Design — 18 April 2014
Big ideas for downsized spaces at home

By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub

Lauri Ward believes bigger isn’t better. Her credo is: If you want to live smarter, live smaller.

Ward, author of Downsizing Your Home with Style, helps clients dispose of what they don’t need and make their smaller spaces look bigger.

 Here are some suggestions in an interview from her Boca Raton office:

Edit, edit, edit: Consider which items you love that can be repurposed. Get rid of extraneous bric-a-brac, books you won’t read again, framed art and posters you no longer like, small appliances you haven’t used in years, doubles of anything, furniture that is worn or shabby unless it has special meaning, sofas longer than 96 inches, old audio equipment and tapes, mirrors with damaged silvering, worn-out bedding and table linens, extra vases and candlesticks, old piles of magazines. If something has a memory attached, take a photo of it for remembrance and give it away.

Hidden storage: The key word is closed. Forget leggy tables; use those with plenty of drawers. Put a cabinet behind a sofa or love seat. Ottomans should open for storage. Decorate with a folding screen and store items behind it. Find a headboard with storage.

Mirror tricks: Hang a mirror on the opposite wall from a window that gets good light to make the room seem bigger and brighter. Add a mirror and recessed lights to the back of a built-in to create additional depth.

Multi-functional: Use tables on wheels so they can be moved and used in different places. A guest room can double as an office with a sofa bed or Murphy bed. A dining table can also be your desk. Consider a round table on a pedestal that can be raised or lowered by remote control. If down it’s a coffee table; if up it’s a dining table.

Seating: Select a sofa with small arms that don’t take up space. Consider a pair of armless slipper chairs.

Painting: If a room has a lot of doors, paint the walls and doors the same color to make the room look bigger. If you have an open floor plan, paint everything the same color. One wall can be in an accent color.

Area rugs: Use an area rug to define a conversation area, but don’t use one in the dining room. Too many area rugs break up
the space.

 

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