Why we need to change the way we think when living smaller

While urbanisation continues to grow, our living spaces get smaller - but it's how we live in them that matters.

Living smaller is a reality for many, as housing remains expensive and people are choosing to live closer to the city. As we move closer together, there's a new way of thinking that could help us live in the space we're in and not feel like we have to compensate. Here, Tiffany Buckins, the head of interior design at IKEA Australia and Dr Thea Brejzek, Professor of Spatial Theory at UTS reveal how we should be thinking about the function of our spaces, rather than what's in them. 

Suit to your space

As our living spaces become smaller, Tiffany Buckins says we need to think about how to work with our space, rather than trying to make the space work for our belongings.

"It's consciously thinking about what is it you do within that space, what brings you the most joy, and then suiting that purchase to relate to those needs," she explains.

To make better use of a space, consider what that space is designed to offer and then cater to that need.

Living tiny, thinking bigger

Structurally, the tiny home platform could work for a wider community, but it would need to be approached differently. As Tiffany says, "In the future we can look into solutions that will be able to connect tiny homes together with a communal space," Tiffany offers.

"It definitely has a purpose in how we evolve our living trends," she says.

Dr Thea also considers the platform as a viable option for our evergrowing communities: "We need to look at creative solutions and also at temporary solutions so that we can have fluctuating communities, and the tiny home movement can offer that."

While the dimensions may be tight, Tiffany suggests that the thinking process needs to change when considering the interiors. Instead of buying more for use, it's thinking about what people need in a home to make it a home - essentially, less is more. "When it comes to tiny homes, the key is going to be ensuring that we’re making the right purchases from the start, and really being mindful in the decisions that we’re making," she suggests. 

Minimal for more

As we move into smaller spaces, Dr Thea predicts that minimal structure will be at the core of how spaces will function. The professor says the trend will make us consider the basic questions of architecture and design, which is deliberating what we need and what we don't.

While minimal may be the key, it doesn't mean you lose your signature style. "Individuality is more important than ever, " says Tiffany. "Nobody wants a cookie cutter format. Everyone wants to personalise and make a space their own, which we see in the popularity of DIY furniture hacks - taking furniture that’s mass produced and making it your own is a trend that we continue to see every day."

Dr Thea also agrees, and suggests one sleek and sophisticated style to rule: "The Scandinavian trend is just really, really attractive," she says. "It’s attractive to many age groups because it acts as a base, a foundation you can build upon by adding your individual style." 

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