Let me be clear…downsizing is a design and lifestyle opportunity!
We collect stuff, it just happens: gifts, temporary replacements, hand me downs, unguided purchases, random storage solutions, old hobbies, books etc. And before you know it, you’ve got a truck load of stuff that doesn’t work, doesn’t fit and doesn’t reflect your style.
Changing or updating spaces can be the perfect time to shake up or align our styles and challenge our design limitations. After all, an eclectic style will only work for so many of us, for so long!!!
So, why do people downsize? Typically, I find empty nesting is a key time to downsize, however there are a lot of other reasons. Renters often need to move regularly, getting rid of a mortgage, moving in with someone, making space for a baby, re-configuring your existing space, luxury downsizing, or just simplifying your life. I mean heck…my husband moved every 18 months for around ten years: uni, rentals, first home, moving in with me, moving to Australia, rentals again, etc!!!
True…it can be difficult to adjust to living in a smaller / different place. The downsizing process can make us feel like we are giving up our comfortable and familiar things, regardless of whether they fit stylistically or physically. That can be seen in negative terms, however this isn’t always the case.
And even if you aren’t on the move, most of us suffer from limited space in some way in our homes. From lack of storage in our kitchens or wardrobes, through to disorganised home offices; space is at a premium and we need to be smarter around how we use it.
Hard it seems, think about downsizing as a new beginning. You will find that you are downsizing to a new lifestyle, therefore some of your possessions may be made redundant. Without doubt it is harder to accommodate our needs and belongings when space is limited, which can force our hands.
There are many ways to optimise the space that we do have, whilst at the same time not compromising on the look and feel of the room. Think about the following points when downsizing:
- Consider the whole space and style, try and make rooms multi-functional such as a more open plan space where you cook, eat and relax.
- You probably don’t need the same size home office that you had previously. Consider clever solutions such as built-in desks, using small alcoves or under stairs, built-in solutions etc, this will always make the most of the space you have.
- Maximise storage space, under bed, behind doors, inside ottomans, and under stairs. These can be custom built to get the best out of the space.
- Store larger items closer to the ground, and decrease the height between shelves as you move upwards, this looks tidier and gives easier access to heavier items.
- Every piece of furniture and appliance should be functional and used on a regular basis, otherwise it is just taking up valuable space.
- When selecting furniture ensure that the scale works well, for instance the living room depends on the right sized sofa. Purchase something that will allow room for side tables, lamps and space to walk around it. Also sofa’s that are raised on legs with smaller arms make the room look bigger and are more practical.
- Use lighter colours in your furniture and accessories which will help reflect light, surfaces with shiny and high gloss finishes will assist to give the illusion of a larger space. The contrast with darker smaller pieces such as lighting, side tables, and cushions for interest.
It’s important to work out how to make a space work for you and don’t compromise your design vision. Even a rental can be an inspiring, inventive and efficient space to live in.
Today downsizing doesn’t mean lower quality or compromised living. Rather it can be an exciting new chapter of your life and the opportunity to let your design vision come to life. If you need help downsizing, contact me to find out how a designer can help.
NOTE: Images used under Fair Use, and were sourced from a variety of online sources and personal archives. The above commentary is a personal view and not commercial in nature.