When space gets tight in our homes, we can become extraordinarily creative when it comes to our living spaces. Amsterdam showed me how it can be done with flair and style. Living in spaces with less square meters than some of our Australian double-car garage, I was impressed by their resourcefulness to make build and maintain their little house-proud dwellings which have stood here for many centuries in many cases.

With their living spaces open to the street like a shop front, what surprised me was they are able to sacrifice privacy for the light and warmth that the sun provides. This beautiful home below is a case in point. I love the colour, the architecture and the large areas of glass. In Australia, opening ourselves and our lives up to others in our homes is just not the done thing, so I loved this approach. I would assume that it makes you feel more in tune and connected to the local people and your little neighbourhood.

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Small Homes with Open Living Rooms- Life on Display Here. Photo by Carmen Darwin


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Finding space wherever possible to add vertical gardens to their homes. Jordaan area Amsterdam. Photo by Carmen Darwin

The colour tones of the buildings, with their mix of browns, blacks, creams and whites and accents of Blood Red or British Racing Green in high gloss doors and trims, contrast beautifully with the tiny brickwork on the walls. In a cool climate, the use of these warmer tones is the perfect solution. Those living in warmer climates though, may find these colours to hot for their homes, bringing up the point of adapting to our environment. Very Charles Darwin of me to say that. Am I related to him? Yes, I think I must be!

I was so impressed by the greenery everywhere and the fact that they utilise many of the vertical surfaces of their homes and the smallest spaces on the footpath.

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Old converted Warehouse Now Housing Apartments. Photo by Carmen Darwin

Here below is an example of how the locals create such lovely areas of garden with the tiny space that they have. They use any space that is available from a tiny space outside the front door to the balcony where they can hang a few delightful pots of colour. Here they have a communal garden inside the walls of their apartments, creating a kind of oasis and a sun trap to bask in the warm sun when it is shining.

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Communal garden within the walls of Tiny Apartments about 26m2 or Less. Photo by Carmen Darwin

Think about your own home and how you can improve it.

  1. How can you enhance the space with a little more greenery and colour?
  2. Could you add a vertical garden by planting a vine?
  3. Is there a little space outside your front door that you could enhance with some potted flowers?


I hope you enjoyed this little insight into Amsterdam

Until next time, 

Love your home and those within it,

Carmen x