Nearly every day at the store I have a conversation with someone about downsizing to a smaller home. Generally – and in varying degrees – “downsizers” keep some of their old furniture and buy some new furniture.

Downsizing can be broken down into three basic steps and each step is all about editing.

Step One:  Decide what furniture you want to get rid of and how to get rid of it.

Go through your home and decide what furniture you can part with and what you want to keep (categorizing each piece into “yes”, “no” or “maybe” is a good place to start). Here are some options on what to do with the furniture you will get rid of:

1.  Give away or sell to family or friends.

2.  Sell on websites like Craigslist.

  • Pros: large market.
  • Cons: shoppers are looking for a bargain.

3.  Sell through consignment stores, like Consignment Canada.

  • Pros: most are not picky on what they will take.
  • Cons: pieces may not sell or take a long time to sell, or sell for less than you were hoping.

4.  Sell to antique/vintage furniture stores, like Gild & Co.

  • Pros: will pay for highly desired items.
  • Cons: picky on what they will take.

5.  Sell through a local auction house, like Maynard’s or Love’s.

  • Pros: potential for high selling price.
  • Cons: auctions fees (generally around 20%); no guarantee items will sell at a high price.

What sells well?

  • Anything Danish or mid century modern.
  • Small dressers.
  • Medium size dressers, especially if the drawers work well.
  • Bedside and side tables.

 What doesn’t sell?

  • Dining tables.
  • Dining chairs.
  • High-shine dark wood furniture.
  • Sideboards, hutches or large buffets.
  • Antique or large coffee tables.

 What is in-between / hit or miss?

  • Mirrors
  • Large dressers
  • Sofas and upholstered chairs, depending on condition and fabric.

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Step Two:  Incorporate house-size furniture in your new smaller home.

Dressers

Hang on to dressers, especially smaller ones, for your small space. You will need the extra storage. Think outside the box on where a dresser can fit in your new smaller home. They can offer great storage in a living room or foyer.

Mirrors & Art

Every small home in Vancouver needs a large mirror, to increase light and make a space feel larger. Your house-size art will also fit fine into a smaller space. You just need less of it.

Sofas

Condos or small living rooms generally fit a sofa that is 70-80 inches in length. Go as big as you can for maximum comfort and seating. A common mistake is going too small. A loveseat around 50-60 inches is too small.

Pair of Maple Bergeres

Step Three:  What to look for when buying new pieces.

Look for double duty items, such coffee tables that have storage (think vintage trunk) and chairs that can be used in the dining area and living room. Keep leggy furniture to a minimum. Too many chair, table and sofa legs in a room will make it feel cluttered. Get the biggest area rug you can afford. 4×6 or 5×8 rugs are generally too small, even for condo-size living rooms and will make a room look smaller.

Wall-mount anything you can, like a desk or eating bar. This will clear much-needed floor space and give other items “room to breath”.

Don’t skimp on lighting. Lighting is crucial in any room, especially a small area where every inch of space is important. Chandeliers are also fantastic in small spaces. When placed in a bedroom or living room, a beautiful chandelier gives that feeling of living large.

Originally published on BCLiving.ca