Moving to a Smaller Home: Liberate Your Mind and Your Junk
Providing it’s through choice, moving to a smaller property can feel quite liberating. There is definitely a sense a freedom that can be achieved from throwing away a chunk of your past, especially if it’s a chunk that you’ve long ceased to care about and that’s now just cluttering up your living space. Moving to a smaller property should be seen as not only taking on a new home but taking on a new way of living; no longer will you have to spend every weekend at Ikea or the local D-I-Y store, but you’ll be free to get outside and really live! But while embracing this new way of living might sound the best and most exciting move you’ll ever make, how do you go about actually living in a smaller space?
It depends on how small is smaller, for starters. But if you’re giving up a great deal of space for your new home, then to live as comfortably as possible, you’ll need to use every inch of space cleverly and imaginatively. That doesn’t mean throwing as much as you can into every available storage cupboard; it means putting up shelves and rods and whatever else is necessary for cupboards to use the space to its maximum capacity—vertical well as horizontal space. Position those seldom-used items at the very top of the cupboard and keep the floor space free so that you can store a ladder for when you might need to get to them. Living in a smaller space means spending less time looking for things, as all items will have their place!
When furnishing a small space, use multi-purpose pieces. If you don’t have room for a spare bed but still want to have friends over to stay the odd night, consider an ottoman that can double as a bed for guests. In the master bedroom, a bed with built-in storage or one under which you can store your boxes will save on space. Use as much of the wall space as you can—floating shelves and wall-mounted bedside lights and tables will all add to the feeling of space. Keep as much of the floor as accessible as possible to create the illusion of space and make the room feel bigger.
Mirrors are extremely useful in making space appear larger. As well as the traditional mirror-over-the-fireplace look, a more off-beat look achievable by propping an oversized framed mirror against a wall—it achieves the same effect. Or try using mirrors in the kitchen with a mirrored backsplash or a full-length mirror behind a bathroom door or even a built-in wardrobe with mirrored doors in the bedroom.
Don’t think that a small living space has to have small furniture. Larger, multi-functional pieces will be more practicable and make the room will feel less cluttered. Armless, open chairs, and low tables, positioned away from walkways will open up space, and being able to see the floor will make the room look bigger.
Where color is concerned, too many colors can overwhelm a small space. Keep the colors simple and uniform. Contrasting colors can break up a room, so using the same color—or hues and tints of the same color—throughout your home, you can create the illusion of a calm and relaxed space. And light, cool colors will make a space feel open and airy. Any room that’s well-lit, either by natural or artificial light, will look bigger, so avoid using heavy drapes or anything too fussy around the windows.
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