Are you downsizing from a very large home into a very small one? If so, you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed. What to do with all that stuff? The answer, painful as it may be, is that you will sell, donate or recycle most of it. What remains, better be stuff that you really love, and that can be used in multiple ways. In fact, you’ll quickly discover in your new downsized place that all furniture has to work double-duty. In a smaller place with less square footage, every stick of furniture really counts. This is especially true of living rooms which must act as family rooms, studies, dining rooms and sometimes even guest rooms.
How do you do that? Let’s take a look!
In the living room above and below, just about all activities can be conducted in an apartment that is only 500 square feet. The tiny living room includes a sectional that allows three or more people to stretch out. There is a TV for television watching and a desk, which functions as a home office. A storage ottoman acts as a coffee table. The couch is large enough to easily accommodate sleep-over guests. Now that’s maximum efficiency.
In smaller homes, it’s a waste of square feet to devote any room to just one activity. Hence, dining rooms quickly become converted to libraries and home offices as well.
Don’t have a dining room at all? Below the homeowners opted for a long narrow table that can serve as a console or desk during the day, but that can be pulled away from the wall at night for dinner guests.
Here a home office doubles as a guest room. The bed is actually a Murphy bed that gets tucked away when the guests have gone:
In the bedroom below, a nightstand functions as a desk.
There are a gazillion ideas to get the maximum functionality out of every single room in your home. As you sift through furniture to decide what to keep and what to take, use the idea of multi-funcitonality as your guiding beacon to help make your new home comfortable and beautiful too!
Prentiss Architects have designed a pleasing woodsy retreat on Washington’s San Juan Island.
Solid quality is denoted by rugged deep-paned window construction and a dark granite tub overlooking the water.
Washington state has a recognizable design signature in which complexity and heft are key.
A double height front door is latched with an unique crafted wood slat design overlay.
Two different wood cladding treatments are contrasted with each other, providing unique graphic interest.
Often this style involves lots of detailing and offset angles.
A smaller guest house in the garden is constructed in the same sturdy way, reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts movement.
The serene view out to sea makes it seem like you are cooking in nature.
A sense of the closeness of water is present in every solidly constructed room.
The setting sun sends warm rays in to the family living room.
A statue of Buddha shares your contemplation of the view.
The result is a pleasant family home to be treasured for generations.
When we see color being used in home decor, we see pastel hues — soft blues, pinks and yellow — far less than we see bold primaries or deep autumnal colors. And it’s a shame, because using pastels at home is a real opportunity. Pastels feel airy and fresh. They soothe. Because they are used so infrequently, they can feel very modern. And yet, at the same time, they harken back to an era (the 1950s) when pastels were all the rage. We say, let’s have fun with pastels at home!
What we love about the room above and below, is the use of pastels (the couch and lampshades) with bold red and a big fat blast of black. Mixing pastels with bolder, dramatic colors gives the room an edge and point of view it would not otherwise have. It feels hip and playful.
The same principle is work in the children’s playroom, where a bright canary yellow pendant lamp acts as an exclamation point to the luscious pink floors. Note that pattern is used in both rooms, in the form of wall paper and murals.
The same principle of bold clashing color works particularly well here:
The dining room below has fun with pastel chairs — each painted in a different easter egg color.
Below, soft blues and lavenders are used in the more typical way, to create a restful and tranquil bedroom.
In the living room below, color blocking pastels suggests a modern and beachy feel. Think Miami.
Pastels in the kitchen have long been a hit. One easy way to introduce pastels into your home is to opt for a pastel retro fridge, which will instantly glam up your kitchen.
Of course, there is no need to restrict yourself to just the fridge. There are all sorts of smaller kitchen appliances and furnishings that can offer a pastel touch.
Below, aqua is used in a kitchen in a very modern, dramatic way.
So what’s the key to using pastels well?
- Realize that they don’t have to be cutesy or feminine. Add touches of black or a primary color to keep things fresh.
- Create drama by using just one pastel accent. That might be a retro fridge, a kitchen island, or a pastel couch.
- Pair a pastel with gray when you’d like a space to feel modern and anchored.
- Consider using a very pale pastel as a neutral. Instead of beige walls, opt for a soft peach or a pale yellow.
- If you’re afraid of going too pastel, opt for a color that almost borders on gray, such as a lavender or blue with gray undertones.
- Toughen up pastel by using it in conjunction with industrial materials, such as concrete, steel, exposed brick and wood.
Pastels may not be for everyone, but that’s part of the fun!