Design Tips: How to Downsize With Style

Design Tips by Cindy Beyer

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

Many of my clients are now in the process of downsizing. I wanted to share with you some ideas to take into consideration when downsizing to a smaller home.

Understand Your New Floor Plan — Before you give everything away, take into consideration what you will need in your new, smaller home. Secure a floor plan of the new place and look at the rooms to furnish. I ask my clients to get a 1/4″ plan of the new place so we can review options regarding the location of existing furniture pieces in new rooms.

Unless your tastes have changed entirely, there is a good chance you are going to reuse most of your furniture pieces. If you have a favorite chair used in  the family room but now will use it in your living room, remember it can be recovered to match whatever is going in that room. Once you have allocated all your needed furniture, you can then give away the rest.

Window Treatments — Most good window coverings are custom designed and cannot be used again.  The rare occasion would be drapery treatments. If your new window is almost the same width, then it would be possible to rehang them in the new place. The rod could be hung a bit higher or lower, or they can possibly be reworked by the window covering workroom. I advise my clients to have their drapery dry cleaned before sending them out for a refitting.

Lighting — I advise my clients to take their favorite chandeliers when relocating, as they are probably the most expensive fixtures in the home. This will require an electrician to disconnect the fixture and a qualified mover to package and crate up the fixture. Don’t be afraid to use your chandelier in different rooms such as the family room, bedroom or kitchen. You will have to add or delete the links or have it rewired if you are hanging it in a different space. Also don’t be afraid to reuse your lamps in different rooms or add a new shade in a different shape and texture and viola you have a new lamp. Sconces can also be removed.

Will my Rug Fit the New Space?  — It is likely your favorite rugs can be worked into your new home space. Most carpets range from 5 x 7,  7 x 9,  8 x 10, 11×13, or 10 x 12.  If you have a large area rug, other than an oriental without boarders, it can be cut down.

Make sure to send your carpets out to be cleaned and reinstalled in your new place with new padding. If you have pets, then I strongly advise replacing your padding, because that is where pet odors originate.  Please do not  place your nice oriental rug on top of wall-to-wall carpet. That is big NO-NO and is one of my all-time pet peeves.

If you need any professional design help, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or visit my web site.

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