It’s easy to notice the efforts happening all across America, efforts to change old habits, make new goals to improve the environment, and reduce our carbon footprint. From Obama’s new laws and stricter regulations, to increased sales in electric, fuel-efficient and hybrid cars, to homeowners planting gardens and buying solar panels, the progress is notable. More people are pairing down their lifestyles altogether, and showing that bigger isn’t necessarily better. A large part of this overall downsizing movement includes the size of homes people are buying and building to literally make that footprint even smaller. Country Living Magazine’s February issue featured an article called “Blue Ribbon Kitchen,” that proves massive amounts of square footage aren’t necessary to have a charming and stylish home. The kitchen is a mere 160 square feet, yet is adorned with butcher block countertops, a double-basin sink, custom draperies, exposed shelves, and reclaimed drawers. The space is small, but packed with character, like barn wood cut Douglas fir boards as shelves, and a planked ceiling made from salvaged bleacher boards from a nearby college stadium. The idea of downsizing is all about quality, rather than quantity. Using carefully selected color palettes, open shelving, and wire baskets make the space feel and look bigger. Bright and well dressed windows, and cleverly crafted ceilings draw your eyes up and out, and add interest. [optin-monster-shortcode id=”njttbcnp0rxtpfx23sru”] Many home owners appreciate the challenges that come along with the less is more lifestyle; it forces you to be more organized, careful, and contentious. Looking to materials that will last, and have versatility is essential. It’s about finding pieces that reflect your personal style, and speak to your lifestyle. There’s also a focus on function over form, the importance of necessity, and selecting equipment and materials that will be aesthetically pleasing as well as useful.