Making small look great

A reduction in space does not have to mean a reduction in either lifestyle or comfort. Instead, consider the move to a new address as an invitation to change. And what better way to celebrate a fresh start than with some new décor? The following tips will help ensure your new, “downsized” living space is as comfortable as possible, with a minimum of fuss.

Plan ahead: Obtain a floor plan of your future space and make several copies of it. Block out various, possible furniture arrangements for each room and choose those which are both pleasing and practical. Changes can always be made but on moving day, such advance planning will save you confusion, time and money.

Colour your world:
To make a room appear larger and airier, paint it a light colour. The lighter the walls, the more they seem to recede. To make that same room feel smaller and cozier, use warmer, darker colours to effectively draw the walls in closer.

Something old, something new:
To recycle shabby furnishings or to combine pieces which were originally in different rooms, re-upholster or slipcover the furniture and refinish or paint any damaged wood or metal trim. Buydentical lampshades for still usable bases. Cut down long, formal draperies for use as short, informal curtains, swags, or side panels, bedspreads, accent pillows, tablecloths and napkins. Cut wall-to-wall carpeting into smaller sizes, bind the borders, and use them as area rugs.

Starting over:
If refurnishing, either partially or completely, begin by putting together a sample board comprised of paint chips, swatches of fabric, wallpaper, and carpeting. This will ensure that everything will work together harmoniously. Because natural and artificial lighting affect a room differently, examine the colour palette you’re considering under both conditions – by day and by night.

Minimum expense, maximum effect:
Find new applications for old possessions. Use an ornamental screen as a room divider or as a headboard. Suspend a beautiful rug from a pole and it becomes a wall hanging. Convert an armoire into a recreation unit for the TV, VCR and stereo system. Change a large writing table into a small dining table; a small, round patio table into a kitchen table. Drape a decorative shawl over an accent table or corner of a sofa or bed, to disguise worn areas and add a homey touch.

Safety in numbers:
Gather up objects scattered throughout your former home and cluster them together in dramatic groupings or vignettes. On walls, hang interesting arrangements of photographs or paintings, decorative mirrors or plates, carvings or masks. Hang some in combination for a more dramatic effect. On tabletops and window ledges, arrange clusters of brass candlesticks, ornamental eggs, enameled boxes, chunks of marble, stone or quartz, china figurines, or glass paperweights. Use bookshelves not only for books, but also as further display spaces for collectibles.

Hidden agenda:
For added storage, fill an old steamer trunk or wooden toy box, place it at the foot of the bed and cover it with an afghan or material complimentary to the bed furnishings. Do the same with several stacked suitcases. Craft stores abound with large, decorative cardboard boxes that can be filled, stacked, and displayed against a wall.

Divide and conquer:
Armed with a keener eye and a folder brimming with ideas, you are ready to prove that scaling down is truly a matter of saving the best for last.