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Down Sizing

Initially when moving home down sizing can feel like a step backwards. Space- or the impending lack of it- is obviously a common concern. However with careful planning during the design or decoration period, a more compact space can actually improve the quality of our lives through giving us back the most valuable commodity- time. Less space means less cupboards, drawers, shelves, floor space, pots, pans etc. This in turn means less clutter which in turn means less time cleaning. The key word here is efficiency. You must be streamlined if not cut-throat in your decision making! Only take with you what you really need- now is not a time for knick-knacks. A more minimal and open plan design will create the illusion of more space. That is not to say you cannot add colour or interest to a room. A brightly coloured settee or kitchen work surface not only provides visual stimulation, but also helps define areas as separate spaces- thereby further increasing the feeling of space. A change in flooring will also help indicate spatial perimeters (i.e. tiles in the kitchen and carpet in the sitting room).

Physical barriers between areas are allowed but try to squeeze as much use out of them as possible. A particularly effective way to separate the kitchen and living room is with a breakfast bar in place of a wall, you could also incorporate storage underneath. Now you have a room divider, storage and a sociable dining area where you can keep an eye on the chef and your favourite T.V. show at the same time. You have also cut out the need for a wall and for a bulky dining table thereby increasing the active space of your home and decreasing wasted space. The settee can also be used to create a physical barrier between two spaces and prevent the living room from becoming a corridor-like access route to the kitchen. Rather a conventional three piece suite which can waste an awful lot of space, investing in a modular corner couch system can be a much shrewder move. Instead of fitting the couch into a corner of a room, turn it the opposite way to define the perimeter of your living space. The modular system means that the couch is able to separate into smaller sections thereby allowing you to fit it to the shape of any room which again meaning less space wasted. A room can effectively be cut in half using this method, meaning a study or games area can be created in one half whilst still allowing people to relax in the other.

Try to keep harmony between soft furnishings and fabric covered items for a more cohesive feel to your scheme- a patchwork of patterns or materials will only obstruct the flow of a layout resulting in a disjointed effect, whereas similarly patterned cushions, curtains and rugs will combine to create a soothing ambience.

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