Living in smaller spaces

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With many smaller spaces planned for renovations and new homes, most who plan to live in them are moving from larger homes and are faced with challenges like finding smaller furniture and understanding how to make the most of fewer, smaller rooms.

In some cases, an open concept is new to people who are accustomed to more privacy and having dedicated spaces for regular activities; efficient smaller homes use areas for different functions at different times of the day. Open concept living takes getting used to because fewer walls mean less privacy and more ambient noise, but smaller spaces offer greater rewards on saved utilities and cleaning time, including more time for pursuing long-deferred hobbies or interests. Living in small spaces requires more discipline, i.e. deciding how many back issues of your favorite magazines to keep, how you shop, and which clothes you keep: once you master the organization, small-space living can lead to a simpler lifestyle.

Downsizing is an involved process of identifying and evaluating current possessions to determine their place in a new, smaller home. Harder than it sounds, sentimental items distort our judgment, so it’s useful to have objective help. Once you know what you’ll take with you and what can be repurposed in the new space, finding the right furniture is often difficult because most factories are still making furniture that is too big and not supportive. At Endicott Home Furnishings, we have been designing furniture with better American factories for over six years, and most of our sales come from designs inspired by our downsizing customers.

Furniture that does more than one duty without looking too much like a specific room setting is helpful: a bed that is also a desk, but doesn’t look too much like bedroom or office furniture is excellent for a small room that can serve as home office and bedroom. A second bedroom can be a den with a small desk and sofa, and then become a guest room when the sofa opens out into a comfortable sleeper.

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We often modify designs to work in smaller settings. In a small dining area, modified bookcases replace china cabinets, with glass doors for displaying dishes on top shelves and solid panel doors to hide liquor or other storage below. Small, sturdy benches with a shelf constructed from reclaimed barn wood become coffee tables with a drawer, made the height of a dining chair at 18 inches tall. A category we often call the “cocktail bench,” it works as a place to put up your feet, place a drink or magazines, or as extra seating in the living or dining room.

Any move is worthy of careful planning. When possible, get professional, objective help, and spend time with like-minded downsizers to learn what’s worked for them. Visit stores like ours early, and share your ideas, too. If we don’t have it, we can design it with you and have it made (right here in the USA).

For more information about living in smaller spaces, contact Ross Endicott at Endicott Home Furnishings (207) 883-3264 or online at www.condofurniture.com

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