Top tips for building on a small block

An aerial photo of a house being built
Our top tips for building a home on a small block of land

Let’s face it, inner city space is limited these days. Not only does this drive up the cost of existing homes, but it means less space for new ones. But, all is not lost! If you’re wondering how you’re going to buy your first home — or even your second — look no further than the small block.

What the humble small block lacks in size, it more than makes up for in potential. Along with being more affordable, these little lots can transform into cleverly designed homes that are anything but cramped. You just need to get creative, and these top tips for building on a small block will help you do just that.


The orientation of your living areas can play a big part in making smaller spaces seem bigger. Try to design your floor plan so your living spaces are facing north or north-east. This will make the most of the sun, allowing natural light to flood each space and make it feel light and airy.

Open plan

When thinking about your layout, it’s best to keep it open if you want your home to feel bigger. Adding walls can make a home feel closed in and small, so design your living, dining and kitchen with an open layout. This maximises on natural light (see above) and creates a seamless, spacious flow.

Let there be light

Not sure if you’ve picked up on this yet, but light is important when it comes to making smaller homes feel spacious! So now that you have the perfect orientation and a clever, open layout, throw in plenty of windows to really maximise your space. Not only will this allow plenty of light to filter through all of your living spaces, but adding oversized windows will literally open your home up.

High ceilings

Use high ceilings where you can. This will let your floor plan breathe and enhance the overall sense of flow and movement. Plus, this is another one that will make the most of all that natural light. 

Go vertical

If you can’t go out, go up! Adding a second story to your home provides the opportunity to create more room across both levels. For example, you can create larger living areas on the lower level, with generous bedrooms upstairs. Or vice versa.

Get clever

When space is limited, it’s important to make the most of every inch. This means making design choices that are more efficient. Think cavity sliding doors, a nook or storage under the stairs, and built-in shelving.

Storage, storage, storage

One of the biggest challenges of a smaller home is clutter. Even a little bit can overrun your living spaces, making things feel closed in and cramped. To minimise the chances of clutter, you should think about storage when designing and furnishing your home. Add storage space under the stairs or build in some multi-purpose shelves. Choose furnishings with storage built-in under the bed, table or couch.

Make those rooms multi-task

Rather than creating a room for every purpose, create a larger, flowing room that can be used for many purposes. For example, an open plan living space can double up as a dining area with a clever use of furniture. Add some plants or a room divider to create more privacy when needed.

Indoor-outdoor living

Creating a seamless connection between indoors and out will go a long way in making your home feel bigger. Even if you don’t have a lot of room outdoors, a bank of sliding glass doors or oversized window opening to an outdoor terrace will extend your floor plan, and create another room for relaxing or entertaining.

Neutral colours

Making your compact home feel more spacious can be as simple as adding a coat of the right colour of paint. Choose neutral tones that feel fresh and reflect light. We’re talking whites, creams and light browns. Bolder colours in limited space tend to feel closed in and confusing. 

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