Every year the average square metre size of New Zealand homes gets larger. Yet super-small design features are growing in appeal. The less space wasted, the larger the home feels.
Clare Macintosh, general manager at the Home Ideas Centre in Parnell, says the public is following the global trend of maximising spaces.
"So much so we even decided to add a small spaces seminar to our Homeowners Free Seminar series.
"Because of the tiny house trend there are so many clever products out there that are multi-purpose and still have a designer look to them," she says.
In the past, received wisdom was that certain design features such as dedicated laundries needed to take up a lot of space.
Increasingly, even large homes don't have a dedicated laundry.
Many home buyers are happy with a large cupboard containing washer and dryer on top of each other and a sink unit.
Or they're included in a corner of the kitchen or bathroom. Laundry stations with sink and space for a washing machine start at 1m wide.
Ironing boards, which are always in the way, can be replaced with pull out ironing boards that fit in a drawer of the laundry or kitchen. This can be a real space saver.
Some manufacturers specialise in super small features. Elfin Kitchens, for example offers a stylish 1m wide entire kitchen including sink, cooker, microwave, fridge and storage drawers.
Maximising space can be as simple as installing rolling or stacking internal doors instead of ones that opens out. It makes a room more functional and spacious compared to rooms with doors that swing across the floor space.
Catherine Foster, author of Small House Living says other design tips include:
• A bed that folds away with a desk attached for use in the daytime.
• Chairs that fold flat and hang on the wall when not in use.
• Under-bed storage
• Compartment storage above doors
• A wall of mirrors to "expand" the dimensions and bounce light around.
In the garage, Foster says, invest in a wall of cupboards you can disassemble again and take with you when you leave.
The most effective way of using these is to find a wall where the whole area can be covered floor to ceiling.
Put on the sort of adjustable feet kitchen units go on and insert trim into sides, ceiling and kickboard spaces.
Make sure the cabinets are excluded from the list of chattels on the sale agreement.
Even if you have the average New Zealand home of more than 205sq m there is still nothing wrong with learning to de-clutter and refine your living spaces, Macintosh says.