Like a grown-up version of the Barbie Dreamhouse, tiny houses are big on style and functionality. These houses – often measuring less than 400 square feet – are part of a growing movement toward minimalism, born out of consumers’ desires to simplify their lives while maximizing their sense of fulfillment. Although living smaller may not be right for everyone, the lessons about simpler living in a more efficient space translate to virtually any home. Steal these ideas from tiny living to reap the benefits of their thoughtful, innovative designs.

Pare Down Upkeep

Although it’s a popular trend to hang a flat-screen television over a built-in fireplace, electronics and heat don’t mix well. One new solution to this dilemma is to select an ethanol-alcohol fireplace, which produces less heat, and recess a TV into the wall so it’s protected better. Although a TV is a focal point in many living rooms and dens, a cupboard design like this one allows homeowners to hide the monitor when not in use.

Look Up

One of the best features about tiny houses is that these designs maximize space. Imagine drifting off to sleep in a loft suspended from high ceilings.

Choose Double-Duty Furniture

Not every home has enough space for a separate home office, but with the right selection of furniture, every space can serve multiple purposes. A hideaway desk can morph into a workstation easily, especially one with lots of cubbies and drawers for storage. Another option is to build a desk and shelving into existing nooks.

Play with Color

A paler color palette comprised of soft neutrals can open small quarters to create the visual equivalent of space. But you don’t have to stick to white, beige and gray; a pop of color can focus attention on the spectacular design of a well-appointed piece. Alternatively, a richly hued scheme incorporating dramatic, even dark, color on the walls can add drama.