By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

As more and more Americans are choosing to downsize and live in smaller, more manageable home, they are often confronted with how to let go of the furniture, artwork, and accessories that they have been using in their larger homes.

As a designer who once owned a big home myself, filled with beautiful things that I had collected over many years, I understand the painful process of letting go, as well as the difficult task of choosing fewer items that you want to take with you. But having experienced the downsizing process myself, now living in a much smaller space, I want to share with you my top 5 practical design tips that will help you let go of pieces you won’t have room for and to select pieces that will fit well into your new smaller space.

The goal is to not overwhelm your new smaller space.

Three of the greatest mistakes people make when downsizing:

  1. They bring too much stuff to their new smaller home.
  2. They overcrowd and clutter the small space which defeats the purpose of downsizing and living a simpler life with less.
  3. They bring pieces that are too big in scale for the smaller space.

All of these result in having to downsize again (double downsize) which causes them to spend more time, more money, and more energy. This causes unnecessary stress.


5 Top Practical Design Tips to Maximize Your

Smaller Space

 (So You Can Enjoy It More)


  1. Know that less is more.

In a smaller space, fewer well selected and coordinated items are definitely better than trying to cram too much into your smaller space. Remember you can always add more at a  later date.

  1. Believe in your floor plan.

Be clear about just how much space you will have. Create a dimensioned floor plan of your smaller space so that you can count on it when you scale in the pieces that you would like to take. This will assure you that it will fit.

Need design assistance with your floor plan?

Click here or contact me with your question, Click here.

  1. Create your “A list”.

Clearly identify the pieces you would like to take with you on your “A list”. Measure and scale them into your floor plan. If they are too big, remove them from your “A list”.

  1. Make your new home “work” for you.

Know how you want each room to function. In small spaces, each area should be flexible enough to accommodate multiple needs so that it works for you and your lifestyle.

  1. Take only what you love.

Surround yourself with only pieces that you love. When living in a smaller place, everything shows up differently. Why not surround yourself with pieces that you not only enjoy looking at, but they also serve a purpose, and they each matter to you?

Living with less space and less stuff is life-changing. It opens your eyes to understanding just how little you actually need. Downsizing to a smaller home gives you an opportunity to prioritize experiences rather than your possessions.

Living with less creates space for you to live more.

Bottom line:

At the heart of designing a smaller home…

  1. It’s about letting go of what doesn’t work.
  2. It’s about intentionally paring down to only the things you want, need, and will use.
  3. It’s about making room for a simpler, less cluttered life so that you can have more time, money, and freedom to experience your life on a whole new level.




If you would like assistance with your downsizing project, I do offer an online or a local in-home design consultation service. Contact me at

Get my free download “The ABC’s of Downsizing”, Click here. 

Ask me any questions in the comment section below.