Tips on how to optimise small spaces in Architecture
Ashleigh Clarke Architects

Tips on how to optimise small spaces in Architecture

Posted: September, 2020

Author: AC Architects


Smaller and compact apartments are being built more each day, architects and interior designers are challenged to create multifunctional solutions and systems capable of optimising smaller spaces in a way that every inch makes a difference. Professionals need to focus on designing creative furniture solutions that will allow the space to be transformed completely within seconds!

It is a very exciting challenge for an architect and attention to detail will matter. There are many tips out there to optimise smaller spaces!

Here are some design tips on how you can optimise small spaces:

Let there be light

  • Not all views are created equal. There will need to be lots of thought with the site lines when placing windows. An architect will need to work with their client to avoid any ugly views, and instead maximise views with the sky and trees to enhance the beauty of natural light, making the room look open and light.
  • Skylights, transoms and clerestory windows are the ones to look for. These windows are higher up on the wall, so they let in light and still maintain your privacy. Installing clerestory windows is a smart solution especially for granny flats positioned in alleys or in high traffic areas where privacy will need to be key.
  • The more natural light the better, this will make any small space brighter and more pleasant.
  • The maximise natural light, it should ideally come from at least two different directions inside your accessory dwelling unit.

Finding the right expert

  • It will be important to look for an architect or designer who has the right skillset with design tips for small spaces with an eye for detail.

Ceiling Height

  • It will be important to think about maximising the height of your ceiling. It will make your space feel bigger and much more spacious. Vault your ceiling if possible.


  • Designing for small spaces can incorporate creative uses of salvaged materials. It will be important to plan the salvaged materials ahead of time so that you can work it into your plan. This will make it easier to incorporate early. Up-cycle materials will make a very interesting focal point to a room and a wonderful design element.

Elements to incorporate

  • Exposed beams not only provide a lovely design element, they give extra headroom when you’re constrained by height. Pocked doors will save a lot of space, especially in bathrooms and are very functional. You will need to include your electrician in the planning process, because pocket doors can consume space needed for plumbing lines and electrical. Maximise storage where you can, think about how to use storage corners or even spaces below the stairs. Think about the thing’s you will most likely need to store away more.

Maximise outdoor space

  • A patio will serve as your second living room during the summer months. Think about building a deck or outdoor space. French sliding doors are very popular to use, especially as they maximise light and create a direct connection to the outside world and nature.

Create long views

A beautiful view is something we all like to wake up to avoid doors and stairwell walls which block views. Minimise furniture and clutter to help you create more of a spacious look. Finally the further your eyes can roam the more it will give you the impression of spaciousness.

Display of artwork

Try to display artwork above eye level. This will give the illusion of a very tall ceiling!

Bright artwork will open up the walls and give a sense of light around the house. It will also let in beautiful light and give a sense of elegance.

Author: AC Architects