3 Homes That Make Living In Less Than 1,600 Square Feet Look Chic

These three homes have cute in every corner. Take a tour then get the look with HGTV Magazine.

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February 13, 2019

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

The House: 1,090 Square Feet

On a tree-lined street in a historic Houston, Texas, neighborhood sits a sweet little home known as The Bungalove to its owners. Jeanne and Amos Davis bought the 100-year-old house when they relocated from Atlanta, Georgia, a few years ago.

“What it lacks in square feet it makes up for in charm and functionality,” says Jeanne.

The couple turned up the dial on both. They put in eclectic accents, installed shiplap-style paneling in their bedroom and stretched the floor plan throughout. The living area doubles as a dining room—and triples as a library, thanks to a built-in bookcase by the front door.

The Family

Their space-crunching moves are even more important these days: When Jeanne and Amos moved in, it was just them and their dog, Pepper. Now they have a 9-month-old, Charlotte, and a baby on the way.

“Texans really like their square footage, so people keep telling us we need a bigger house,” says Jeanne, “but it’s the perfect size for our family.”

Living Room

“Because this is our only common area, it has to do it all, from playtime to party time,” says Jeanne. The slim coffee table from West Elm moves right into the hallway when more space is needed. Proving that patterns can mix nicely in a compact room, the traditional pink rug (a hand-me-down from Amos’ family) is neutral enough to blend with the prints on the sofa, chair and pillows. To make the bookcase stand out, Jeanne painted it Privilege Green by Sherwin-Williams and wallpapered the back.

Dining Area

On the other end of the living room, Jeanne and Amos set up a caned table and chairs Jeanne snagged on a trip to the antiques fair in Round Top, Texas. “It’s a good-size table, but the glass top keeps it from looking too heavy for the corner,” says Jeanne. Not wanting to waste a free wall, they added tall shelves from CB2 that hold books, magazines and Jeanne’s flea market treasures.

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Kitchen

Previous owners updated the kitchen (even stenciling the linoleum floor), but it still lacked counter space. Enter a narrow butcher-block-top island from Overstock.

“We do our prep work on it, and we set up an assembly line there when we make tacos,” says Jeanne. She filled most of the shelves with favorite cookbooks, art and accessories—then styled some with all white items to avoid making the whole display seem too busy.

Master Bedroom

To give their 10-foot-by-12-foot room character, the couple installed horizontal wall paneling and painted it white. The headboard, from World Market, fits in front of the windows with enough clearance for a tiny table on either side.

Master Bedroom

“We keep a lot stored under the bed!” says Jeanne. The room used to share a wall with a big utility closet where junk piled up. “Moving the water heater to the attic and converting the space to a master bathroom was one of our smartest moves,” says Jeanne. Amos built the sliding barn door, a charming space-saver, and Jeanne painted it Prescott Green by Benjamin Moore.

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Nursery

Baby Charlotte scored the sunniest spot in the house. It’s decorated with thrifted art the couple already owned plus kid-friendly touches, including mini shelves and bookracks from IKEA, which Jeanne painted to match the ceiling (Wythe Blue by Benjamin Moore). The knotted rug is from HomeGoods.

The House: 1,478 Square Feet

Not everyone would be excited to move out of a 5,000-square-foot house on a lake, but Jamee and Todd Kelly were gung ho to go. They’d raised three children and no longer needed so much space.

“We also decided to give ourselves permission to be kids again and find a home we could have fun redoing,” says Jamee, a real estate agent. They had big expectations, though: “Since we were moving out of somewhere special, we didn’t want to settle.”

She scoped out the revitalized downtown of Oklahoma City and found a 1915 bungalow that was actually fresh off a glam redo.

The Family

The home's previous owner rehabbed homes for a living, and he’d taken down walls to open up the living space.The only construction the couple did was build a walk-in shower in the master bathroom; otherwise, they just added personality throughout. “Our old place was so large that I used to text the kids to come to dinner!” says Jamee. “Now when they’re home, they tell us they enjoy it here more, because we’re all together.”

The Living Room

The Kellys’ former home was rustic central, with cedar beams and maple woodwork. “I felt determined to be different here and do lots of color, but then I realized that lighter shades would help the rooms look larger,” says Jamee. She picked earthy-soft tones for the sectional, the baskets and the rug (all from West Elm). Then she added Southwestern flair with pillows in terra-cotta and blue and a towering cactus that helps highlight the 10-foot ceiling. An amateur artist, Jamee made the blue painting; she calls it Digital Rain.

Dining Area

To Jamee, form was just as important as function for the dining area, to give the small space presence. That’s why she chose angular leather seats from West Elm and a round table from CB2 with a chrome and brass base. This is where the couple catches up with their children when they visit and ponder important questions, such as: Greatest band of all time—The Rolling Stones or The Beatles? The jute rug is by Serena & Lily, and the multi-globe light fixture is from West Elm. The layered canvas art is another Jamee masterpiece.

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Kitchen Nook

“When I first saw it, I thought, This is the sexiest kitchen I’ve ever seen!” says Jamee. Walls of black subway tile may seem like a dubious choice for a 195-square-foot area, but the vertical placement draws the eye up while the glazed ceramic reflects light. (It’s Essentials Swedish Mink pinstripe tile from Stone Source.) The bench cushion, made of a gray tweed Sunbrella fabric, matches the speckly variations of color in the granite countertops. Inside the bench: ski gear. “When your closet space is limited,” says Jamee, “anywhere is fair game for storage.”

Kitchen

The Kellys have many signature dishes, but Todd’s favorite meal of all, says Jamee, “is bread! It’s a standing joke between us.” Super-stylish surroundings sure can make any loaf seem fancy. The white custom cabinets are a striking contrast to the dark tile and countertops. Brass finishes—like the extra-tall faucet (by Newport Brass) and the trio of overhead light fixtures (from Allied Maker)—increase the chic. Although Jamee and Todd sold most of their furniture when they moved, they kept the sleek stainless steel barstools by Philippe Starck. For comfort, Jamee cut lambswool pillow covers in half and transformed them into seat toppers.

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Bathroom

A mix of classic and modern, the guest bathroom has a serene palette that works well for its petite size. “The mint green penny tile is one of my favorite elements in the house,” says Jamee. She hung a matching shower curtain from Target. On the wall: circle art that echoes the shape of the tile.

Master Bedroom

The look Jamee was going for? “Oasis.” The room’s two little windows didn’t fit that bill, so she hung white floor-to-ceiling curtains to give the illusion of height. To beef up storage, she chose a gray upholstered West Elm bed frame with a large drawer. It’s topped with a pretty botanical-print duvet cover from Serena & Lily. The leather-weave bench is by Safavieh.

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The House: 1,599 Square Feet

Brittany and Justin Kingery don’t have any size issues with their little 1921 bungalow. In fact, they think it’s downright palatial. That’s because their first house clocked in at 1,000 square feet.

“It felt like a major upgrade to us, though the inside was very bland,” says Brittany. “The walls were mostly beige, there was beige carpet everywhere, and all the tile was beige too.”

The Family

Brittany and Justin moved in with paintbrushes blazing, bringing lots of color to both walls and floors before filling the rooms with showstopper lighting and vintage furniture and accessories. Now the house feels like home to the couple and their three Chihuahuas (Fatty, Jellybeans and Pepper).

“I like when houses are a little over-the-top, with a rich mix of textures and quirky pieces,” says Brittany. “It gives a space big-time character.”

Living Room

Why not decorate a room around a striking sofa? The couple got this 100-inch-long one at a flea market for $100, then had it re-covered in a vivid blue microfiber. They heaped it with pillows in mod, happy hues and paired it with a patchwork rug found on eBay. Light blue-green paint (Geyser by PPG Paints) on the walls plays up the couch’s color even more. Above, Brittany hung a dandelion-like pendant from IKEA. “It has presence yet still feels light and airy,” she says.

Entryway

A leafy color (Kale Green by Sherwin-Williams) perks up a small, dark space. Brittany painted an old dresser mint (Pale Oak Grove by Valspar) and added a vintage clock for quirk: “I didn’t want the first space people see to feel formal,” she says. The rug, a Craigslist find, brings the cozy—and pooch Jellybeans approves.

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Dining Room

Brittany’s motto: “You can fit a lot into a room, as long as everything has a place!” Along one wall in the dining room, she grouped together four IKEA bookshelves for a built-in look. That giant green K is from an old store sign. Justin bought it at an antiques mall as a present for his brother…then got attached to it.

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Dining Room

White-on-white can still be a wow: Brittany chose a 24-inch-diameter string globe light from All Modern that’s BFFs with the one in the living room. The teak table is a local flea market find, but that window seat is a Kingery original­—Justin built it to fill the existing bumpout. The jewel-toned pillows were inspired by the colors in the vintage rug.

“We used to keep a bar cart in here for parties, but it took up too much room,” says Brittany. Smart solution: glasses, bottles, and art on slim bracketed shelves.

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Kitchen

During an ’80s update, this space got orangey wood floors.

“We decided, Let’s do something fun, because it wasn’t like we were ruining something original to the house,” says Brittany.

The idea: Paint ’em! She chose the same jade shade used in the foyer, and added a peppy rug from Target. For extra lightness and brightness, the Kingerys put glass panels in the doors of the upper cabinets on either side of the sink. They went with dark grout for the backsplash to complement the counters.

Master Bedroom

Mixing contemporary and vintage pieces with vibrant bedding (from The Company Store) gives the room a serious cool factor. The Kingerys kept it going with high-contrast white walls (Icy Avalanche by HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams) and ebony floors (Tricorn Black by Sherwin-Williams). Brittany hauled the trunk out of the “toss” pile at an estate sale, then mounted it on legs. The “art” above: her necklaces, surrounded by a wood frame. “In small houses, it’s great to find storage options that look pretty,” she says.