“Small living” is a growing trend that has many people leaving their suburban executive homes for downtown condos or zero lot line housing. While the idea of existing in limited space can sound attractive, the reality of having less room than you are used to for storage, entertaining and overnight visitors can be daunting. Below we offer some downsizing interior design tips to make the adjustment to smaller digs easier.
It’s a fact that there is going to be less square footage for your holiday decorations, kitchen paraphernalia, files and memorabilia in your smaller home. Purging before you move will help, but there will still be “must have” items that you will be obliged to fit somewhere. Crafting a design plan that takes into account the type of storage you need will help ensure there is a place for all of your stuff. Closed cabinetry, open shelving, deep pantries and tall linen closets are just the start. Any potentially wasted space can be turned into valuable storage. For example, a client of ours had a niche in his office that had no purpose. We designed custom cabinetry for the space, which he now uses as extra storage and a surface to mix drinks on. Maximizing vertical space by installing cabinets and shelving to ceiling makes the whole wall available to you. We applied this design in our clients’ entryway by creating floor-to-ceiling lockers to store coats, backpacks, etc.
Live Bigger in One Space
Living spaces in smaller homes are multifunctional out of necessity. Instead of having a living room, dining room, family room and kitchen, more diminutive homes tend to have one large space that must serve all of those needs. Multifunctional furniture, like sleeper sofas or murphy beds, drop leaf tables and small ottomans allow flexibility in how you use your space. For example, we had a custom table created for our clients who wanted to be able to have a small dining space in their kitchen when entertaining and then have the area open when not. The piece is easily transferred between its spot as a sofa table in the great room to its role as a dining table in the kitchen. Two ottomans serve as additional seating at the table or in the great room.
Design for Flow
If you are going through the new construction or remodeling process, talk to your interior designer or builder about how you want to live in the home. You can make a small space feel larger by creating an open floor plan, allowing for easy movement between areas of the home. Placing an island in the kitchen area creates a natural circular pattern, keeping guests from getting trapped behind a counter. Furniture placement can affect flow as well. For example, in the condo shown above, the sectional was placed open to the kitchen area to keep the piece from cutting off the space between. This layout creates an open flow that supports comfortable entertaining of large groups in the small space.
Use Tonal Color Palettes
In larger homes, you can change looks from room to room (as long as you stay cohesive in your overall style). Making one room a deep rich color, then making the next another color can work well. However, a trick to making a smaller space feel larger is by sticking to one color scheme or multiples of the same tone. For example, in the condo shown above, we stuck to a series of whites and greys to support the open feel.
Plan for Privacy
Smaller spaces tend to come with smaller lots, so you may be much closer to your neighbors than you are used to! We recommend installing translucent motorized shades to give you quick, easy and light-filled privacy during the day.
Moving to a smaller home doesn’t mean you have to drastically change how you live in your space. It just takes planning. Send us an email or give us call to design your perfect downsized living.