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!

Designing with White Kitchen Cabinets , Fairfax, VA

White Kitchen design with custom wood cabinets

White Kitchen design with custom wood cabinets

Kitchen design for 2014 highlights White Kitchen cabinets as the top finish with many homeowners. One of our favorite kitchens showcases contemporary white wood kitchen cabinets without the antique glazed finish that retail cabinet manufacturers promote for an additional surcharge. Wood cabinet doors expand and contract creating a separation at the mitered or box cut corners and cabinet manufacturers only offer a glazed finish for white wood cabinetry knowing that the corners will create a gap and unsightly condition – this is the reason glazing became so popular, the added glazed finish detail hides the corner conditions that will in time become apparent however the design is hardly contemporary or modern. This is the reason why most cabinet manufacturers offer white cabinetry as Thermofoil construction only. Thermofoil is MDF construction with a melamine paper cover and while a cheaper alternative feels inferior to wood cabinetry and is apparent in the feel and look.

Contemporary White Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Contemporary White Kitchen design for timeless appeal

In this Kitchen Alder Wood Door panels were ordered to size and our local contractor built and finished all wood cabinets to our specifications, creating a timeless white wood cabinet.

Classic white kitchen cabinets custom designed and built by local cabinet-maker optimize every inch of space with custom cutlery inserts, base drawers, tray storage, spice rack, appliance garage and toe kick drawers.  Center island finished with an industrial spray paint by ScrubbMaster in a soft teal gray color is maintenance free. The color is also used as accents for the light rail and appliques to continue the design theme throughout the space.

Custom white wood kitchen cabinets

White Kitchen cabinets, custom designed with Greek Revival Crown molding

Accent shelves add drama with glare free lighting and break up the look of all cabinet walls. Double height wall cabinets add the illusion of a taller than standard 8′-0″ ceiling height for this 1980’s home remodel. Coastal colors and Greek revival crown molding add a Mediterranean flair for a classic timeless Kitchen design.

Upholstered Bench Seat

Custom Bench Seat adds storage to dining area

White Kitchen design, wood cabinets

Two tone cabinets add character to this white kitchen design

Kitchen Center Island

Custom Center Island design finished with an industrial spray paint in soft teal gray color

Kitchen toe kick drawers

Toe kick drawers for added storage of placements and grill accessories

White Kitchen design with custom wood cabinets

White Kitchen design with custom wood cabinets

Great Room open plan dining area

Great Room Dining area with custom bench seat off remodeled Kitchen

Lighting Ideas, LED Lamps and Decorative Chandeliers

Contemporary Chandelier

Stunning Contemporary Chandelier from Hummbardton Forge

This week we attended a Lamping Seminar at Annapolis Lighting in Rockville, MD.  We were able to see the new lamp selections for Compact Fluorescents and LED lamps and fixtures.  Both lamps have seen tremendous improvements in color Rendering Index (CRI) with most lamps rating above 85 and some as much as 95.  The CRI rating scale is based on 100 being true color rendition.  The color temperature or “Kelvin range” is a description of the warmth or coolness of the light source.  A Kelvin range closest to 2700 is the closest equivalent to an incandescent A lamp bulb.  Most homeowners will be happiest with a Kelvin range between 2700 and 3000.  The price tags for these new bulbs that will screw into any normal incandescent A lamp location is significantly higher than the typical A lamp yet offer reduced wattage and energy savings.  The new LED was quoted at $ 28-32.00 per bulb!  Compact Fluorescents are more reasonable.

Colorful Chandeliers

Dramatic colors and drum shapes add drama for dining rooms and foyers

Contemporary chandelier from George Kovacs

Playful twist using a round glass bowl shape set inside of an oval metal frame from George Kovacs

LED lighting fixture styles

New LED lighting styles and shapes from Sonneman add beautiful light quality, great for Bathroom vanity areas

Water display, feng shui

Accent water and light display adds peaceful calm with water running down the decorative glass panel and hitting rocks in base of unit

New Accent Color Emerging – Fuchsia

New Accent Color Emerging - Fuchsia

Small amounts of accent colors add drama and excitement, look at how lively this white sofa is with the stunning fuchsia accent pillows and leather cocktail table. Introduction from M|T Company furniture manufacturer for the October 2013 High Point Fall Market

Kitchen Trends, Sinks and Ideas

Beautiful collection of new trends, color palettes, finishes and materials. Love the sink base with grille doors below the farm house sink. The farm house sink is a trend that revolves around one large sink so that you can wash large pans easily. Unfortunately washing larger pans is infrequent in comparison to the amount of times you need to use the sink for a small task. We do not recommend one large basin anymore given the amount of effort to clean and the waste of water and energy to perform the cleaning regularly every time you want to just rinse a dish. Kohler’s smart divide offers the best of both worlds. One smaller sink one medium sink with the divider panel low in the sink so that if you need access to the full sink for a large pan you may use it. Small task can easily be cleaned up in one of the two moderate sides of the sink without wasting valuable resources (water and energy to heat the water).

Interior Design, Accent Furniture, and Custom Window Treatments

Small scaled Accent Furniture pieces can create a transform a room and upbeat a tired and dated look.  Elegant Cocktail Tables, End Tables, Tea Tables, Bookcase, Table Lamps, Mirrors and Traditional English Accent Furniture Accessories.  Custom window treatments scaled to frame the view and windows add drama for any interior space.

English Sofa, Fireplace Chairs, Antique Gold and Glass Coffee Table, Custom Area Rug

English Sofa, Fireplace Chairs, Antique Gold and Glass Coffee Table, Custom Area Rug

Sheer Draperies with accent fringe

Welcome Home – Elegant Foyer

Formal English Living Room, Mahogany Cocktail Table, Wing Chair, Great Falls, VA
Formal English Living Room, Mahogany Cocktail Table, Wing Chair, Great Falls, VA

Small scaled Accent Furniture ie: Tea Tables, Cocktail Tables, End Tables and small Bookcases add elegance and charm to welcome visitors.  Traditional English Fine Furnishings and the Regency Antique Gold and Glass Cocktail Table define these rooms.  Passed down from Grandma or purchased at Garage Sales, Antique Shops, etc. these pieces can combine to create harmony and English Country Charm.  Accessories as in the Crystal and Alabaster Table Lamp, potted greens and floral arrangements say Welcome Home . . .  for your Comfort and Lifestyle, Your Ideas, Our Inspirations, providing Unique Solutions for Daily Living, Comfort and Work Places . . . Endless Possibilities with Custom Creativity.

Interior Design, Accent Furniture, and Custom Window Treatments

Small scaled Accent Furniture pieces can create a transform a room and upbeat a tired and dated look.  Elegant Cocktail Tables, End Tables, Tea Tables, Bookcase, Table Lamps, Mirrors and Traditional English Accent Furniture Accessories.  Custom window treatments scaled to frame the view and windows add drama for any interior space.

English Sofa, Fireplace Chairs, Antique Gold and Glass Coffee Table, Custom Area Rug

English Sofa, Fireplace Chairs, Antique Gold and Glass Coffee Table, Custom Area Rug

Sheer Draperies with accent fringe

Welcome Home – Elegant Foyer

Formal English Living Room, Mahogany Cocktail Table, Wing Chair, Great Falls, VA
Formal English Living Room, Mahogany Cocktail Table, Wing Chair, Great Falls, VA

Small scaled Accent Furniture ie: Tea Tables, Cocktail Tables, End Tables and small Bookcases add elegance and charm to welcome visitors.  Traditional English Fine Furnishings and the Regency Antique Gold and Glass Cocktail Table define these rooms.  Passed down from Grandma or purchased at Garage Sales, Antique Shops, etc. these pieces can combine to create harmony and English Country Charm.  Accessories as in the Crystal and Alabaster Table Lamp, potted greens and floral arrangements say Welcome Home . . .  for your Comfort and Lifestyle, Your Ideas, Our Inspirations, providing Unique Solutions for Daily Living, Comfort and Work Places . . . Endless Possibilities with Custom Creativity.

Home Appliance Updates

Steam Dryers for the longer life of your clothes

We just learned from one of our local vendors that Dryers are now available with STEAM
Steam in dryers can provide a softer laundry, wrinkle free and no need of ironing. Worn an article once and would like it nice and fresh – toss in steam dryer for 20 mins. and the dryer will produce warm steam to remove odors and wrinkles. Love the idea – definitely worth considering for your next Dryer purchase.

Looking for a new dishwasher – check out this site for tips on size and features to suit your needs:
http://dishwasherreviewshq.com/

Dishwasher features, size and ideas