Polly Pocket Was a Tiny House Pioneer. Here Are 7 of Her Best Design Lessons

90s nostalgia suckers, this one’s for you: This weekend, we reported the breaking news that original Polly Pockets are apparently selling for thousands of dollars. If you’ve already called home to confirm that you don’t have any of these lottery tickets collecting dust in the attic between the Beanie Babies and American Girl dolls, you’re not alone. But what exactly was it about those miniature plastic dollhouses that could keep our childhood selves entertained for hours?

Perhaps it was the fact that Polly and her entire home could, well, usually fit inside your pocket (or come pretty close). Maybe millennials were onto something: as adults, we’re still into mini everything — desserts, beauty products, and, of course, tiny homes. “The creation of small worlds gives us the illusion of control. In a world that grows ever more faster and chaotic, in a world in which we are bombarded with imagery, artworks in small scales allow us a place of retreat, where time has stopped,” miniature artist Thomas Doyle told Mic in 2016.

We think it’s fair to say that Polly was a tiny home pioneer—the woman was seriously ahead of her time. We took a non-ironic, totally serious deep dive into her digs to glean some learnings we can all apply to small space living today.

1. Limited floor space? Think vertically.

Not sure how to fit everything in? Look up, up, up. Polly always used vertical space to her advantage, finding spots for plants, artwork, and even extra rooms.

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2. Good lighting is key.

No one will realize your castle is smaller than your friend’s if you remember not to skimp out on the lighting features.

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3. Embrace bold color.

Small layouts don’t have to = neutral colors. Go bold on the walls if that’s your style. One tip not to steal from Polly: Make sure there’s actually room for your baby on the inside.

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4. And opt for statement furniture.

Think limited space means blah options only? Think again: go for the bright blue couch or the big chairs, if that’s what you like. Just keep the rest simple.

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5. Get creative with seating and sleeping options.

One dining chair is really all you need when you live alone. A hammock bed? How fun! And swing chairs are so on-trend.

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6. Design with company in mind.

You never know when good friends (like, you know, Shani or Rick) might stop by. Make sure you have plenty of options, such as great poolside seating, just in case.

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7. If you go theme, commit.

Whether it’s “beach party” or “ski lodge,” go all in with the details. Opt for surfboard decor, painted front doors, and bring the outdoors in. Subtly is overrated.

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