5 Tips for Downsizing with Style

Less is more.- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

My mom and I recently moved out of our large family home and downsized to a much smaller space.  We went from nearly 4,500 square feet to 1,800!  What an undertaking it was- you never realize how much you have until you begin to put it in boxes.  I’ll have to admit, that at first, I was less than enthusiastic about the move.  We loved our home and had so many memories which made it harder to leave.  In the end, it really was the best move (no pun intended) for us as our new space is more compact and is so much easier to take care of.

Aside from leaving all of the memories behind, one of the hardest parts about moving was leaving behind design elements that we absolutely loved.  Every detail in our home had been meticulously thought out.  All of the light fixtures had been re-purposed, the glass doorknobs were salvaged off of Ebay  and even the claw foot bathtubs, one of which we found in someone’s yard, were carefully glazed.  So as you can imagine, it was hard to move on.  Fortunately, my mom is always up for a challenge and loves the chance to design a new space.

Our old house.

The new house.

Since undertaking this huge project, we’ve discovered some tips and tricks for not sacrificing your style when you downsize.  I’ve gathered five of our best ideas below.  And if you’re thinking about downsizing, I must say that I highly recommend it!

1. Have design, will travel- There were so many design elements in our previous home that we loved.  Bringing them to our new space, on a smaller scale, helped us to feel more at home.  If there are things that you absolutely love that you’ll be leaving, try to think of creative ways to incorporate them.  In our foyer, we really loved our pair of Moravian star lanterns and were so bummed about leaving them.  We found a similar fixture from Ballard’s and I love it just as much.

The old foyer.

Our new pendants from Ballard’s.  They make even more of an impact in a small space.

2. Use your space for you- Just because a space has been designated as a bedroom or a dining room doesn’t mean that you can’t change its function to better suit your needs.  Our new home has three bedrooms and we really don’t have a need for all of them.  Instead, we’re using one of the bedrooms as a cozy TV spot.  If you don’t entertain that much think about using your dining room as a library or office.

If you have the room, I love the idea of installing bookshelves in a dining room. 

Photo via Emily A. Clark

3. Try something new- Making a big change gives you the perfect opportunity to try out a new trend or something that you’ve always wanted.  We have been loving the encaustic tile trend and decided to incorporate it in our mudroom and master bath.

The tile that’s on every designer’s radar.  Home Depot sells something similar here.

4. Add architectural elements for interest- A move to a smaller home oftentimes means that your space may be lacking architectural detail.  Upgrade a condo or spec house by adding bead board to sheet rock walls.  It instantly gives character to a bland space.

Photo via BHG.

5. Get creative with lighting- Good lighting can really make a room.  Adding swing arm lamps behind a bed or changing pot lights out for a hanging fixture really elevates a space.  You don’t need to spend a lot either- some of our favorite light fixtures came from Menard’s and Lowe’s.

Get the look with these swing arm lamps from Home Depot.

Photo via House Beautiful.

These lanterns from Lowe’s are perfect for dressing up a hallway.

Photo via HB.

I hope these ideas inspire you to live beautifully-even in a smaller space.

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