Monday, April 25, 2016

It's a Small World After All

That's not entirely true . . . but how do you explain the interest in the Tiny House Movement? (Yes, there really is a movement.) I think people are fascinated by the idea of living in a very small space, maybe even one you can take with you. While most people I know aren't ready to make that jump yet, I am working with a lot of people who are down-sizing. And that has it's own set of issues.

As someone who did this a couple of years ago, I understand the difficulties of living in a smaller space. There's less storage, less space for furniture, fewer rooms . . . but for me it's been well worth it as I learn that less really is more. I like having less to clean and maintain, less "stuff" around me to worry about, and the new house really does feel cozy rather than small.

But there are a few things I've learned that I thought I would share with those who are going through or are considering going through a similar transition.

First, furnishings need to be flexible. That means the sofa/loveseat combo is probably not a good idea. If  you still want a sofa, go smaller and have chairs instead of a loveseat. Or forego the sofa and simply have chairs surrounding a round coffee table. Two pairs of chairs or all four matching keeps the arrangement from looking too random. (And the mirrors help expand the space.)

Get creative with seating options. Rather than a coffee table, what about an ottoman. Or have poufs or small stools available. A plus is if they can be stored under another piece of furniture (console table? coffee table?) or used in place of a side table until needed.
Midwest Living

Banquettes and benches make great space-saving seating options in the dining room. And if you haven't seen some of the great storage options available under beds, you're missing out! While there are lots of creative ideas for putting things under a bed, there are also some wonderful beds that have built-in storage underneath - and I'm not talking platform beds!

Then keep a few "rules" in mind to make space feel larger. Use one area large area rug (8x10) to ground the seating, and keep all other rugs out. Hang larger artwork pieces rather than groupings, especially of smaller pictures. Keep window treatments minimal. Use one large accessory rather than a few smaller ones. And while you may not be ready for a tiny house, before you know it, you'll be loving living small!

Monday, April 4, 2016

You've Got This

One of the most difficult aspects of working with my clients is seeing how some of them struggle to feel comfortable in their own homes. And the reason is usually because they think they don't know how to "decorate". It seems that with our design "rules" and shelter magazines, we've intimidated people so they are afraid of doing something wrong. So they do nothing at all.

I understand when people have rooms that just don't quite seem right and they can't figure out why not. There are some things that do go a long way towards making rooms warm and inviting. But that's different from not doing anything because you're afraid to do the wrong thing.

So here are a few of my "rules" that anyone can implement. And immediately feel better about their homes.

  1. If you don't love it or use it, lose it. Why keep things around you that aren't useful or don't make you smile when you see them?
  2. If you do love it, showcase it, whatever it is. And no matter what anyone else says. That means putting it on display, hanging it on the wall, using it regularly and not just on special occasions.
  3. Less is generally more, but only because we can really notice our things if there's not too much else around them. That doesn't mean getting rid of anything (unless you don't love it), but perhaps rotating your things. You'll really appreciate them so much more when you do see them. 
  4. Don't pay attention to trends, unless there's one you happen to really love. I can't tell you how
    many times I hear things like "I really love green, but I know it's not a good color for a dining room". There are no decorating police. See Rule #2.
Of course there are tips and tricks that can really work to make our homes look and feel the way we like. And we don't always know what they are or how to use them. But start with these 4 "rules" and you'll be well on your way!