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Downsizing? Designing for small spaces!
Making the Move
Leaving the family home behind can be sad, but a few tricks can make your new dwelling a visual treat. Hannah MacDonald reports.
Selling the family home and downsizing to a unit or townhouse doesn’t mean rushing out to buy new furniture to fit your smaller space.
Instead, as Revy Bryce-Browning, creative director of Design Vision, points out, it’s a chance to declutter and review your home design.
“You don’t need to buy all new pieces — you just need to know how to integrate different styles of furniture into a smaller space to create a modern look,” Ms Bryce-Browning says.
“This can be difficult, and consulting an interior designer can be invaluable in the reviewing process, but it is achievable if you follow a few designer tips.”
When deciding which items of furniture to keep for a smaller space, she says to stick with family heirlooms and pieces that fit with your new style.
“You can refurbish grandma’s old chaise or dining chairs with a cool metallic fabric or a plain cream linen,” she says.
“One of my clients had a lovely old chair and sideboard that we incorporated into her new apartment; we re-covered the chair in a fabric that kept with the era but gave it a modern twist by ensuring the fabric co-ordinated with the cushions and sofa we purchased.”
To make a space appear larger than it is, Ms Bryce-Browning says some of your furniture should be the same colour as your walls.
“White walls are not great with a room full of dark timber antiques,” she says.
“To give the furniture something to sink into, deepen the wall colour — this will help the furniture to blend into the walls, which will widen your space.
“It’s also essential to keep the colour palette the same in all rooms so that each room flows into the next, thus making the whole apartment appear larger than it is.”
While it helps to keep a home’s colour palette minimal, the designer also advises keeping pieces on display to a minimum.
“Display only what you need — gone are the days of displaying your treasures; use your silver and crockery but don’t display it. There’ll be less dusting to do, too,” she says.
And for the colour connoisseurs, try doing what Ms Bryce-Browning does. She prefers to blend two colours of the same tone, for example deep sea green and navy blue, into a deeper architectural palette of say, a brown and charcoal kitchen.
“Always balance warm and cool finishes,” she says.
“If you have timber floors, add some cool greys; if you have cool grey tiles, add some timber furniture.”
However, colour does need to be carefully considered, and it should not be overdone. “You might like to create one colourful room, like a music room or a study to stimulate your senses, but not every room,” she says.
“Your bedroom especially should be restful and beautiful and make you feel like you’re in a luxury hotel; that doesn’t mean it needs to be luxurious — just beautiful in its bedding and harmonious in its palette.”
A few more of Ms Bryce-Browning tips to trick the eye into thinking a room has more space include keeping ceilings white, using a round glass dining table for its ability to disappear into a room, and hanging full, flowing curtains that are sheer and let in the light.
For new apartments with open-plan living areas, multiple light sources can help. Pendant lights can emphasise the height of a room, while floor lamps can illuminate dark corners.
Finally, the interior designer with more than 25 years of experience says to look out for floor to-ceiling or wall-to-wall cupboards when downsizing.
“Not only will these disappear into the wall and make your space seem bigger, but they’re great for storage, too,” she says.
REVY’S FIVE GOLDEN RULES OF SMALL SPACE LIVING
1. Don’t Overdecorate
Adding too much decor doesn’t improve a space — it clutters it. Instead, treat the walls and windows; deepen the wall colour with a hint of textured wallpaper or soften the window frames with a sheer curtain. This will help to envelope the room, otherwise your furniture just jumps off white walls.
2. Go Pale
Pale colours can make a room appear larger. If you have a small open-plan space, carry the colour theme throughout to allow the apartment to appear larger and more harmonious. If buying new furniture, select pale timbers or glass furniture and blend these pieces in with your home’s existing finishes, especially in the kitchen.
3. Be Smart
Choose furniture that’s flexible. When buying dining chairs, buy two extra chairs in the same design. You can keep these chairs in the study, and then bring them out when you need more seats at the dining table.
4. Don’t be Disappointed
Don’t buy furniture online, especially furniture you’re going to sit on. You need to know what a sofa feels like and how low it is to the ground before you buy it, which is hard to do if you’re buying online. You often can’t change your mind when it comes to buying sofas or chairs online, so stick to buying cushions and decor online only.
5. Invest in a Hero Piece
I like to invest in one quality item, like a beautiful metallic wallpaper for the bedroom. Buy just one hero piece you’re absolutely in love with, and keep the rest of the room neutral.
Full article: The Sunday Mail (thesundaymail.com.au) – Sunday, 19 November 2017 (Page 6)