Whether you are thinking of building a cottage, or merely trying to decorate a small home or condo, books abound to help you make the most of the space.

Sarah Susanka is the queen of small. Susanka wrote, "The Not So Big House," "Creating the Not So Big House," "Not So Big Solutions for Your Home" and, her latest, "Home by Design."

Suskana says it's vital to: Find a place of your own within the house. A master bedroom can contain a window seat. A folding screen in the living room can set aside an area for meditation. A guest bedroom can be divided into his/her offices.

Small homes don't need to be noisy, she adds. She suggests putting the television set in a room that can be closed off and reserving the living room for conversation, reading, games and family projects.

House Beautiful (in "750 Design and Decorating Ideas") suggests: Buy a bed that sits a foot or more off the ground and store stuff underneath. You can put your luggage, off-season clothes — even a bicycle — under your bed. (A long dust ruffle is a must.)

Stark contrast between the walls and furniture makes a room look larger. For example, white furniture is stunning against a chocolate brown wall. Another example: In a tiny bedroom, where there is room for nothing else, all the character must come from the bed. So angle it out from the corner and drape it in dramatic colors.

Go floor to ceiling. Hang curtains high, where the ceiling meets the wall. Built-in bookcases should go all the way up.

James Grayson Trulove (in "25 Houses Under 2,500 Square Feet") shows big city lofts and little houses in the big woods. Some of the homes he shows are as small as 215 square feet.

Some of the photos in Trulove's book are a little too funky, reminiscent of college life. For example: In one wall-less loft, a hanging clothes rack (full of shirts) separates the dining area from the sleeping area. In another blueprint, the bed sticks out into the kitchen.

However, most of Trulove's photos make living small look festive. For instance: Who needs a guest bedroom when you can string up a hammock in the corner of the living room?

Other good ideas can be found in "Small Spaces for Modern Living," by Caroline Atkins; "Decorating Small Spaces" and "Small House, Big Style," by Better Homes & Gardens Books; and "Blueprint Small: Creating Ways to Live with Less," by Michelle Kodis.