With the real estate market booming and people trading in their large homes and downsizing to condos, I thought the spring would be a good time to pass on a few design rules regarding downsizing. It can be hard giving up everything in a big house and moving to a smaller space, but you don’t have to give up your style or comforts just because you are giving up a large place for a small one.
You can’t take it all!
Moving from a large home to a smaller sized space means you can’t take everything with you. Consider re-purposing many of your favorite furniture pieces: The china cabinet can now be used as a bookcase in the living or den; a wing-back chair from the family room can be slipcovered and used in the corner of the bedroom; and of course artwork, rugs and mirrors can be re-used in different areas of your new home.
Here is a list of a few key pieces that will make a small space live larger: Expandable dining table; on a daily basis they sit four and when extended family or friends visit they can seat six to 10. Condo-sized sofa; usually around six feet long, its slightly smaller than a regular sofa, but longer than a love seat so that three people can sit comfortably. Remember that a skirted sofa will visually look heavier than one with an exposed leg and that foam cushions offer more support than feather cushions. Parson-style dining chairs; these upholstered chairs are practical for dining and then are easily moved into the living room as a comfy chair. I suggest purchasing them in sets of at least eight; slipcover a few of them and use them in spare bedrooms or home offices. A good place to start is casalife.com; they specialize in small space furniture.
How to decorate
Choose a neutral colour that you like in your existing furnishings and use it when purchasing new, updated pieces. Don’t be afraid to mix styles; a queen anne style china cabinet and dining table can look fantastic with new modern chairs and a traditional four poster bed can look great with modern side tables and lamps. Only bring scale and size appropriate furnishings. Consider clean-lined window treatments rather than traditional draperies in your new space. Moving to a smaller space is the perfect time to update your audio and visual equipment; replace the large box with a streamlined plasma and replace the mammoth floor speakers with wall and ceiling mount ones.