IKEA jumps on Smaller House Bandwagon

Newsflash! IKEA designers have teamed up with Ideabox and helped designed its (Ideabox) debut prefab home called ‘Aktiv’. Wow, IKEA knows small homes!

Small house and IKEA? What’s the connection? Well, you’re about to find out!

IKEA design house
IKEA design house | Photo from Ideabox.us/models/aktiv/

IKEA, as we all know (and really love), is known for its ready-to-assemble furniture – designs and products. They have come a long way and their products are being sold worldwide. How cool is that?

Not so long ago, it has been reported that IKEA designers teamed up with Ideabox and helped designed its (Ideabox) debut prefab home called ‘Aktiv’. Well, even though IKEA designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, you won’t need your wrench on this one. This small home is already ‘assembled’ and will be delivered to you as is or in two big pieces.  Cost? >> $86,500.

IKEA design house living room
IKEA design house living room | ideabox.us/models/aktiv/

And since this small home was created in collaboration with IKEA (Portland), a brand that we already trust when it comes to our furniture, this looks to be a really good deal.

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So, what does it say about small spaces? Well, as you know, small house is really ‘in’ at the moment. And we, at Small House Life, think that this isn’t just a style that will be ‘obsolete’ in the coming season – or years. This is more than just a ‘hot trend’. It means more than anything like that. With all the usual but never-ending problems homeowners (not just in the U.S. but worldwide) encounter such as huge bills, mortgages and more, it’s no wonder that most of them are becoming more and more interested in living in small house. This is, of course, to gain the huge and helpful benefits of living in one.

IKEA design house bedroom
IKEA design house bedroom | Ideabox.us/models/aktiv/

What are the benefits, you ask? Well, aside from the lower bills and stuff, living in a small home is kind of liberating. Mind you, living in a small home goes hand in hand with downsizing; therefore, it’s a lifestyle choice. It may not be for everyone but if it will give you a peace of mind financially, it’s definitely worth a try.

Anyway, for small home owners, IKEA jumping on the ‘small house bandwagon’ is a really good sign. And a really good news at that. Since a lot of people (including us) trust IKEA when it comes to their furniture, it’s certainly good to know that they are now designing and selling furniture purposely for small spaces. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are selling smaller furniture though. Rather, they are selling furniture that is cleverly designed to fit, work and be used in small houses. Well, that’s really good news!

More info on the ‘Aktiv’ model when you visit Ideabox website at ideabox.us/models/aktiv/.

IKEA Small House Plan 621 Square Feet

Once again we go inside an IKEA Small House. This time the IKEA house plan is 621 square feet. Pictures from Austin store shows IKEA

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Check out the IKEA house plan that’s 621 square feet.  Everyone seemed to love our first 376 square foot IKEA floorplan article so much that we decided to bring you more.  

This small house is almost twice the size as the first one!

And once again IKEA shows how you can get a whole lot of living in a very small space. You’ll get great IKEA storage ideas as well. FYI…just cuz a lot of you have asked, I don’t sell IKEA floorplans. I just took these pictures at our IKEA store.

We like to start out by showing you the actual floor plan so you can get a visual as we walk through the different IKEA rooms.

This particular small house has a nice open living, kitchen, dining area.. along with two bedrooms and one bath.

There’s even a washer and dryer in the bath so you don’t have to leave the house to do laundry.

Downsizing is not about doing without..but living abundantly in a small space.

IKEA 621 Living Kitchen

Cozy living room with a comfy sofa which could definitely be a sleeper sofa for overnight guests.

IKEA 621 Living Room

Obviously you’re going to enjoy your smaller house better if you’re organized. One of the great things about IKEA is that they have storage solutions for every room in the house.

This is an absolutely gorgeous kitchen, small house or not. I am hooked on the white subway tile, and the glossy 4×4 tile that is featured in this IKEA kitchen.

IKEA 621 Kitchen

IKEA 621 Dining

Perfectly workable dining room for four. Again notice the storage.  Remember you can always go up with storage with you’re trying to use your space most effectively.

IKEA 621 Master Bedroom

Lovely IKEA master bedroom. I don’t know why I didn’t think to take a picture of the storage in this room, but if you’ll refer back to the floor plan, you’ll see that an entire wall is devoted to storage in this bedroom. 

And of course you can see the storage over the bed in this picture.

IKEA 621 Bathroom

Here is the small IKEA bath complete with double sinks and even a washer and dryer.

IKEA 621 Extra Bedroom

They managed to squeeze in a secondary bedroom in this tiny 621 square foot home. You could do bunk beds for a much more efficient use of space in this kids room.

IKEA 621 Extra bedroom Storage

Three areas of storage here.. The storage closet, underneath the bed storage.. and shelves at the very top near the ceiling.  Imagine the efficiency of this small bedroom if it had a bunkbed with storage underneath?  Plus it would look much more streamlined than with a plastic box under the bed.   Hey, how about the night light?

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Small House Plans – 936 Square Feet

Small House plans analysis! We take a 936 sq.ft. small floor plan and critique the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s important to find a good

Small Floor Plans – 936 Square Feet – Review #2

Yoohoo! Our second Small House plans review! This is where we take a 936 sq.ft. small floor plan and critique the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s important to find a good plan but the true enjoyment of your home is in the details.

It’s so easy to miss ‘little’ things that end up being a huge disappointment later. We are here to hopefully help you avoid these mistakes.  Architect’s details of small houseplan.

ArchitecturalDesigns.com W266668GG Small House Plan

There are many things to love about this little cottage plan. Typically, for me when I see a plan I like, I start out thinking ‘oh, this house is perfect.’ ..And then I start tearing it apart. LOL But that’s not a bad thing because if the plan looks really good at first glance, often the undesirable aspects are easily rectified. But first you have to know what they are, right?
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One quick note: As I mentioned in our first analysis, just because I think a feature needs to be changed, doesn’t mean you want it fixed. My objective here is to simply point out what I see.. The good points you might want to keep in mind as you look for your own house plan.. as well as potential problem areas.

Small House plan Highlights:

  1. Very little wasted space – few hallways
  2. Nice entry with little foyer and closet.
  3. Interesting dining & family room ceiling details.
  4. Great big breakfast bar.
  5. Refrigerator strategically placed around a corner & against a wall.
  6. Although this is a small living room, there’s still a cozy sitting space with entertainment wall because of the design.  But do switch the door as I outlined under the “Negatives.”
  7. Like how the secondary bath cannot be seen from living areas.
  8. Secondary bath – Big shower, good size vanity, no linen closet but you can add cabinet over commode.
  9. Laundry closet has room for stackable washer/dryer plus small storage space.
  10. Decent size master bedroom tucked away, with good closets and roomy master bath.

Small House plan Negatives:

  1. The front door is placed sideways so you don’t see it from the street.
  2. Entry is directly into dining room. Personally I don’t mind it, but a lot of people do.
  3. No pantry in the kitchen
  4. Kitchen – I’d flip the stove and sink. Definitely!
  5. Family room: Have the exterior door swing from the right door because you’ll probably have a sofa against that right wall,and you want the door to swing out into an open area.
  6. Secondary bedrooms are pretty darn small; but this is a small house.
  7. Secondary bedroom closets are really tiny.
  8. No bathtubs in the house.  Not necessarily a deal breaker (or a problem with resale) but I like to have at least one.
  9. No garage, which means if you want one, you’ll have to buy a garage plan

Small Cottage

Charming elevation for this small house, don’t you agree?  Steep roof adds to the cottage look.  If you’re on a budget, you might want to bring the roof pitch down some to save materials cost.  That’s it!  I hope you enjoyed out 2nd small floor plan analysis.

[note color=”#ffffcc”]Small House Plan INFO:Purchase details for >> Cottage House Plan[/note]
Do you want me to critique a houseplan that you are considering? I’d be glad to! If it’s a question, send me a tweet at Twitter.com/SmallHouseLife. But if you want a detailed analysis like we have on this page, then contact me here and we’ll see about adding you to our ‘House plan Analysis’ series.

IKEA – Small House 376 Square Feet

IKEA Small House pictures show us how to get a whole lot of living out of a tiny 376 sq. ft. floorplan. Get small house design tips along

[adrotate banner=”30″]Here is our first IKEA post of a small house.. There’s a big IKEA in Austin, Texas right off Hwy-35, as you go towards Dallas. Hubby and I went there to purchase cabinet drawer pulls and thought it would be fun for our viewers at SmallHouseLife.com to see some of IKEA’s small house decorating. So the small space you’ll see today is a 376 square foot small house with living room, kitchen and small eating nook, bedroom and small bathroom. Oh! and loads of storage.

IKEA Store Texas
Just had to show you the outside of the Austin IKEA because, number one, it’s pretty darn impressive.. you can see it for miles, but also I wanted you to get a good look at that gorgeous Texas blue sky. This picture was taken Dec. 2011.

IKEA 376 Floorplan
IKEA 376 Square Foot Floorplan

Check out the photo above to get the small house floorplan. This will help you visualize the space as we move from room to IKEA room!

IKEAS 376 Bedroom
OK, so first up is the small bedroom. A brilliant way to get the most living out of a small space. Basically the bed is built in by surrounding it with storage compartments. You have the compact bedside tables (with drawers) and hanging storage units,along with full size clothing storage units. And notice the bedside reading light attached to the wall so as not to take up precious table space.

IKEAS 376 Living

Moving right along into the small living room. You’ll have to excuse all the IKEA tags. Obviously there’s nothing I could do about that. So just try and tune them out! Again, storage units mounted overhead to take advantage of the dead space over the sofa. See how the ottoman doubles as storage?

Smart, and you can now get an array of different sized and colors of ottomans almost everywhere these days.. Marshall’s, Ross’s, TJ Max.

IKEAS Living Room

Here another view of the small living room as you look to the kitchen. I like how they used one floor type for continuity into one space from another. This is an easy trick to use to extend the feeling of space when you actually have practically none. 🙂

IKEAS KitchenAhhh, we’re at the galley kitchen. Who would have thought they could even get dining seating in here, but they did! Run the major components against one wall..

Fridge, sink, stove, with complete storage cabinets. Then the other side of the small kitchen is utilized for the dining space and even a butcher block table for additional prep space. The next picture is a close up of the storage space you see over the dining table.

IKEA Kitchen shelfAs promised, a closer look at the storage unit over the dining table. Even though IKEA went for a more decorative look, you could use the storage cubes for cook books, dishes, etc.

So, there you have it.. our first ever IKEA small house tour. We’ll have more soon!

[note color=”#FFf666″]If you liked this post, please share the love with your Facebook and Twitter friends. [/note]

Leave IKEA Small House for HOME

Small House Plans – 1200 Square Feet

We promised you small house plans analysis so here is the first one… Don’t make common mistakes when selecting a small house design..

Small House Plans – Country Living Plan Review #1

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We promised you small house plans reviews so you can be ‘in the know’ when selecting your own floorplan. Here is the first one… an extremely well thought-out 1200 sq. ft. small house design.

First I’ll show you the floor plan and then explain what makes it so great, along with places I’d consider changing. Architect details here.

This small house plan is a perfect example of how you can live big in small spaces. It truly has some of the best small house design features I’ve seen as I’ll explain.

Photo Credit: ArchitecturalDesigns.com -1200 Square Foot Country FloorPlan

The design is about as inexpensive as you’ll ever get. Why?

* Eight foot plate (the outside ceiling height that the roof rests on.)  Now you could make the living,dining,kitchen area seem bigger by bringing the ceiling up to nine or ten feet in the center.  This adds volume without costing too much extra.

* Simple roof design.

* Minimal cuts.. As we’ve mentioned before, multiple cuts add to the cost.

* Two car garage but about as narrow as you can get and still hold two cars.

* Tiny front porch and a patio in the back instead of a porch.  One thing people often forget is that every part of your small house costs.  A 1200 square foot house with 525 sq. ft. extra outdoor space is a heck of a lot cheaper than 1000 sq. ft. of additional outdoor living space.

* One sink in each bathroom and only a tub in the master bath instead of separate tub and shower.

* No fireplace

* Looks like it has mainly 3050 windows.. 3’wide by 5’high (which you’ll see in the Elevation images further along) and they are a standard window size to be picked up from Lowes or Home Depot without special ordering.  Anytime you special order, it’s going to cost more, plus there’s generally a no return policy on those items.

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Quality small house design features.

* Just enough front porch for a welcoming bench and great street appeal.

* No wasted foyer space along with a living room capable of multiple furniture configurations.

* Love the Living room, dining room, kitchen layout.  Couple of items to note.  I would not recommend double french doors from the dining room unless you add a porch (roof) over the patio.  I don’t care how much money you spend on double doors, they can leak if the rain hits just so.  Better to opt for a standard door here.

And you might consider making the counter space from the refrigerator to the dining room into a nice pantry.  Or shift the fridge to the right and create a corner pantry.

This house plan also has one of my all time favorite features.. a window in the kitchen!  I just love having a window in my kitchen and if you notice, that’s a little hard to find in today’s stock plans.

* Moving to the right of this small house plan, the secondary bedrooms and bath are without flaw.  The bath layout is even “right”.. meaning it doesn’t have my number one pet peeve; seeing straight into the bathroom from the living room.  See how we had to flip a bath to fix that problem here at 5 Mistakes not to make in Small House Plans – Mistake #3.

Now, the bath is pretty small so I’d definitely put in a cabinet above the commode.  Just don’t put a big clunker where you bump your head every time you turn on the tub water.  The other option is to carve out shelves for the bath from Bedroom #3’s closet.

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Now, granted the second bedrooms are not too big.  But the spacious closets will help offset that by getting your stuff into the closets instead of cluttering up the rooms.

* Over to the master suite.  I appreciate how it’s a little offset, and NOT directly off dining area or living room as many are with such small floor plans.  Thoughtful design element.

Very spacious master closet although you’re not going to get rods on both the left and right side with a 5’2″ width closet.  Hanging clothes take up about 2 feet, so better to have right side (wall with the closet door) with a bank of 12″ shelves.  We put see-through baskets on our shelves to hold socks, under-garments, belts, shoes, etc.

Phew.. OK, if you’re still with me, you might want to stop a minute and sign up for our awesome weekly FREE Magazine.

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Let’s talk master bath:  Couple of points to think about.. Try and shift the sink to the left so you can get small stack of drawers at right side.  Also, you might just want a shower instead of the tub.  As long as there’s a tub in the second bath, you’ll have one tub in the house; it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the master bath.

* Laundry Room.. can you believe the size of the laundry room for this small house?  It’s a fabulous laundry space!  And I love the location, too.

* Even the hallway from the garage is useful.  Note the area for extra storage or perhaps a bench to sit down and take off your shoes as you come in.  You could still have cabinets above and a place to hang your keys.  I personally love having that little bit of space for coming and going.

* Lastly, the garage.  I’m telling you, I think this architect thought of everything.  It’s a two car garage, which most everyone would want, but with the width and 23’8″ depth layout it’s just enough for two cars and extra storage at the  end.. or an extra long truck.  That way you have a garage that functions ideally without additional cost.  Sweet.

Now we  check out the elevations (front and back views) of this small house plan.


ArchitecturalDesigns - Country Front Elevation

This small house plan front elevation does NOT disappoint! It’s a simple, classic design that never goes out of style. And because the architect was careful to give it only enough gables to make it appealing, he/she has kept the construction cost down for you. Additional cost-saving measures are the standard size (3050) windows along with the low pitched roof.

ArchitecturalDesigns.com - Back Elevation

Here’s the back of the house. Remember the floorplan showed a big patio.. not a porch. Let’s talk about that for a minute. First off, you can keep it that way and if you pour the slab for the patio instead of as a whole with the house, you’ll save about half the cost on that part of the concrete. Typically a house slab will cost twice what ‘flat work’ or driveways, patios, walkways and the like will cost.

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However, a porch would definitely be a delightful living space. In that case, your contractor will pour the patio slab as part of the house and extend the porch roof by way of a gable.. At least that’s how I’d do it. And frankly, if it fits the budget, I’d add the porch.. and most definitely add a porch if the back of your home faces the west sun.

You might wonder what qualifies me to critique it? Well I’ve built homes.. small and large, for most of my adult life.. After putting numerous houses on the ground and watching them grow from paper to ‘real life’, I’ve developed a pretty good barometer for what works and what doesn’t. That said, of course, there are elements of a small house plan that might bug me but are perfectly fine for you. No problem; I just want to point them out to raise awareness and then ultimately you must decide.

[note color=”#FFFFCC”]All info about this cool small house plan can be found here.. including ordering instructions.

If you do order this house, we get a commission (so thank you!) and please share with us so we can add your new home into our Small Home Gallery.[/note]

Small House Lover, Darlene 🙂

5 Mistakes NOT to make with Small House Plans

SmallHouseLife.com walks you through five of the more common small house plans mistakes and how to avoid them. Get these elements right

blueprint floorplan
Photo credit: Can Stock Photo Inc

So many small house plans to choose from; how do you decide?  Selecting the right floor plan for your small house is essential to the enjoyment of your new home.

Get this part right and you can enjoy your small house for years to come.  Get it wrong, and it can be a huge disappointment.

SmallHouseLife.com walks you through five of the more common floorplan mistakes and how to avoid them.  You want every square foot to flow, live large and be functional.

Small House Plans –  Mistake 1

Not enough planning and preparation.  You’re excited about building a new home and you dive right in there looking at all the cool floor plans without taking the time to drill down on the essential elements that will work for your family.  Yes, you’ve decided on the number of bedrooms or that you want an office, but have you stopped to consider exactly what your needs are?

Only once you determine the particular desires of your family, can you get a clear picture of which floor plan will work best for you.

My suggestion is to sit down with your spouse (if applicable!) .. and even the kids (if you have them!) and have everyone write down what they want in a house.   Separate bedrooms for the kids?  Office.. or two? Outdoor living space, big kitchen, little kitchen, quiet reading spot?  The list is endless, but it’s also unique to each family.  So take the time to write down everyone’s wish list.  You will have to trim the list, especially because you’re building a small house, but the important thing is to get it on paper.
[note color=”#FFFFE0″] TIP: Separate the needs from the wants. List what is non-negotiable and what can be scratched if necessary. [/note]

Small House Plans – Mistake 2

Not considering how rooms can perform double duty.
Once you’ve figured out what your small house plans wants/needs, you’ll want to start thinking about how you can get them all into your small floor plan.

Frank Betz Small Floor Plan
Frank Betz - Nickerson floor plan - 1627 sq. ft.

So you must have a formal dining room?  Uhhum.. ok, but can you also use that space as a card room or library?  Need a separate guest room so your guests can be comfy?  It could also be the place to go for your quiet reading (when guests aren’t occupying it.)

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<< See the floor plan to your left?  We’ve built this house several times and lived in it once.  We used the ‘Dining Room’ as an office and put our huge 7 foot dining room table in the ‘Vaulted Breakfast’ area.  Our teenage daughter was in ‘Bedroom 3’ and my office and workout room were in the front ‘Bedroom 2’ for the morning sun.

Which actually brings up another very important point: How is the layout in relation to the sun? I built a house one time where the kitchen and breakfast room didn’t get a ray of morning sun. I just never thought about it at the time I picked the house plan. It bothered me till the day we sold because I love sunshine in the mornings.

Thinking of how rooms can perform double duty can actually be fun to consider.. And it is crucial to multi purpose space with small houses.  The key to optimum functionality is creative use of the space. This requires us to think outside the box of conventional room purposes.  We want the rooms in our new home to work beyond the ordinary!

Small House Plans –  Mistake 3

Not considering how the layout will ‘live.’  I’m going to stick with the floorplan in the picture here for illustration of this common mistake.

First let’s talk about what works in this plan.  We liked the layout of the split bedrooms because that segregated the spaces better than having all the bedrooms bunched together..  We also liked the open family, kitchen and breakfast areas because we are casual people.  And we liked the big Patio right off the Family room.

Now let’s discuss what did not work for us and how we changed the layout to ‘live’ right for our family.  This floorplan has one of my #1 pet peeves.  I cannot stand to have a straight view of a bathroom.  Notice how as you come into the Foyer, you can see right into the hall bath.  What we did was flip that bathroom as you see in this little picture. small bathroomSo from the foyer, we were then looking at a wall instead of the doorway to the small bath.. plus because the door opened the other way, even with the door open, you looked into a wall (inside the bath) instead of the commode and sink.

[note color=”#FFFFE0″] TIP: Turn the floor plan around that you’re considering and look at it from different angles. It helps give a different perspective. [/note]

Small House Plans –  Mistake 4

Selecting a small house plan that’s expensive to build.  Of course this only matters if you’re budget conscious, but if you’re thinking of small houses you probably care at least somewhat about cost.  And, what you save by using a simple small house design, you’ll have extra for some ‘must have’ perks like hardwood floors, a country sink or cool water feature.

I remember when I first started building.  I thought it was only about the square footage.  Keep the house small and it would be cheap, right?  Wrong!  LOL.. I had selected the cutest house you ever saw and it was only about 1400 square feet.  But here’s what made it expensive to build:  Lot’s of angles and cuts to the plan, fancy arched windows, lots of outdoor spaces which still cost money even though it’s not part of the interior square footage.
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BTW, the floor plan we’re using for this illustration is relatively inexpensive to build.  It has a very simple, low roof line and fairly compact design.  Here are the areas that add to the cost: vaulted ceiling in the Family room, tray ceiling in the Master suite, the fireplace, and where you see ‘columns’ we made into bulky arches.

You’ll want some small house design extras but just be sensitive to the fact that every one of them costs extra financially.  So pick your spots wisely.
House for Sale

Small House Plans –  Mistake 5

Forgetting that you might want to sell one day.  I can’t tell you how many people I know who are living in their 2nd or 3rd ‘last home.’  Of course, you want to make it your own.  Part of the fun of building a custom home instead of buying a resale house, is that you get to put your design flair touches on it.

That said, I encourage you to strike a happy balance… just in case you do end up selling.

If you want a hot pink bathroom, by all means paint the walls pink and buy vibrant pink towels and accessories!  But I’d suggest the tile (floor and bathtub/shower) be a neutral cream or white.  You can still get the look you’re after without compromising future resale value.  And yes, you’re going to have to paint the pink walls a neutral color before you put the house on the market.

Say you’ve figured out you can be happy with two bedrooms.  If you’re building a tiny house or very small house (maybe less than 800 feet) that’s fine, but anything bigger and I’d probably squeeze a tiny third bedroom in there for optimum resale.  This kind of goes back to Mistake #2.. if you’re rethinking how to use rooms anyway, you can use that 3rd bedroom you don’t need for a sewing room or music retreat.