Thursday, August 4, 2011

Smaller Homes, More Careful Design

“A home doesn’t need to be big, just smart.” That’s the headline on the cover of the new 2012 Ikea catalog. The cover picture shows a room that, with careful design, is doing the work of two. The catalog as a whole shows that Ikea is following the trend toward smaller houses with more designs that solve problems in smaller spaces.

It is the opposite of the trend in home furnishings of 55 years ago, when furniture was oversized, overstuffed, and designed to look bigger than it was so that your big new house wouldn’t look so empty. Now the objective in design is to fit things in smaller spaces without making the smaller house or apartment look crowded.

If you can spend the time to figure it out, furnishing a house to maximize the use of the space costs a lot less than you would spend to trade up to a house that is 25 percent larger. Elaborately designed, space-efficient furniture isn’t an extravagance when you compare it to the alternative, and it’s a trend that I’m sure will continue for years to come.