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Recently I was given the opportunity to design a small apartment at a local assisted/independent living facility. This little apartment is going to be used a model/virtual tour for future retirees. I was so honored to take the project because several months ago I staged one of the independent cottages affiliated with the same company, for a Realtor who was referred by another Realtor...talk about a long list of referrals!!! That was what made it such an honor and so exciting!
Anyhow, this cute one-bedroom apartment was so much fun to design, but there was just one issue...it was small. So how do I make the space look functional for future resident's? That was my biggest challenge going into this project.
Starting with the living and dining area, these two rooms share the space; that there wasn't a lot of. I wanted to use a regular sized sofa and oversized accent chair, but what about the small dining area? Well the good news is there is a restaurant inside the facility for it's residents- so the dining area wasn't something I really wanted to play up. I used these fun gold barstools and a small bistro table and chairs set, allowing for at least 4 guests to sit comfortably in the dining area. Without having to sacrifice the living area, I added the ottoman that functions as a coffee table and storage- because yes, the top comes off! This piece serves 3 functions!
SMALL SPACE PRO DESIGN TIP- Adding texture to the room helps create dimension in a small space
That oversized wall art above the sofa- one wouldn't think incorporating something really big in a small space would be right. Wrong! Texture gives the eye something to investigate, something to sink its teeth into, something that makes the whole space feel a lot bigger.
I think texture is something most people forget when designing a small space. They focus more on storage solutions, often it’s intentionally overlooked for fear of cluttering up an already small space.
You can add some small extra home décor pieces to add textures to your space. Focus on the finishes of your existing furniture pieces too. Like the faux fur rug I draped over the ottoman, the gold side table and gold hammered lamp. It could even be a simple fabric couch with wooden arms and legs. The key to achieving visual balance and to keep visual clutter at bay is to have one or two pieces of furniture in similar textures. The faux rug on the ottoman ties into a larger faux rug under the dining table.
Another way to work in texture in small spaces is through adding texture to walls. Textures on walls make a big impact and they don’t take up any floor space. You can do so through a variety of ways including wallpaper, textured paint like Dulux’s Ambiance Paints (the paints can offer up anything from a rustic linen feel to a luxurious marble finish), wall cladding or wall moulding. In the living room I added a hanging ladder to a decorative hook then folded some textured throw blankets. An easy and unique way to not only store extra blankets, but also adds texture!
FINAL SMALL SPACE PRO DESIGN TIP: When adding textures to your space, use juxtapositions e.g. metallic vs matte, weathered vs smooth, see-through vs opaque. Keep in mind that textures don’t have to be felt to be sensed; they can also be visual to make an impact
I meet a lot of people when I'm staging homes who are in the process of downsizing. Most of the Sellers I meet are choosing to downsize because of a desire to live simpler, wanting a low-maintenance lifestyle. Even though a lot of people choose to downsize at some point in their life, there are still some helpful tips to help with the transition. This week our favorite guest blog contributor, Alice Robertson with tidyhome.com shares what NOT to do when you are downsizing. While downsizing ultimately can ease your lifestyle, the process of moving can be pretty darn stressful and complicated. The last thing you want to do is complicate things even more by going about it all the wrong way. Here’s how to avoid some common mistakes homeowners make when they’re preparing for a downsize.
Consider All Your Needs
When it comes to downsizing, one of the biggest hiccups for some homeowners is not taking all their
needs into account. It’s easy to get caught up in finding size and value and forget some basics. With that in mind, make some notes of your non-negotiables.
For example, if you have a busy family or canine companion, a fenced yard might be on your list of must-haves. If you expect to add onto your family in the way of a baby, or by taking in an older family member, a flex room might make your list. Along those same lines, if aging in place is on your wishlist, consider looking for a home that is well-suited to senior-friendly modifications.
Broaden Your Search
In addition to thinking in terms of current and future needs, older adults might wish to contemplate a different kind of downsize, especially if they have any mobility or health concerns. If you don’t have family close by and you want to enjoy as much independence as possible, an assisted living community could make an ideal transition.
Assisted living communities are designed to promote as much self-sufficiency as you wish, paired with the support you need. Staff can help you with things like dressing and bathing, as well as provide some great amenities like transportation services and group events. You can begin your search online, then tour communities that make the cut. In terms of cost, keep in mind that the median monthly rent in Colorado Springs is about $1,235, which might be a deciding factor for you when looking into assisted living.
Less Space, Less Stuff
No matter what your other search criteria is, by the very nature of downsizing you can expect to have less room for your belongings when you move. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t part ways with enough things prior to the move. In order to make things go smooth as silk, it’s important to do some decluttering with your smaller space in mind.
Sorting your stuff can be really hard! Many people get hung up on things due to a sense of obligation or concern that something will come in handy “someday.” To help with the process, The Mostly Simple Life recommends keeping one big question in mind as you declutter your belongings: “Would I buy this again today?” If the answer is no, it’s time to part ways.
Another space-related concern many homeowners overlook specifically pertains to furniture. Sure, you intend to enjoy lounging on a couch in your new place, but will your big, overstuffed sectional fit into the new, smaller living room? You might want to give up some bigger pieces and invest in some new, smaller furnishings to comfortably outfit your downsized home. To help you sort things out, there are free apps you can use to organize your layout in the new space.
Allow Ample Time
Moving is time-consuming, and many homeowners don’t allow enough time to get everything done. If you have a lot of decluttering to do, you’ll need to pad your timeline to allow for that process, as well as enough time for packing. Unless you’re planning a DIY move, you’ll need to contact movers a couple of months prior to your moving date as well. To ensure you stay on track, use a week-by-week moving checklist from My Moving Reviews.
Downsizing can be a fabulous transition when handled properly. Take all your needs into account, remember you won’t have as much room, and allow enough time to accomplish your to-do list before you move in. And after you’re settled into your new home, make it look the best it can be by hiring an interior decorating company. Toscano Interiors takes your wellness into account and works to boost the mind, body, and spirit through their interior decorating efforts.
This week my focus is making the most out of small spaces, and here with another guest article from Alice Robertson with Tidy Home Co. She is such a delight and savvy when it comes to using your small spaces in a more functional way, and let's not forget...still making a statement!
Over the course of time, we all seem to accumulate a lot of “stuff.” If your belongings are starting to pile up, or if you just could use a little more elbow room, some clever storage tricks can be the key to a more comfortable house. Here are smart strategies to help make the most of the space you have so you can have a home that’s tidy and efficient.
Look at the Big Picture
When it comes to making the most of your available space, it’s important to take a hard look at your entire abode. Whether you live in a small house or your home simply lacks storage, examining the space throughout can help you find the answers to your issue. Think in terms of evaluating every square inch — from the basement to the garage and everything in between — so you can best maximize your property’s potential. HomeAdvisor offers some excellent tips and resources for organizing your entire home.
Clear Up Your Clutter
One of the first steps toward getting more organized is to eliminate the things you don’t use. As you go through your home, you’ll want to look at items with the mindset of three sorting categories: items to keep, items to sell or give away, and items that need to be discarded. If you have things you’re on the fence about, you can always store them off-site while you contemplate life without them. Having those items elsewhere is a great way to test drive whether you really miss them. Or, if the job is simply unwieldy and you don’t have room for everything, you can book a self-storage unit while you pursue in-home storage solutions. A 5’x5’ storage unit in Colorado Springs can be rented for as low as $35 a month at Mini U Storage - Motor City.
Cupboards and Cabinetry
Making the most of the storage built into your home can be a huge boost in helping you get organized and stay on top of your storage concerns. Examine your kitchen and bathroom cabinets for opportunities to be more efficient. Put your commonly used items where they are handy, and use totes for cleaning supplies so you can grab them as you need them. You can set up separate totes for your various jobs, such as a bathroom cleaning tote and a kitchen cleaning tote, and keep them near where you will use them. Keep enough supplies handy to do what you need, but don’t purchase an abundance and have them taking up valuable storage space.
Make areas that are inefficient more useful with shelves, totes, or storage bins (can be purchased for $11.34). Lazy-susans and pull-out shelves can make deep, low-level areas more accessible, helping you reach and use the items you store there. Keep similar items together, such as dry goods together on their shelves, so you know where to look for them. In the bathroom, keep hair supplies in one area, first aid in a special tote or container, and makeup in an appropriate bag.
Are your closets cramped, dark, and disorganized? Most traditionally structured closets just have a bar for your wardrobe and a shelf overhead, which makes poor use of the space. Installing a closet system can help you get on top of the clutter and help you keep your clothing tidier. If funds are tight, consider checking thrift shops and second-hand stores for shallow bookcases or dressers you can slide inside your closets. Pretty them up with trim, paint, and shelf paper. It’s an inexpensive solution that can help optimize your space, and you will enjoy seeing your handiwork when you’re preparing for the day.
If your home doesn’t provide much in the way of closets, attic space, or other ready storage, adding attractive, built-in structures like open shelving and cabinets can put otherwise useless wall space to work. Pick up some bookcases and paint them all the same shade to make the most of small areas, or for an eclectic look, try a few hues that pull together your color scheme. Install attractive boxes and totes on the shelves, or along those same lines, you can hang boxes directly on your walls if floor space is already occupied. In your garage and basement, you can search salvage yards for second-hand cabinets to add better organization, and add storage protected from pests and weather changes. A good scrubbing and a coat of paint can turn even ugly and worn cabinets into useful and attractive storage solutions.
Double Duty Furniture
A great way to make the most of your belongings is to find furniture that can pull double duty. Instead of buying a traditional bed, purchase a platform bed with drawers underneath (you can buy a bed with drawers for $499.99). Turn a vintage trunk into your coffee table, or stack old suitcases next to the sofa so they can multitask as your end table. Look for desks and tables with drawer space, and opt for ottomans with hidden compartments. Rather than letting clutter accumulate on horizontal surfaces, add attractive trays and totes to keep things sorted.
Even homes with limited square footage or minimal storage can stay neat, tidy, and functional. Look for ways to make the most of the space you have, and create more storage where you need it. With clever strategies, you can keep ahead of your clutter and enjoy a more comfortable, efficient, and attractive home.
Author, Candance Toscano
"You can design the life of your dreams and acquire that luxurious, fulfilled and empowered lifestyle you know you have always wanted."