Downsizing to a smaller home is an art, but you can still enjoy comfort and style in your new place.
Moving from a spacious home to a smaller dwelling can be an attractive option for many, and we frequently encounter clients who are choosing to downscale their living space.
Baby boomers and empty nesters alike are opting to downsize – moving from suburban homes to city condos; relocating full-time to smaller vacation houses; or simply selling in exchange for less square footage.
Yet the process of trimming for a new, smaller living space – and everything that goes in it – can be overwhelming. Will your treasured pieces fit in the new home, or do you start anew? Should you amend your decorating style? Do you need to renovate the new location to accommodate your needs and lifestyle?
The good news is that this process need not be stressful or daunting. A few systematic strategies can ease the process.
Identify the Essentials
Chances are, when you are downsizing you’ll need to pare down – that is, identify what to take and what to let go. While some may dread this process, it can actually be gratifying, and in the end your new home will have the cherished pieces that you love.
How do you do this? Ascertain your “must-haves” – what you love and cannot live without – then, with this in mind, inventory your belongings and designate what to take with you.
We recently worked with a client who was relocating from a larger home to a condominium. Together we conducted a walk-through of her existing furnishings to determine which existing pieces were absolute essentials to keep. We then further determined which of those items required reupholstering or refinishing in order to suit the new space. This allowed the client to decorate and design their new home using objects she cherished.
Take Measure, Plan, and Repurpose
Occasionally, some of those “must-haves” may not, at first glance, seem to have a place, or enough space, in your new home. Usually this can be resolved with a little creativity, inventiveness, and thinking outside the box.
When we were employed by a couple to redecorate their new town home, they wanted to ensure a baby grand piano would fit in the new location. After identifying the family’s list of essentials, we took measurements of the townhouse. From there we developed furniture plans outlining how and where the existing pieces would work, and which pieces could be repurposed — a living room chair could be reupholstered and placed in the new master bedroom; the dining table was too large but we suggested the chairs be reupholstered and paired with a new, smaller table. The result was a cozy blend of old and new – and we managed to fit the piano nicely into her open living/dining area.
Moving to a new home is the perfect opportunity to consider tweaking your decorating style. You need not reinvent the décor wheel entirely, but subtle design shifts can have major impact, and give your new home just the right touch.
One such client, selling their home in favor of an oceanfront locale, didn’t want to include some of their heavier, dark furnishings. They wanted a lighter, less cluttered look but still needed the house to be comfortable year round. They shifted away from their formal design style by implementing lighter window treatments, and replacing dark oriental rugs with neutral, brighter colored rugs. The result yielded a space that was cozy, light and airy.
Home Sweet New Home
With strategic planning and creativity, your new, scaled space can be big on comfort and style. Having a professional can make the transition process less overwhelming, and serve as an opportunity to explore new decorating styles without parting with those cherished pieces. A specialist can offer an additional perspective, and assist in attaining your vision by creating a master plan complete with furniture placement, fabric and color coordination. In the end, your new home is a place you can live in and love.