Today’s article, Top 10 Favorite START To Downsize Furniture Pieces – The First Five, is all about furniture having multiple functions and/or occupying a small footprint, thereby saving valuable space, all must-have features to help you make the most of your new, downsized space.
Because I consider all these pieces my favorites, I’ll show no favorite and will therefore list them alphabetically:
1. Armoire -
Originally, armoires came into being to provide a place for storing clothing and extra bedding, as many older homes had limited or no closet space. In recent years, armoires have been used to conceal televisions or provide a compact office space, easily hidden behind closed doors.
Since the advent of flat-screen TVs, as well as laptop and notebook computers, the armoire has largely fallen out of use. As a result, they are widely available at garage sales and Craig’s List for a mere pittance.
Depending on your space and the size of the armoire, consider using one in your:
Front or back entry, to store coats, book bags, purses, briefcases, etc. Many armoires also feature drawers, providing more covered storage opportunities.
Kitchen/breakfast area, to house placemats, napkins, and to serve as additional pantry space. If there’s room available, consider retrofitting your armoire to house a countertop microwave, freeing up coveted kitchen workspace. Keep the armoire’s doors open when using the microwave, for proper air circulation and heat dissipation.
Hallway to bedroom area, as a primary or secondary linen closet, for extra blankets, pillows, sheets, towels.
Child’s bedroom/playroom, for toy and game storage.
Sewing/craft room, for storage of all those little bits and pieces of everything necessary for sewing and crafting.
Anyone’s bedroom, simply because we all seem to appreciate more storage!
Use the armoire as is, or paint the inside, the outside, or both, in one color or in a combination of colors – the sky’s the limit! Or maybe this is the perfect opportunity for you to use that chalkboard and/or magnetic paint you’ve been thinking about. Or how about a little wallpaper? You know, just as an accent. Go ahead, just give it a try…
2. Baker’s Rack, Breakfront, Buffet -
Okay, I’ll admit I’ve got a three-fer going here, but all these pieces are related, design-wise. More examples of each of these three specific pieces can be found in an earlier post.
All three offer great storage, so feel free to move them out of their usual dining room or kitchen location and use them elsewhere, such as:
If they’re small enough, consider using them in the:
Scout garage sales and Craig’s List for used pieces, focusing on their frame, construction and scale, ignoring their finish and/or hardware. A coat of paint and new handles can transform something ugly into something phenomenal!
3. Bench -
Benches can be made from wood, iron, stone or upholstered in fabric, leather, faux leather or vinyl.
Use your bench:
At the foot of the bed
In the foyer or at your home’s back entry
As part of a dining set (formal or informal, depending on your style)
In lieu of a coffee table
Stack two or more wooden benches and use them as a bookcase
As a stand for a flat-screen TV
4. Bookcases -
Begin to look at bookcases as more than just a place to house your books.
Bring bookcases into your dining room. They’re generally narrow pieces of furniture and can occupy less floor space than other dining room storage pieces. Fill them with a combination of books, artwork, and larger serving pieces, such as soup tureens, platters and bowls. If shelf space allows, make use of covered storage such as baskets or bins, for linens, napkins, napkin rings, salt and peppers and other dining-room-related sundries.
If your bookcase has simple lines and is fairly narrow, think about flipping it on its side and using it under a window. Use small brad nails to tack the shelves in place. Fill the open spaces with decorative objects, baskets…and even books, if there’s still room.
5. Counter-height dining sets -
I love the counter-height dining sets, also known as “gathering” sets. Traditional dining chair seats are around 18″ high; gathering chair seats are around 24″ high. That extra 6″ makes it very easy to simply slide onto the chair. As the population continues to age, I predict we’ll see more and more counter-height dining sets on the market.
These gathering sets come in all shapes, styles, sizes, finishes and price points. If you’re thinking of using one in your new, downsized space, start your research on the Internet, where you’ll find hundreds of options. Take an afternoon to visit several furniture stores and try out as many counter-height dining sets as you can.
Many kitchens today have counter-height islands with room for seating. By using a couple of the counter-height seats from your new gathering set, you’ll eliminate the need to buy additional seating for your island. You can always add them back in with the rest of the set’s seating when entertaining.
Okay, that’s it for today – stay tuned tomorrow for the “Top 10 Favorite START To Downsize Furniture Pieces – The Final Five”! I KNOW you can’t wait, but you must.
Let “Top 10 Favorite START To Downsize Furniture Pieces – The First Five” inspire you to see where you could implement one or more of these items in your home.
I’m sure there must be other ways to use these pieces that I haven’t thought of. I’d be so excited to hear your ideas, so please share them in Comments!