Downsizing? Interior Design & Furniture Tips for Creating and Maximizing Space

Small furnishing ideas

Small scale furnishings, mirror and silver accents

It seems counter-intuitive that one of the most on-trend things you can do today, in terms of home ownership and interior design, is live in a smaller home. Downsizing is becoming more and more popular, as people increasingly realize they occupy a home larger than they need, perhaps an unused spare bedroom or home office, a basement or attic that’s going to waste, or a third bathroom that nobody ever enters, let alone actually uses.
With well-designed interiors and clever use of space, you can live with less, enjoying all the advantages of a smaller home and lower your carbon footprint with none of the disadvantages. The idea of downsizing can seem a bit daunting, even if you have space in your home you’re not using—it may conjure up images of cramped rooms, narrow hallways, and dark spaces. A small home definitely does not have to be that way. There’s so much you can do with smaller spaces, and in some ways, working with less square footage forces you be more creative with design ideas, and explore possibilities you may not think to consider.

residential space plan, www. goldeninteriors.com

Hand drawn Floor plan layout

The key is careful planning, of your home’s layout, and of the way you decorate it. Floor planning is the best way to figure out how to use your space, and while there are now apps that assist you do this, it’s still just as effective to use pen and paper and an experienced design professional will create options beyond the cookie cutter method of drop in place furnishings.

Multi-Functional Fixtures and Furnishings Help You Do More with Less

Storage Ideas under stairs

Under stair storage cubbies add extra space

Planning aside, the most important aspects of furnishing a small home (or room) is with creative space planning and highly selective furnishing choices. In terms of using space effectively, there are typically nooks and crannies, even in a smaller home, where extra storage can easily be added.  Above or over doors, under beds, cupboard door interiors, and beneath stairs, are spaces that go unused in larger homes, but in a smaller one, can be modified with shelves, drawers, or storage modules turning them into useful spaces.

When it comes to the furnishings you choose, furniture with more than one function is particularly useful. If your home doesn’t have an office or spare bedroom, the simplest and most practical solution for providing accommodation for guests is a comfortable fold-out sleep sofa. Whatever furniture choices you decide scale is most important to not overwhelm the space with excessively large furnishings designed for today’s larger homes. Suitably scaled smaller furnishings will make the small spaces feel larger.

Contemporary small scale sofa

Contemporary small scale sofa

Transitional small scale settee, slightly curved makes an interesting piece

Transitional small scale settee, slightly curved makes an interesting piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storage Bench seat

Storage Bench seat

 

Storage Ottoman

Storage Ottoman

 

 

Highly useful is the humble ottoman—part footrest, part stool, and part storage unit—a smaller one can serve as a chair, a larger one as a coffee table, and an ottoman of any size can double as extra storage.

 

 

 

A Small Room doesn’t have to Feel Small

Small scale furnishings home decor

Small scale furnishings, glass, mirror finish ideas

Designing small spaces isn’t just about using space effectively, it’s also about making spaces look bigger than they are. Small spaces that are badly designed feel claustrophobic and are unpleasant to be in, but it’s not difficult to employ a few design tricks to open up even the smallest rooms. Mirrors, shiny silver surfaces and crystal bounce light in many directions add a glint of light airy feel.
Downsizing Ideas contributed by reader, Jenni Cooper, edited and photos by Peggy Golden, ASID

Colorful Geometric Fabric Designs for 2014 – the new Ikat!

Geometric Fabrics 1; http://www.goldeninteriors.com/blog.html

Contemporary fabric patterns on crisp White grounds

Geometric Fabrics 1; http://www.goldeninteriors.com/blog.html

From Fabricut – Bold patterns used sparingly, the back of a chair and accent pillows

Collection of new fabric introductions from several manufacturers: Fabricut, Greenhouse, Quadrille and Mayer Fabrics. Geometric patterns are taking center stage this year with bold and bright colors highlighted on crisp white backgrounds.

Fabricut, modern-nuances-1; http://www.goldeninteriors.com/blog.html

Sheer drapery panels with elegant overlapping circle pattern creates a beautiful, light window treatment for modern draperies. Fabricut

 

 

 

Colorful Fabrics of 2014; http://www.goldeninteriors.com/blog.html

From Quadrille – Modern damask with a twist – reverse block coloring creating two different looks for the same design; bright colorways on crisp white background

Geometric Fabrics 2; http://www.goldeninteriors.com/blog.html

Lively geometric in bold fuscia/white combination and a great multicolored neutral stripe fabric

Greenhouse fabrics, 203548; http://www.goldeninteriors.com/blog.html

Classic Chevron design in popular coastal colors, great for pillows and draperies

Geometric Fabrics 3: http://www.goldeninteriors.com/blog/html

Bold Chevron Design in crisp clear colors with White background; Greenhouse Fabrics

 

 

Contract Fabrics for 2014; http://www.goldeninteriors.com/blog.html

Exciting new patterns with deep plum tones

Contract Textiles: Mayer Fabrics: Textures and Tapestries collection of fabrics is engineered with Crypton 2.0 for a softer and greener result. The patterns include Malibu, Nirvana, Xanadu (pictured), and Debonair. With bold and exotic colors, these fabrics are designed for healthcare, hospitality, and education settings including Senior Living or window seats where your pet is always perched!

Traditional Interior Design Furnishings and Details

Traditional English Furniture and Drapery, Great Falls, VA

Federal style fireplace, coffered wood ceiling, English furnishings, traditional swag and jabot drapery design

 

Creating a traditional style living room

 

Traditional Interior Design and furniture, Great Falls, VA

Traditional Interior Design with English Furnishings, Swag and Jabot Toile draperies

Are you longing for a traditional style living room? When people think of traditional interior design, they associate it with a timeless, calm and classic living space. One of the reasons why this decorating style has stood the test of time is because it’s incredibly flexible and can be married with various other decor styles whether that be contemporary or rustic.

As this is the most common decorating style of all, it’s likely that you may have grown up in a home that was decorated in a traditional style. Traditional style incorporates decor from a diverse range of time periods and cultures can include just about anything from ornate and opulent to simple and spare.

One of the main reasons why this style is still regarded as traditional is because of the lines of the finishing and the use of architectural details. In this article I will provide you with a number of ideas to help you create a living room that is both traditional and comfortable.

Traditional Furnishings Great Room Interior Design, Reston, VA

Traditional Furnishings, Custom Upholstery, Window Treatments and Area Rugs

 

Traditional Interior Design with custom Entertainment Center, Reston, VA

Traditional Furnishings with Custom Entertainment Bookcase Unit and custom Area Rugs

Colors

Consistency is paramount when creating a traditional style living room, so try to create a consistent theme that is based largely on colour. Neutral color tones are often used on large pieces of upholstery and walls. Part of the reasoning behind painting the upholstery and walls in neutral colors is to mute them and divert attention to other showpieces such as rugs and amazing art pieces.

All white color palettes are a good choice if you want to allow your living to lend itself to both opulence and minimalism. That being said, balance is the most important consideration to make when selecting colors for your living room. The general rule of thumb is to only use bright colors if they are offset by neutral tones.

Furniture

Furniture found in traditional styles usually tend to have a familiar shape that is both recognisable and iconic. A prime example of this is the Chesterfield Sofa; although it has been reinterpreted numerous times it is still most suited to traditional decor styles. Pieces of upholstery should be comfortable and neutral without being too fussy.

To create a relaxed feeling of elegance, try combining a Chesterfield sofa with antiques and some subtle contemporary pieces. Rich wooden tones and painted pieces add a nice element to traditional style; this can be done with painted wooden tables or dressers.

High back leather sofa with traditional tufting

High back leather sofa with traditional tufting

Thomas Lloyd Chesterfield Sofas traditional (2)

Traditional English Chesterfield sofa with handsome tufting detail in beautiful antique leather.

Textures

Luxurious fabrics such as velvet, mohair and silk can be incorporated into traditional decor style. More humble fabrics such as linen and cotton are also common in traditional style living rooms. You can incorporate pretty much any texture providing it’s in keeping with the rest of your room. In reality though, not many homeowners are able to get away with a sofa that is heavily upholstered in high maintenance fabrics like silk, this is why these materials are best suited for low traffic items such as pillows and curtains.

Begin with a pivotal fabric and then subtly add patterns from the same colour pallet. A layer of texture and pattern will add interest and character to your living room. Florals, damasks, ikats, plaids and stripes are among the most common patterns used in traditional decor. If your living room flooring is made of tile or wood, consider adding an accent rug, this will add a feeling of warmth and tradition to your living room.

Artwork

The addition of artwork will contribute texture, colour and personality to your room. Many experienced designers base room arrangement and color pallettes on great pieces of art. If you don’t have the budget to purchase a large art piece, there are a number of more affordable ways to create visual impact. You could try grouping similar images together to create one big collective image.

Architectural Moldings

Crown moldings, wainscoting, panel relief molding all contribute to the traditional detailing of old world masters and when budget allows add elegant detailing and definition to the room.

Traditional crown molding

Crown molding with doorway detailing

WhiteRiver.com CorbelsHeader

Corbel brackets with applied moldings

WhiteRiver.com header-tilton

Wood Coffer ceiling detail

 

 

Putting it all together

Custom Area Carpet Detail with Teal accent inset border and Beige outer border

Custom Area Carpet Detail with Teal accent inset border and Beige outer border

If you look at any great living space, you will notice that it’s all about the way in which pieces are put together. Be sure to have a focal point that demands attention yet still compliments the other elements of your room, all the items and furnishings that surround the focal point can then be positioned in relation to it. Your focal point can be anything, a fireplace, artwork or even a sofa. Try to keep things as symmetrical as possible; this will keep a sense of balance within the room. For example, place two chairs or sofas either side of your fire place. While they don’t have to be identical, they should be similar in shape and size.

 

 

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This article was contributed by David at Thomas Lloyd Chesterfield Sofas