Be Wise When You Downsize
Jen Siska

Be Wise When You Downsize

Small spaces pose inevitable design challenges, but none that can’t be overcome with a little ingenuity and some expert tips. Susan Marinello, left, offers a few pointers on how to make the most of your compact space.

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Edit, Edit, Edit

Transitioning to a smaller space poses one of the biggest challenges, says Marinello. “So often, people want to move their entire homes into their condos.” Instead, consider it a fresh new space, and be willing to make sacrifices and part with pieces.

Tria Giovan

Organize and Optimize

The smaller the space, the more organized it has to be. An excellent way to control clutter is to have furniture custom made.

“They’ll fit your space much better than ready-made pieces, and the cost difference isn’t as much as you would think,” counsels Marinello. She suggests building floor-to-ceiling shelves (1 foot deep) along the entire length of one wall for books, CDs, and knickknacks. “There’s a lot you can store in 12 inches. You won’t miss the foot, but you’ll gain all that storage.”


Bring The Outside In

Create a seamless transition between interior and exterior by choosing color palettes and natural materials (hardwood, granite, or textured wool carpeting) that complement the view from your window.

“When there are no visual barriers, the outside comes in and becomes a part of the room … (and) a small room can appear more spacious,” explains Marinello.

Laurey W. Glenn

Watch That Scale

Select furniture pieces in proportion to the size of a room. “Oftentimes, people want to push the boundaries of how much a space can hold,” Marinello says. But size isn’t everything; comfort can be accomplished with a 60- or 96-inch sofa. “Rooms have to breathe, furniture has to breathe.”

Courtesy of Crate & Barrel

Find Flexible Furniture

Every piece should have a function, or at least be mobile and flexible. Nesting tables are fabulous in that way, says Marinello, as are sectional sofas that split apart. Ottomans that open are great for storage and can be tucked beneath console tables. Or use a trunk as a coffee table.

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