You've made the move from your large home to a two-bedroom house or apartment. All your old furniture that wasn't given to the kids or sold has come along with you to the new place. Looking around, you realize your large furniture looks uncomfortable in the new setting, and your new place doesn't look at all like the exquisitely decorated model you toured.
Here are some of the major mistakes people make when downsizing:
1. Too much of everything
Oftentimes, in the rush of moving, everything gets carted to the new place. When moving to a new home, residents want the comfort of familiar furniture, bedding, curtains, and decorations. And, sometimes, the wall of family pictures that looked homey in your old place overwhelms the new.
Tips: Rent a storage unit for six months and pack away items that don't have a specific place and purpose in the new home. If you find yourself missing the item, bring it back. If not, give it to a family member or friend.
Just because you need a dining room table doesn't mean you should use the one you have. Peruse home decor magazines and visit furniture stores to discover ideas.
2. Out-of-proportion furniture
Contrary to popular belief, a small love seat may not look better in a smaller living room. Sometimes, a sectional may look fine. And remember to consider vertical and horizontal space when arranging your furniture.
Tips: Consider furniture proportions, use and color. If you have a piece of furniture that fills up a lot of space, make sure it doesn't prevent you from using other pieces in the room or navigating from one area to another.
Is the furniture being fully utilized? A love seat that seats two and two complementary chairs may be just as effective as a couch that seats four.
Does your walnut table look out of place in your white dining room? Consider painting your dining room in earth tones, re-staining the table, bedecking the table with a white tablecloth or a combination of the three.
3. Not using negative space
Sometimes, your field of vision needs a break, an absence. Every single surface does not need a trinket. Every single wall does not need a photo or painting.
Tips: Display your items on a revolving basis. Aunt Martha's vase may be perfect on the table filled with flowers during the summer, yet be replaced by the pottery bowl your son made in elementary school during autumn.
If you still have too many treasures to display, try putting them in one location to display instead of filling the entire room.
4. Breaking the space up too much
Colors, furniture, drapes, flooring, shelves, and room dividers can all make small areas appear cluttered.
Tips: If you require shelves for storage, make them blend with the walls so that they don't stand out. Each room doesn't have to be painted different colors. Even a small rug can break up an expanse of flooring.
5. Lack of planning
Even though you saw the floor plan for your new home, you chose items to keep based on emotion. If you couldn't bear to leave behind your mother's credenza, you were going to make it fit in the dining room, whether you would use it or not.
Natural and manmade lighting will determine the locations of some items and tasks. You wouldn't put a desk in a corner with no natural light, especially if you use it for making crafts, sewing, or doing paperwork.
Tip: If you have the time, test various layouts to determine which works best for you. Divide a room according to its uses—working, sleeping, walking, dining—and ensure you can do what you need.
6. Not maximizing storage space
Most living spaces have wasted space under beds, above doors, and in cabinets.
Tip: Use plastic bins, shelves, lazy susans, tension rods, and other organizing tools.
7. Using only light colors
Sure, light colors tend to open up a space, but they can also appear cold and contrast with beloved belongings.
Tip: Light colors aren't the only decorating tools that can open up a room. Continuous, unbroken floor and wall surfaces open up spaces, as do mirrors.