Small Spaces, Big Impact: What Buyers Are Doing To Get What They Want

White interior living room

In recent months, the housing market has shifted from a buyers market to a sellers market and many buyers are realizing supply isn’t keeping up with demand. Options are limited, leaving many sellers wondering if they should sell at all. Sure, they could likely sell their house, but could they find their next home?

So what’s a homeowner to do? With low supply and high prices, they basically have two options: Stay in a home that isn’t exactly what they want or try to sell and hope to find something better.

Many homeowners are choosing to stay. They are choosing to keep their current mortgage, their neighbors/location, and working with design professionals to transform their homes. The local National Kitchen & Bath Association boasts hundreds of area pros who specialize in the design of kitchens and baths—the most often renovated areas of a home, and not-so-coincidentally, the areas that show the best return on investment.

Working with a design professional can help to make sure every space is being used to its full affect and gives you a professional’s view of the project. What most homeowners can do in a renovation is often very different than the creative, innovative solutions offered by National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) design professionals. They have the training, knowledge, and experience to see the best layouts and provide a new perspective.

remodeled white kitchen and wood table

When deciding whether to stay or move, it’s important to pinpoint the features that can be changed and features that cannot be changed. Some examples of these include:


  • Does the home have walls/adjacent rooms that can be opened up to create a different space?
  • Can bathrooms be added?
  • Can bedrooms be added?
  • Paint colors
  • Finishes such as countertops, cabinets, flooring, lighting


  • Is the location where you want to be?
  • Do you like the school district?
  • Is the square footage optimal (without additions)?
  • Does the cost of the needed renovations fit your budget?
  • How old is this home?
  • Are there city or association restrictions pertaining to major improvements/changes?

The reason many people want to move is to gain more space or change the layout. If they decide to stay in their current home, they need creative solutions to maximize their home’s potential. We asked local NKBA members to share secrets on how to give small spaces big impact.

living room after

Appliances are often the culprit of taking up much-needed space in a small kitchen. A standard refrigerator can greatly decrease a walkway and a dishwasher is sometimes out of the question. “Using appliances scaled to the space, such as an 18-inch-wide dishwasher and 24-inch-wide stove and refrigerator will allow for more counter space and general room functionality,” explains Lynn Stryker, CKD, NKBA. Counter-depth refrigerators work great to reduce the amount of space taken up in front of the appliance.

Kitchens with narrow spaces aren’t always utilized to their full potential because homeowners have a hard time seeing how they can make these spaces usable. When space is tight, think up instead of out. “Add full-height shallow shelving along walls to provide storage without cannibalizing much functional space,” says Barrett Steenrod, NKBA designer.

Once you’ve made the decision to invest in changes, think about your future and how you’ll grow old in that home. Make sure hallways and doorways aren’t too narrow, and consider a main floor bedroom, laundry room, and shower. “Every bathing and showering experience should include a handheld shower head,” says Jackie Schneider, CID, NKBA. “Aging-in-place and universal design are very important in allowing homeowners the flexibility to stay in their homes as long as possible.” A hand shower is a practical investment, and can make a world of difference whether dealing with a broken arm, having limited mobility, or cleaning kids or animals. Jackie comments, “I find this simple product is a must-have and often overlooked component in the bathroom space.”

NKBA professionals can offer a wide array of valuable advice. Working with a design professional may seem like a luxury, but when you consider the expertise, money saved on costly project changes, and guidance you will receive throughout the project, you can see how it is money well spent. Whether you stay or go, consider a local NKBA pro to help with your renovations.

For more information on NKBA professionals, visit

By Katie Kurtz, owner of Adorned Homes

Photos courtesy of Adorned Homes and Lakestreet Photograph


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