The current trend toward trading large spaces for more compact living quarters means many homeowners are faced with the challenge of adapting both their lifestyle and dĂ©cor to suit a smaller space.
Many, like Ottawa realtor Elaine Taggart, find this a welcome challenge. When she and her husband Keith decided to downsize from their 4,000-square-foot home to a condo with less than half the space, she found that getting rid of furniture was not only essential, but liberating.
â€śWe were fortunate that our buyers purchased most of our furniture so we didnâ€™t have to go through as much angst about parting with possessions. We gave a lot away to charity and some to the kids,â€ť she explains. â€śWe knew that the traditional furniture from our family home wouldnâ€™t work for our new open space.â€ť
Purging is a crucial part of the downsizing process. Once that is done, the excitement of starting anew begins to set in. Creating a space that suits a lifestyle built around the luxury of ample storage can be a daunting task, but there are some time-tested tips and tricks that can help.
Elaine advises that built-ins are essential when creating a less-is-more environment. Things like customized workspaces; drop-down beds and compact furniture are all popular solutions for small-space dĂ©cor.
Lorin Russell, award- winning senior designer with Muskoka Cabinet Company, on efficient use of cabinet and floor space:
Purge: If you havenâ€™t used it in the past six months, do you really need it? If itâ€™s sentimental, consider a long-term storage location.
Plan: Decide which household items you will use most often and plan on placing them within easy reach. Typically, in cabinets and on shelves that are 27â€ť to 59â€ť from finished floor.
Function: Drawers will make the space you have more accessible and help keep you more organized.
Customize: Match the space to your unique storage needs.
Style: Keep storage cabinets simple, with solid colours and flat slab or basic frame facades.
How to light a small space: Tips from Hera Arevian, owner of Arevco Lighting:
Choose floor lamps with smaller bases or offset bases that tuck under the furniture.
Indirect lighting like torchieres, wall sconces or semi-flush fixtures throw light up to the ceiling, giving a more spacious effect.
Wall-mounted swing arms or pendants conserve surface space on bedside or living room tables.