetics and toiletries.

7. Go outside: Most people's outside space is wasted, having only a damp old shed for tools and bikes. Consider building an insulated summerhouse which could double as a workshop or office for you and your family.

8. Make rooms dual purpose: When space is limited, make each room serve more than one purpose. Could your dining room also be your library? Maybe it could also double as an office when nobody is eating. Could the end of your kitchen hold a dining table?

9. Choose smaller furniture: A king size bed may be comfortable, but if it means you can't shut the bedroom door, maybe a standard double would be better. Living room furniture too can be downsized to create space. Choose sofas with narrow or no arms, and consider a corner group instead of separate seating to engineer some additional space.

10. Declutter: The last, and most important, tip is to get rid of the things you don't need. Clutter has an amazing ability to make even generously proportioned storage spaces seem tiny, so clear out the junk and give yourself more room to breathe. Decluttering your home is not as difficult as you may think but if you are not brave enough to dump the clutter then rent a self storage unit for a few months; store all your excess stuff there and see what it is like to live without the clutter - you may just be converted.