Keep downsizing down to earth

Keep downsizing down to earth


Adjusting to less space requires a new perspective

Downsizing can be a super-stressful process. Moving into less space sets our inner voice screaming, "Where will I put everything?" You can quiet that voice by making a design plan that follows a few basic steps. You'll reduce stress and reap the benefits of living with less.


If you are moving from a 2,000-square-foot house to an 800-square-foot condo, you won't get it all in. Look at the new space's size and layout and decide what pieces you can keep. If the sofa is too large, sell it on Craigslist or Kijiji and purchase a sofa that works. Not all your items will make the cut, but once you get past this hurdle you're halfway there.


Look for its unique benefits. If the condo has high ceilings, take advantage of this architectural gem. Tall, built-in bookcases are a great way to highlight high ceilings, and you get a great storage solution, too.

If the bedroom is tiny, paint the walls in a rich hue, or add wallpaper for extra oomph, to play up the room's intimate and cosy feel.

Opt for floating shelves and get rid of night tables altogether; place the lighting on the wall.


Use a dining chair as a desk chair that can be pulled back to the dining area when needed. What once was a small bedroom dresser can be a dining-room buffet in a small space, because the proportions work better. Lay a handy tray on an ottoman to convert it to a coffee table.


Store your pictures and your books electronically, on hard drives, e-readers, tablets, USB sticks, etc.


Don't give up all your precious belongings. Save the ones you love best in a closet. Bring them out as the seasons change, when you want to modify your decor or adjust your colour scheme.


More tips for adapting to smaller spaces:

- Keep collections together instead of scattered.

- Glass items and mirrors will provide reflection, richness.

- Use large, three-piece prints (triptychs) to convey depth and width in a room.

- A black-and-white picture of a skyline (say, New York) adds visual interest and sophistication.

- Unify space with a connected colour scheme, so rooms flow from one to the next.

- To make a smaller room grand, think grand contrasts: black and white, or navy, white and red.

- Keep flooring consistent from one room to the next, then define spaces with area rugs.