Decorating A Small Space
The days of the McMansion are waning, with many people downsizing for simpler living. Baby Boomers, young professionals, and grad students are now considering the benefits of city living in loft-like settings. Most of these buildings are located in the heart of a city, close to work, cultural activities and basic amenities. They range from apartments converted to condo living to old warehouses rehabbed into lofts. What is becoming a desirable trait is that the spaces are small – 2000 square feet or less in many cases.
Why would this be an option if you’ve lived in a 4,000 square foot home with a yard? For some people, it takes the pressure off of having to take care of all that space, as well as deal with lawns or snow removal. Most cities have codes that require underground parking spaces, or have adjacent lots to the building with spaces available, making parking convenient. For some people, the idea of getting rid of “stuff” they’ve accumulated is refreshing.
It can be a shock to walk into a smaller unit for the first time if you are downsizing. The kitchens are typically very modest, with storage at a minimum. Creative storage solutions are necessary, with built-ins doing double duty as service pieces. Some of the loft units are open floor plans that allow you to place the walls where you want, with plumbing being your only constraints.
Seating areas need to be better thought out and ready for multiple functions. For instance, a kitchen island does not have to be stationary – it could have leaves or hidden fold out legs that convert it to a dining table-like piece to seat ten. Sofas double as beds in one bedroom units, and family rooms incorporate home offices.
When downsizing, particularly after living in a house for a majority of years, it may be best to bring an interior designer in to help you make the right choices. A designer will access your existing needs and find creative storage options. A long living room wall is the perfect place to consider built-ins that offer open shelves as well as hidden storage behind doors and drawers. While the television may be stationed in the center, all your dishes and little used cookware may be stored underneath.
Beds can be converted to platforms that sit on top of drawers for extra storage. Closet systems are important to provide maximum shelf and hanging storage. Laundry is often combined into a bathroom behind doors, and the use of stackable units saves more space.
Downsizing does not have to be a scary idea, but it does take careful consideration before you make the leap. Small space living has its own rules for home decorating that allow for simple tighter pieces that don’t have to look too minimal. Consider the pieces you already own to see if they still work. Once you have the mindset that this style is right for you, getting rid of the excess is easy.