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Monday, May 19, 2014

Pulling It All Together - Downsizing

I am always asked a lot of questions about my living room.  I know I have shown it so many times that most of you feel like you live her, however there are some basic questions or comments that I hear over and over, so I thought I would answer them here. 

 How to downsize and create your dream with Thrift Store finds.

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We sold the "big house" and downsized 8 years ago.  Our home sold in 1 hour with a bidding war and for $25,000 over the asking price.  The only condition was, could we move in 3 weeks.   Now I hadn't even looked for a home yet, so I was under a ton of pressure.  I needed something ready to move in.  This was a builder basic "Spec Home".  Not my true love, but the price was right.  I didn't do much when we moved in but place what furniture I could into each room and call it good.  I soon found out that downsizing was much harder than I had ever thought and I really missed the big house.   Finally I decided to love where I am and make it work for us, so there have been many transitions over the last 8 10 years.

Here are a couple of pictures of our living and dining area in the previous home.  Now don't laugh at the decor, this was the early 90's and I was heavy into my red and gold phase.


 The living/dining area measured 25 x 40 and had two story vaulted ceilings, so lots of room and space.

This is our current living/dining area.  The space measure 17 x 21"8"



Since the front door opens directly into the room and becomes the walkway to the rest of the house, you are really down to about 14 ft. wide.  That creates a really cozy space for two rooms, so the furniture had to be small in scale.

  The life saver of this room is the large mirror from our previous house, it almost becomes a mirrored wall and gives the illusion of twice the space. I found it at a design studio, it was so big no one wanted it, so I was able to get it for $229.  That's a great price for a 4 x 8 ft. mirror.   Small space solutions are the small chest in front of the window instead of a larger console or chest.  The sofa has been downsized also.  Changing out an 8 ft sofa for a 61/2 ft one with low profile arms definitely fits the space better. (This is also a super bargain that I got when a neighbor was moving and couldn't use it.  $100, can't beat that.)  I think one of the biggest changes in making the room appear larger is when I changed out the drapes so they match the wall color. they fade into the background rather than stand out and draw attention, plus hanging them from the ceiling creates the illusion of space and height.  (These are also a thrifty treasure since they were my daughters.  She got new and I got her old.  Love them.)

(2016 I've updated some pictures to reflect my current room)

The first drapes that I used in the living room were gorgeous, I absolutely loved both fabrics and how the brown drapes looked, however, they definitely do grab your attention and make the walls appear closer.  Sometimes it is best to keep the drapes neutral to match the walls.

  I am asked about the two leather chairs all the time too.  Well, they are treasures I found at a consignment shop years ago and I was so thrilled to have a real leather chair that I bought both.  I paid $100 a piece.  The tufted one doesn't have any tags on it, but the other one is Ethan Allen.  I just can't seem to part with them and this is the only place they fit, so they stay.  I think you have to keep some favorites regardless of size, style or space.  (Are you beginning to see a pattern here, $100 chairs and $100 sofa)


 Using a really small end table on one side of the sofa and a small skirted table on the other also conserves space.  This little table was a Goodwill find for $15.


A small scale open arm chair allows you to see through, under and around the chair instead of blocking the view and creating a solid barrier.  (This piece was in my old house and was a floor model clearance chair.  I think it was around $100.) Since there are legs on the dining table and chairs, the skirted table brings color and something solid to this end of the sofa while it still blends into the wall since it has a neutral fabric. A table with legs would look crowded even though it would be more open.  Just too many legs in one spot.  Table rounds are really inexpensive and a Goodwill tablecloth looks amazing.


On the dining end I chose a really large painting to draw attention to this end of the room.  Again, one large painting has a clean uncluttered look. The simple bouquet in the painting allows you to feel as if you are looking beyond it.  Smaller pictures or a gallery wall would close the space in.  The painting was a "Starving Artist" piece for $79.


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The things I have learned during the last 8 years is you can use some of your larger furniture and art, just be careful to keep it to a minimum in any one room.  Smaller scaled, open and airy pieces don't close a room in, but be careful of getting too leggy.  Oversized stuffed furniture pieces and big boxy cabinet pieces are really hard to work around in a small space.  One or two pieces can become a focal point and give a room character if the other pieces are more in scale with the room size, so pick and choose which pieces you want to have as a focal point.



Every space needs to evolve, so keep making changes until you finally get the look you are seeking.  I am not sure if I will ever have this room "done", but for now I love it.

Wall mirror - $229
Sofa - $100
Leather Chairs - $100 ea.
Floor Model Chair - $100
End Table $15
Painting - $79



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37 comments:

  1. You have done a wonderful job downsizing. Your home looks welcoming and cozy.

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  2. I live in a small beach cottage and I totally get the challenges of large furniture in small spaces! I think your place is lovely and you have done a wonderful job with it! :)

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  3. Your other home was very pretty too. Downsizing is tricky, but you have made the best of it! One has to be able to let go of some of the pieces or use them differently. I have a small home, but fortunately, the walls were in the right place for the large pieces. Newer homes, such as yours, are more open with more windows. xoxo

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  4. These are really great tips!! While my rooms are just as large in my new home as in my old, they are darker and the ceilings are only 8' compared to having a 2 story den and vaulted family room. It was really challenging - especially with the art I had on my walls!

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  5. I so enjoy your decor.... not a single piece of white-painted distressed furniture in sight! Thank you. Vicki in Louisville KY

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  6. Marty, I admire your positive attitude and the way you've made this home work for you. You home is always lovely. I think we as Americans tend to live with more than we need. I'm working on letting go. I'm a collector and there in lies the problem. Ha!
    You offered some good tips. Thanks!

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  7. I can see from the pictures of your previous home that your style hasn't changed, Marty! I can totally understand about the downsizing issues. We went through that 2 1/2 years ago when we moved and downsized. I sold a lot of our big pieces of furniture before we even sold the house. I knew we'd never be able to bring them with us. Other pieces went to my daughter and son-in-law for their first house, which worked out for both of us.

    I love your leather chairs. What great finds they were. I really like the tufted one and you got them for a great price.

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  8. I think everything looks lovely and well put together. Blessings for a beautiful Sunday. Catherine

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  9. As I live in a small cottage, I found your post really intersting. Thanks for sharing your tips!

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  10. I am going through the same thing. Downsizing.. It is hard to get used to after coming from a huge living room, separate formal dining room, etc. I brought my old furniture from the other house and it is pretty big, but I am managing. It looks like your eight years have paid off as your living room looks great.. I have some time to get it right... looks like yours is divine...
    Hugs,
    Cindy

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  11. I'm glad to see you kept the china cabinet - I have one that could be its twin (inherited from my mom - I can't part with it). You have done a wonderful job paring down but keeping the original character of your home. I'm a new visiter via The Yellow Cape Cod.

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  12. Your home always looks so warm and inviting...beautifully pulled together!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY...
    Blessings,
    Cindy

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  13. I love those leather chairs Marty, you got such a deal on them!

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  14. Marty you did a beautiful job of pulling your rooms all together...you created such a warm and cozy home! Love your style!!

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  15. I think you have done an amazing job. My house is small so I can relate to some of the things you were saying. I guess I am strange, I like having a smaller house. I think it is easier to maintain.

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  16. I agree with Melanie! We moved years ago from a tiny cape to the current house, which is bigger but not huge. But it's a lot more work to maintain. My husband thinks we should add on to the kitchen and more, but I say no, if you can believe it. I don't want the bother, as my kids are about to go off to college. Your home is always lovely.

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  17. love your home and décor. Smaller is better as we age. Wish we had bought a house with a smaller yard 3 years ago. Next house will have a real small yard and just enough house to be comfortable.

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  18. I love that you put so much thought into your home. The details you pointed out and why you did those things made so much sense. Also those leather chairs from a consignment shop?!! Where do you shop? Those are beautiful. I love your home, big or small it is beautiful. Thank you for sharing at the snickerdoodle link party

    Emily- Our house now a home

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  19. Loved your post and seeing pictures of your previous home! Just beautiful. Great ideas and advice about downsizing that we can all use!
    Miss Bloomers

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  20. I nearly fell off my chair when I read this post. "Don't laugh? It was in the early 90's?" which is exactly where I am stuck. Actually, I love it there. It suits me probably. :) I KNEW you were being sweet when you left your comment! :):) Okay..now those bows really DO have to go! At least I can do that.
    Big hugs,
    Mona

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  21. I loved your home. There is so much style and attention to details. You have my admiration!
    Carpet Cleaners Wimbledon

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  22. You handled downsizing like a pro Marty! I honestly don't think I would handle with such grace as you did. I am more likely to kick and holler a bit! lol

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  23. Marty, thanks for sharing. I love how you came to realize where you were was good enough! We'll be downsizing in about three years so your tips are greatly appreciated! ( Can I say I'm a little afraid of the process?) thanks for showing me it's possible!

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  24. Marty, you have done an excellent job. You got good taste too! Love it all. I bet you have missed the larger home but I sure wouldn't miss cleaning it! LOL! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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  25. What a beautiful home you have. I love that mirror over your sofa and you are so right in saying that it makes your room feel even larger. Such great tips...thank you so much for sharing Marty!
    Have a great week!
    XO Barbara

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  26. Such a beautiful space! Love, love that big mirror...gorgeous!

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  27. The sofa and mirror are just stunners Marty. I shop just like you. xo, olive

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  28. Marty, Your home is beautifully decorated. We moved three weeks ago and downsized significantly so I am also finding our larger pieces do not work in this smaller home. Thanks for the tips.
    xx,
    Sherry

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  29. I really enjoyed this post! Lots of wonderful advice. That big mirror above your couch is so beautiful! It's a keeper!
    Brenda

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  30. Oh Marty, you certainly know how to pull things together and you do it so well. Your home is just lovely with every detail perfect! Thanks for sharing your amazing downsizing story!
    Nancy
    xo

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  31. I enjoyed this post! It is interesting to see how people come to be in there current homes and good for you in deciding to make the one you're in work for you! Terrific job on downsizing some items and great tips on how to make a small space appear bigger.

    DD

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  32. Marty, you don't know it but you are teaching us lessons. My husband and I bought our current house almost 2 years ago. It's big...much bigger than we need but we were moving quickly too. I don't know if this will be our forever home. I look around and home there are many grandbabies here one of these days but you never know. I'd be happy in a cabin somewhere as long as my husband is there with me.

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  33. It's a lovely, cozy space, Marty!

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  34. You've done an excellent job! I love your home, I love your style! I like how you create openness with the mirror, the soft colors and the drapes all the way to the ceiling, lovely!

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  35. So funny that you posted these images of your beautiful living room on the same day that I posted about mirrors behind couches. Of course, you know that I love yours!!! And it's so impressive how little you spend to get such a great look!

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  36. I love your old living room too Marty! Somehow, even though your in this smaller house now, the FEEL of the old one is the same as this one! Love looking back and I love seeing your old home. I love your tips too on making smaller space feel bigger, come to think of it, for the amount of space you have now,I can't believe you fit all your beautiful furniture and still not make it look cramped! your a real magician dear and that's why I love reading your blog, I learn so much!

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  37. wow not only is your home lovely, such great info in this post, a tutorial on how to decorate. Kind of funny, we have been in the same house 20 years and I am still trying to move. Maybe I need to give up and make this house a comfy home using some of your tips! Thanks for sharing with Snickerdoodle Sunday!

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