Even if you’ve spent much of your life living in properties with lots of space, there comes a time when it simply makes sense to downsize. Not only can it free up funds for you to enjoy your retirement but, practically speaking, with fewer empty bedrooms and less cleaning to do, it can also save you plenty of time!
You’ve made the decision to downsize and your living space may be reduced but this doesn’t mean your home needs to be cramped or cluttered. Here are a few clever ways you can maximise the available space in a smaller home.
Making the decision to downsize gives you the opportunity to have a good clear out and finally get rid of all those items you neither want nor use.
You’re making a fresh start so be ruthless when choosing what to keep and throw. Reducing the number of ornaments and knickknacks on the shelves, picking furniture carefully and making the most of multi-purpose items is the key to maximising your available space.
Not sure where to begin? Use our handy guide to help you declutter and downsize your home with ease!
2. Use colour sparingly
The trick to making a small space appear bigger is to choose colours carefully. Using just a few colours in a small room and painting the walls, skirting and even the ceiling the same colour will make a room feel more spacious and calmer.
You should also pick furniture and curtains that are in a similar and complementary shade, so they blend in and create a sense of space. Try these 8 quick tips to modernise your home on any budget, perfect if you’re preparing your house for sale or simply decluttering and maximising your smaller space.
3. Furnish frugally
When it comes to furnishing a smaller home, less really is more. Filling a room with furniture is a sure way to make the walls feel like they’re moving in on you.
The key to furnishing your home with as little furniture as possible is to buy versatile pieces that are multi-use, such as an Ottoman that can be used as a coffee table, footstool and a hidden storage space. By using multi-functional furniture, you can double the amount of storage and really maximise the available space your home has to offer!
Create the illusion of even more space by leaving space behind your furniture. The natural temptation in a smaller room is to push the furniture right up against the walls to reveal the available floor space. However, having space behind the furniture can make the room look wider than it is.
Think about the materials you choose too. Whether your furniture is made of dark wood or glass for example can make a huge difference to the feel of space in a room. Consider glass or Perspex tables and chairs that can let the light flow through them – this will emphasise the room’s proportions and give a sense of a bigger space.
4. Be bright with light
A clever use of light can work wonders in a smaller space. Positioning mirrors opposite windows to reflect natural light is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but you’ll be shocked by just how effective it can be.
Lights in the centre of the room pull everything into the middle and make it look smaller so, instead, use low lighting in a few different locations around the room to wash light up the walls, widening and maximising the space.
Are you living on one level? Bungalows can be a popular choice in retirement, but did you know one of the benefits of single-storey living is that it can increase the amount of natural light that flows through the home? This can create a fresh and spacious feel which is perfect for maximising your available space!
5. Leave windows unadorned
Natural light is a precious resource in a smaller home, so leaving windows unadorned can help to create a sense of space. Hanging heavy curtains either side of the windows will reduce the amount of light that can flow in so, if you need privacy, opt for roller or roman blinds instead.
If you prefer curtains, hang them well above the window to create a sense of airiness and add height to a small room - this will give the illusion your living space is bigger than it may be!
6. Keep the garden simple
Choosing a smaller, low-maintenance garden needn’t reduce your enjoyment - read these 6 easy ways to create a stunning smaller space! For example, using a soft, light coloured gravel is an excellent choice for encouraging the illusion of more available space.
Plus, you can make the most of the available space by going up the walls! With vertical foliage that requires very little care, some simple planters and a window box or two for good measure, you can really make the most of your small outdoor space.
No outdoor space? Why not start your own indoor garden! This can be a great way to keep up with your love of gardening, plus indoor plants can offer great benefits to your health!
Thinking about moving home?
Here at Homewise, we help people find and move to their next home at a reduced price using our Home for Life Plan. This is a lifetime lease which is available to those over sixty years old and can be applied to pretty much any property in England and Wales.
Find out your bespoke saving and see how our team could help you find the perfect home for your retirement. Call 0800 043 4488 today!
In the meantime, if you're over 60 and interested in our Home for Life Plan, you can use our online Budget Booster! It's simple, quick and could provide you with a better understanding of your potential budget.