Maximize Small Spaces with Natural Light and Views
Sometimes the smallest spaces offer the biggest opportunities. When it comes to windows and doors, you can get creative with large expanses of glass and clear sightlines to make rooms appear much larger than they are. Patio doors also offer a benefit to small spaces, adding valuable square footage as well as direct connection to the outdoors. These six projects demonstrate that with thoughtful window and door placement, even the smallest spaces can feel open, airy, and not the least bit cramped.
Open the Space from the Sides and Above
The 2020 House Beautiful Whole Home included this WeShed, an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), on the property that could serve as a cozy retreat from the everyday routine. Part hangout space, part covered patio, window placement was paramount to the design, intended to boost overall mood and influence positivity in the small space.
Windows in Multiples to Flood a Space with Light
With an 18-foot-wide-by-130-foot-long lot, this modern railroad-style home in New Orleans demanded a thoughtfully designed space. It was designed by the home’s owners—the husband-and-wife team behind Farouki Farouki, an architecture and interior design practice—who took on the challenge of maximizing the narrow-but-deep home to perfectly suit their family of four.
On the second floor, which feels like a treehouse thanks to an abundance of windows and greenery, you find the kitchen to your right and the light-filled living room to your left. The living room features built-in white-oak millwork shelves, filled with plants and trailing leaves. Numerous windows amplify access to natural light and make the space feel larger than it really is.
Get Creative with Window Placement
This home in New York’s Hudson Valley serves as an escape and creative sanctuary. The south-facing facade, where the sun sets in the evening, is the couple’s favorite spot on the 10-acre property. Creating expansive openings with this exposure allowed an intimate connection with the wooded landscape.
Use Scenic Doors to Open Small Spaces to the Outdoors
Sarah Sherman Samuel’s home office boasts clean lines and a minimal color palette, letting rich textures, natural light, and nature views take center stage. As a designer she has a knack for choosing art and creating beautiful moments in a space. In her home office she did it with the windows. Samuel strategically placed solid walls where the views were not so desirable and placed windows and doors in such a way that when she’s in her office she sees nothing but forest views and the wooded ravine below.
Natural light is the number-one necessity for Samuel’s productivity and a Marvin Modern Multi-Slide door harnesses abundant natural light. Adjacent to the door is a large Modern Direct Glaze window, allowing Samuel to feel immersed in nature, even while she’s at her computer.
Don’t Be Shy with Window Placement
Atop a meadow with a clear view of Camel’s Hump peak in Vermont, this 430-square-foot micro house doesn’t feel small at all. Rather than build a home driven by its diminutive size alone, architect Elizabeth Herrmann sought to design a residence with all the spatial variety and interest of a much larger home.
Due to the home’s small footprint, window size and placement played an important role in opening up the plan and giving each space its own distinct identity. A variety of window shapes, sizes, and types were utilized throughout to respond to both function and views.