ADUs, known as “additional” or “accessory” dwelling units, are hugely popular in California’s remodeling and building industry at the moment. You can convert a garage into a fully functioning space for living, working, leisure, and you can even rent them out for a source of income. An average garage in Southern California can be anywhere from about 400 to 600 square feet; and if you have the space and budget for a stand alone new build ADU, you can go even bigger than that, but most are about the same size as well. 

We’ve come up with some tips, hacks and suggestions to help optimize the minimal space you have to work with when choosing decor and functionality. It’s more than possible to have all the comfort, space and necessities one finds in a larger home in your quaint little ADU. 

Multipurpose Furniture

It’s pretty self explanatory, try to use pieces of furniture that can be utilized in more than one way. For example a pull out couch, whether you’re sleeping on it or it’s reserved for a guest, it’s a couch and a bed! And one you can put away nicely to be out of sight. How about a chest-like coffee table or ottoman so you can store blankets, pillows, or whatever else you don’t want out and about? If you don’t have enough space for a dining table, find a small kitchen island and a couple bar stools for seating. Most kitchen islands will have shelving and storage compartments which will be useful if you don’t have a lot of cabinet space in the kitchen area. You’re also adding some counter space for prepping and cooking. 

Lighten Up

If you want a smaller space to appear more spacious and airy, it’s best to use lighter colors for paint on the walls. Although we love rich and bright colors, walls should be light and bright so as to not feel dark and closed off. However, painting the ceiling a darker color is a tactic that actually draws the eye up and gives added depth to the space.You can always accentuate and show colorful expressions with art, pillows, and furniture. This idea is also applied to flooring. Using a lighter color wood or laminate, as opposed to a rich darker color, can make the space feel a lot more roomy. Of course, personal taste and preference is always most important when choosing one’s materials and style. Another great way to create more “light” is to place mirrors in places that would maximize the reflection of light, like across a window or sliding glass door. Reflected light opens up a space and makes it feel larger. 

Use The Wall Space

If you think about it, going vertical is a great way to use space, and completely doable. Install shelving for books and picture frames instead of a standing bookshelf. Mount the television on the wall so you don’t have to have a tv stand or media console. If there is space above your kitchen cabinets, use it to store kitchenware and other items. Hang plants from the ceiling, again saving floor room. Have a wall mounted coat rack for hanging your coats, umbrella, or bag so that they’re not left lying on the floor or off a chair, simple small solutions for keeping tidy and using less space. 

Living in a small space doesn’t mean having to forego necessities and indulgences, you just have to be creative and willing to look for solutions! We hope these handful of tips will help you in creating a stylish, functional and cozy living space.