Since the real estate bubble deflated seven years ago, many people have learned how to make the most of living their life by adjusting to a slightly smaller house.

If you have recently downsized your living arrangement, often work from home, or otherwise just short on space, follow these 5 simple solutions for making a small space seem big:

1. Organize Your Life and De-clutter Your Junk.

According to a recent study compiled by UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families, the amount of clutter in your home is directly related to the quality of life you experience.

They found a link between high cortisol (a common hormone associated with stress) levels in female home owners and an abundance of household objects. Basically the more stuff in a home, the more stress women feel.

Tip: a good rule of thumb is to take five minutes per hour to clean up the space around you.

Committing to a clutter free environment will make your rooms feel bigger and make you feel better.

2. Utilize Your Walls and Ceilings with Unique Storage Options.

Tip: Optimize floor space by getting as many things as possible off of it.

Here are few ideas to help you maximize your current wall space:

  • Hang your bicycle from the wall or ceiling with easy to install hooks.
  • Build shelves for books and other small items to be placed over doorways and, if possible, inside the wall space themselves.
  • Utilize the area above your kitchen cabinets for unused appliances, small empty boxes, and unused china and place settings.
  • Take advantage of room corners, many of which are underused and may provide ample amount of extra storage space when properly used.

3. Brighten things up… Let their be Light!

Tip: the more light you let into a room, the more spacious it will appear.

If you have consistent access to natural light such as big windows and glass doors, take advantage of them with sheer window panels. As an alternative, you can be sure each room is well-lit by adding table and floor lamps, hanging chandeliers, and wall sconces.

When it comes to selecting a paint, darker shades generally tend to impose on a space making it feel closed in. Try to select lighter, softer shades to “visually enlarge” your spaces.

Remember to use bright colors sparingly – such as for accent walls.

4. Go for Multi-function Furniture to Enlarge Cramped Rooms.
  • Instead of purchasing big odd shaped coffee tables and over-sized couches, try chests, sleeper type sofas, ottomans and wall benches with interior storage space instead.
  • Use collapsible end tables that can be folded or put away when needed.
  • Add vertical bookcases and push larger furniture toward the wall to avoid breaking up open living spaces.
5. Live a little more by taking advantage of the great outdoor areas around your home.
  • Trim your lawn and flowerbeds to avoid feeling crowded with overgrown and unkempt landscaping.
  • Enclose covered patios and expand hardscape spaces to further your living area outdoors.
  • Install a grill to “extend” the reach of your kitchen and dining areas.

Tip: relieve congestion in your garage with a tool shed or outdoor sheltered space to store seasonal and hardly used recreational equipment.

In short, by simplifying and organizing your life and home you can optimize any small living space to accommodate your daily routine and lifestyle.