How to downsize — and stay sane

Downsizing can be a blessing and a curse. It’s a great opportunity to start a fresh chapter in your life, but there’s also the conundrum of fitting all of your old furniture and decor into your new home.

Hopefully you’ve already completed a declutter (tips on how to do it right can be found here), and now comes the time to examine your new space and adjust some of your furniture selections.

Below I’ll break down your home room by room and give you some small-space tips that’ll help you make the most of your new (albeit slightly smaller) abode.

Small living room ideas
Chunky sectional sofas were all the rage a few years ago, but they’re not the friend of the small living room. Your best bet is to look for a sofa with a lower back and thin arms.

Also look at sofas that are raised off the floor a little, ideally on narrow legs. This allows air to flow underneath and gives the illusion of more room. Also pull the sofa off the wall a little. Giving pieces room to breathe in small spaces is essential.

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Round coffee and side tables are better in a small space than square or rectangular pieces. The fluid lines give the impression of more room (and you won’t knock your legs on the corners all the time).

If you can mount your TV onto the wall and have a unit underneath that doesn’t take up too much space, it’ll help greatly. Look for low entertainment units in light colours.

If the room is really cramped, a cluster of lightweight, round side tables can make a wonderful alternative to a standard coffee table.

Small bedroom tips
If you’re keen to keep the size of your mattress the same, consider replacing the bed frame instead.

Ensemble beds without a headboard are hands-down the best option for a small bedroom. If you’ve got your heart set on a headboard or frame, ensure it’s not too high or too elaborate. Embellished French ornate headboards, for example, can be overpowering. Avoid four-poster beds at all costs.

Consider changing your bedsides too. Often people have wide wooden bedsides with two or three drawers. Ask yourself if you really need those drawers. A round side table would be a fantastic alternative. If it’s on thin legs it’s going to instantly create more airflow and sense of space.

When it comes to lighting, opt for a floor lamp in the corner, but ensure the base and stem are thin. Avoid tripod legs as they’ll take up a tonne of floor space.

Small kitchen and dining cheats
Don’t feel like you have to rush out and replace everything. If you have a dark dining table, for example, keep it and just replace your chairs instead.

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High-backed leather or fabric chairs have been really popular in years gone by, but they can overpower a small space.

Look to chairs that still have padding on the seat (you’ve got to be comfortable!), but opt for a low back instead. Also choose a lighter fabric colour - like soft grey or beige.

Kitchen stools without backs are your friend too, because they tuck under the bench with ease. Choose varieties with a round seat instead of square.

If you’re finding storage in the kitchen an issue, and your laundry is nearby, consider putting some of the appliances you don’t use frequently in there. You could even install some wall shelves in your laundry and keep smaller appliances and some pantry items on them.

It’s all about thinking outside of the box when you have a small home on your hands, so don’t be afraid to utilise rooms in unconventional ways.

How do you make the best of a small space?

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