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Downsizing and Styling Tips for Empty Nesters

Thinking of moving into a compact apartment? Here are some downsizing and decluttering tips that will help make your transition smoother. 

  • Why should you downsize and move into an apartment?

  • What should you consider when moving into an apartment?

  • Some final handy tips

Is your home feeling empty now the kids have left? Has managing your house become a cumbersome task for you?

When the family home has become too big and you feel like an empty nester then it could be  time to consider downsizing to an apartment that better suits your needs. But moving from a large space into a more compact space can be a big step! 

What do you do with the oversized furniture, the large collection of photo albums, the school projects and yearbooks in the basement and all the gear in the shed?

Downsizing can be daunting as you face the challenge of fitting all your belongings into a smaller space. But if you plan ahead, you can reduce that anxiety and create a stylish home. You may even find the feeling liberating. 

Why should you downsize and move into an apartment?

Many retirees believe that moving into an apartment has great benefits:

  • No hassle maintaining and managing a large property

  • Lower expenditure and increased cash flow

  • Gaining more leisure time to do things that you like 

  • A new and comforting sense of security

  • Opportunity to experience life in simplified surroundings

Having helped many couples downsize into the right apartment in the right location, Homesuite has some tips on how to downsize the right way. 

The key to downsizing is forethought and advanced preparation. To avoid making a hasty decision, one should always start early. Research well ahead to help you make the big decisions about what you want.

What should you consider when moving into an apartment?

1. Space management

Be realistic about the space you will need. Avoid opting for a bigger space to try and fit all your current belongings and don’t go so small that you have to compromise on your lifestyle.

Plan space and invest in things that best suit your interests and likes. If you like to host parties then make sure you add a dining table or an extendable table that can accommodate more people. If you love watching movies, make sure you have space for a recliner and a large TV. 

Invest in flexible furniture to make better use of your space. If your budget permits, have an extra room for a hobby or study. Everyone needs some quiet, alone time to rejuvenate and reset, to work with focus, or to exercise. An extra room can be essential to feeling like you have the space to maintain a routine.

Consider speaking to a local real estate agent to help find a house suitable for your needs.

2. Identify the essential, eliminate the rest

Downsizing from a big home to a smaller apartment means getting rid of many things. 

Don’t hold on to things because you think they will be helpful in future or maybe your children would want them after you’re gone. If that’s still the case, you can ask your children to go through things, choose what they want and let them have them now while you’re alive. 

Minimal is good. Downsizing is an opportunity to find a new sense of self by getting rid of the emotional baggage of things. It’s like cleaning the old to give space to the fresh and new. You can also auction or sell the old stuff to earn some cash.

Retain furniture and decor that would blend into the style and architecture of your new home. Tempting as it might be, it is not advisable to overfill new rooms with more stuff.

Keep it minimal and don’t force things into your new space for sentimental value. Allow the home to have free and empty space; it makes it easy to clean the home and allows you to take in new things over time. 

3. Design the new space well

A well-designed apartment features efficient ways to keep things neat, clean and orderly. They are modular and have built-in features so you don’t need to add more furniture. 

We recommend looking for floor plans with storage space like a cage, basement storage or a cellar. This space comes in handy when you want to keep your exercise equipment or wine collection without crowding your living space.

4. Curate your home and make it your own

So you’ve identified the furniture and decor pieces that you want to carry with you to your new apartment but the biggest concern is how to curate this collection into a smaller and more modern space. 

The best way is to seek advice from an interior designer to create the best layout planning for your pieces. They should blend in the existing pieces and source new pieces to make the apartment look and feel chic, uplifting and personal.

Choose muted or neutral colours for key furniture pieces and layer them with warmer elements. Add diffused lighting, warm linens, luxurious silks, textural weaves, sheepskin throws or earthy timbers to balance and add visual appeal.

It’s good practice to experiment with colours and prints before fully committing to them. Make sure your home feels refined and sophisticated.

Some final handy tips

  • Focus on these four aspects while downsizing: budget, lifestyle, location, functionality.

  • Hiring a good interior designer who understands small spaces can help you avoid costly mistakes and increase the value of your home.

  • Keep photos and measurements of the pieces you plan to move in with and put in storage. This will help you understand how to utilise your new space and incorporate each piece into it.

  • Take measurements of the furniture you’re going to move in with. Carry a measuring tape on inspections to check if your furniture will fit in.

  • According to the science of architecture, it’s great to have an apartment with a living room facing north. Even if the space is small, it will be naturally lit and inviting.

  • Use reflective features and finishes or mirrors to reflect light and make the rooms feel bigger.

Downsizing can be a hard decision but the move will not be so difficult if you plan well in advance. Stay positive and be excited about a simpler life in a new place with less clutter.