Tips and Tricks to Downsize in Style

Tips and Tricks to Downsize in Style

Short Intro From Amy

Once our kids were out of the house, it was time for us to downsize to something with a smaller footprint, but we were not willing to compromise on style. We had high-end furniture in our living room, dining room, den, sunroom, and master bedroom. We knew our new home would be much smaller. So deciding what to sell, donate, throw out and take with us was a monumental task. If you are in, or near to being in this life stage, you know what I mean. We wanted our new place to feel comfortable, fresh, and inviting. In a phrase; we wanted to downsize in style.

Of all the possible options of where to move, we decided we wanted to rent a luxury apartment. I had not lived in an apartment since we were newlyweds, so I approached the search with much trepidation. Because there aren’t many luxury rental apartment options in the suburbs, we found one pretty quickly and it checked all the boxes. Once we found the apartment; that’s when the tough decisions needed to be made.

I had to go through everything we owned and determine which would go to storage (to someday pass down to my children or I just felt especially attached to), what to throw out, items to add to our estate sale, and which to take with us.

With the floorplan in hand, I visited the empty apartment so that I could take measurements to make sure the pieces I hoped would fit in the places I wanted to put them — actually would.

We have been in the same apartment now for 7 years. And that’s how long it has taken me to get it right in terms of design and utility. Each piece needs to be carefully selected and some have to have multiple functions. The last thing I wanted was a space that looked cluttered, so I was very selective in the pieces I brought from my home and those I purchased to fill in.

Here is a tour of our apartment including the resources used to furnish and accessorize it.

Tips and Tricks to Downsize in Style – Home Office

I am starting with my home office which also triples as the laundry room and front coat closet. We painted it Benjamin Moore’s color titled First Snowfall.

Tips and Tricks to Downsize in Style

Living / Dining Room

Most newly built apartments come with an open kitchen with a breakfast bar for dining. We sat on bar stools and ate every meal there at the bar for the first six years until we decided we really wanted to sit face to face. One of the pieces I refused to let go of was a gorgeous square lacquered table and chairs from my house that was made by the designer Dakota Jackson. It used to be the game table in my sunroom, and now it works as a dining table. Re-purposing furnishings is key to keeping as much of your valued pieces as possible.

In addition, I laid out the living room so that it could accommodate my lush couch, oval coffee table, 3 accent chairs, and bar.

I knew to look at the amount of sunlight the apartment gets at different times of the day. This is a key metric when evaluating the space. With floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room, it was a very bright apartment. What I didn’t consider were the views. It turns out the apartment faces West and the views are nothing short of spectacular.

Tips and Tricks to Downsize in Style

Family Room

To make the space really work we took the second bedroom and turned it into a family room where we could kick back and watch television, store excess photo albums etc.

Tips and Trick to Downsize in Style

Master Bedroom

The last room worth showing you is our master bedroom. The proportions are generous and allowed me to mix in my old host and hostess dining chairs, a new dressing table, a new queen-sized bed with an Ultrasuede headboard, two newly purchased bedside tables that provide a tremendous amount of storage and house our new lamps.

Another aspect of choosing an apartment that I had not prioritized but turns out to be an essential feature is the outdoor space. We have a nice-sized terrace that accommodates 2 lounge chairs, an ottoman, a ceramic stool, and plenty of planters. We use it all the time in the nice weather.

Tips, Tricks and the Resources to Downsize in Style

  • Hold on to the furnishings and accessories you adore the most. Be selective. You don’t want to end up with a fresh new space that is cluttered. Remember when in doubt throw it out.
  • Get a floor plan for the new place
  • Measure the furnishings you want to take and make sure they fit where you want to place them
  • Consider only re-upholstering your valuable furnishings because it is expensive. Otherwise buy new. I bought very reasonably priced fabric by the yard from Etsy
  • For great style at good price points use resources like West Elm, Cb2, Overstock, Homegoods and Wayfair
  • Bedding – I tend to splurge on bedding since it’s where we spend the most time. Serena & Lilly handsdown is my all time favorite resource.

There are an overwhelming number of decisions to make when it comes to downsizing. But, it is also fun to re-imagine your furnishings to design your new home. If you have any questions or need additional guidance please drop me a note at

Amy Sandelman Harris My Blog

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Published by Amy Sandelman Harris

Welcome to my blog. I use my voice to affect change through philanthropy, advocacy, and activism. My blog posts revel about real life experiences meant to inspire people to make a difference.

2 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks to Downsize in Style

  1. I love the comfort of your living room. The apartment is beautiful and functional. Does the family room also double as a guest room? You have an abundance of talent in so many areas!

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