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

Sheer Drapery Designs, Light and Airy to enhance Window Views

Elegant Transitional Townhome, Fairfax, VA
sheer draperies, sheers, drapery design, drapery hardware, interior design, interior decorating, wood blinds, window makeover, window ideas, light sheer drapery styles
Sheer Draperies Scaled perfectly for the Window
 
Sheer Draperies with accent fringe

Welcome Home - Elegant Foyer

 
Elegant Transitional Townhome, Fairfax, VA

Exquisite furnishings, window treatments and custom area carpets define living areas

  • Exquisite Sheer Fabric selection – Taupe leaves on a soft white sheer background, elegantly lined with solid white to let the soft pattern unfold with the flow of the drape.  Edge band fringe tassel trimmings accentuates the taupe leaf color wonderfully.
3″ Antique Gold Wood Hardware with Acanthus Leaf Finials for classic styling remaining timeless for years to come.
 
Natural Medium Oak Wood Blind with fabric tapes complete the window finishes.
 
Green Faux Suede Wall Finish, Custom Traditional English Styling Area Carpets shaped perfectly to the room sizes, Upholstered  Yellow Sectional Sofa, lighting and accessories design.  David Francis Lounge Chair with Rattan Frame and Upholstered Cushion Seat & Back – extra comfy with an incredible old world charm.

Accent Furniture – Sets the Stage

Accent Furniture - Sets the Stage

Antique Gold Regency Cocktail Table with glass top allows showcase of custom carpet details and is the right balance for the English Dressmaker Skirt Sofa it sits in front of. Antique Tea Table between Martha Washington Fireplace chairs anchors the fireplace seating area.