Your youngest child has packed up and moved off to start his or her life as an adult, and now you’re ready to start the next phase of your own lives. That might mean entertaining more often, going out more, or trying on a new decor style. One thing is for sure, you probably no longer want or need to hang on to the many items that fill your living space, garage, and basement.
The idea of downsizing might not sound appealing, since it can mean parting with possessions you’ve worked hard to purchase or parting with items that have sentimental value. But, it’s possible to look at the process in a positive way. You’re about to start on a new adventure, whether you’re trading your suburban home for a city apartment or simply moving to a smaller space in the same town. If you’re ready for the change that downsizing brings, here are a few tips to help you get started on your next adventure.
Parting with Possessions
One of the trickiest parts of downsizing is figuring out which items you no longer need or want. Although you might feel an emotional attachment to certain things, even if you don’t use them, it’s important to be ruthless when it comes to getting rid of items. If you’re moving from a 4,000-square-foot home into a space that’s less than 1,000-square-feet, there simply won’t be enough room in the new place for everything, or for even a fraction of what you currently own.
Start with items you never use or have little emotional attachment to. For some people, that can be books. Take a look at your shelves. Ask yourself if you’ll ever read a book again and if you do, if you can easily check it out from the library. There’s no need to hang on to books you didn’t enjoy or that you can easily borrow. Use this line of thinking when paring down the rest of your possessions, from clothing to kitchen gear.
One way to make the process of decluttering easier is to delegate tasks. If your grown children still have old belongings at your current home, have them come over one day and sort through those items, either donating, selling, or taking the possessions home with them. Let them know that anything they leave behind will end up in the discard or donate pile.
It also helps to work with a professional designer or organizer, who doesn’t have an attachment to your possessions. A professional can sift through the items you own and help you figure out the things you’ll use in the new space and what things are just going to take up space.
Look at Your New Space
Taking a look at the layout of your new home can help you figure out what items to keep and what you no longer need. If there’s no outdoor space, for example, you won’t need to bring all of your lawn equipment. Think about how you’ll use the rooms in the home. An extra bedroom might work as a guest room, or it could turn into a study, a fitness center or that library you’ve always wanted.
Also think about what you’ll be doing in your new home. Now that the kids are grown and supporting themselves, you have more time and money for the things that really interest you. Will you have friends over regularly for cocktails or dinner parties? If so, you might want to focus on designing a truly stellar drinks and dining area. Getting rid of old possessions allows you to make room in your new space for your latest hobbies, whether they are looking at the stars through a telescope on your balcony, learning a new craft, or learning to cook a different type of cuisine.
Try a New Design
Moving to a smaller space is the perfect time to try on a new design. Where once you might have had to worry about your kids breaking fragile items or dirtying expensive furniture, now you’re really free to finally decorate your home in a way that appeals to you.
Your new home might be smaller, but that’s no reason why it can’t be your castle. If you’re ready to start downsizing and decorating your new nest, Michelle Wenitsky Interior Design can help you throughout the process, from figuring out what to keep to putting together a vibrant home design. Contact us today for more details.
Part of the joy of traveling is bringing home a memory of the trip, usually in the form of a treasure or souvenir that can’t be found anywhere else. For many people, a trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to the Marché aux Puces St.-Ouen de Clignancourt, or the French version of a flea market. Commonly called “Les Puces” (or, “The Fleas”) by those in the know, the market is one of the oldest and largest in the world. It dates back to the late 19th century and covers more than 700 acres. Although you can find pretty much anything at Les Puces, it can be a particularly helpful resource if you are looking for a piece that will make your home feel more unique and authentic or if you are looking for a piece that can serve as the focal point of a room’s design.
Visiting the Market
St. Ouen is open on the weekends, which in Paris means Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Keep in mind that not every vendor opens on Mondays, so if you want the best selection, it helps to go on either a Saturday or a Sunday. The markets fill up as the day goes on. To give yourself the most time to browse and time to explore before the crowds get there, it’s a good idea to arrive just as the market opens, around 9 am on Saturday and 10 am on Sunday. The earlier you arrive, the more time you’ll have to hunt through the markets for the perfect treasure. The market closes at 6pm, giving you plenty of time to wander up and down the streets, looking at the different storefronts and vendors.
Find Something Special
Les Puces is actually divided into 14 different markets, and each market has a different theme. The Marche des Rues is typically full of vendors selling antiques while Marche Paul Bert Serpette features antiques, as well as newer pieces of furniture, lamps, and decorative objects. The Marche Dauphine also has a selection of antiques mixing with vendors selling new items.
It helps to visit Les Puces without a clear goal in mind. The vast selection of items available at the 14 different markets really means that you don’t know what you might find. You might stumble upon antique leather chairs or find a large antique mirror, either of which could serve as the focal point of a room you are decorating back home. You can use the general categories of each market to help give you an idea of what you might expect or to help you navigate Les Puces. For example, Marche Biron is known for its diverse selection of artwork, with pieces ranging from the 17th century through the Art Deco period. If you know that you enjoy Art Deco, it might be worth navigating your way towards Biron first and using what you see there as an inspiration for your home.
The beauty of Les Puces is that you might not only find something to take home with you and to use to decorate your home or as a central component in the redesign of a space, it’s that the items you find in the market can help you remember your trip to Paris. Every time you sit on an antique club chair or settee, you’ll be transported back to the day you spent combing the market, looking for the perfect piece. If you bring home a smaller item, such as an Art Deco vase, every time you look at it, you’ll be able to remember your trip. Bringing pieces from Les Puces into your home also means that you’ll be able to share your experiences in Paris with those who visit your home.
The designers at Michelle Wenitsky Interior Design have experience navigating the Marché aux Puces St.-Ouen de Clignancourt. Contact us for more details on finding inspirational pieces for your home’s design.
The right piece of art adds interest and drama to a room and can be the center of attention in a space. Whether it’s an antique piece, a painting by an up-and-coming artist, a sculpture, or a collection of pieces, there are many ways you can use art as the foundation of a room’s design.
Can Be the Focal Point of a Room
A single piece of artwork, such as a large scale painting, can be the perfect focal point of a room, such as a formal dining room or a living room. If you would like to use one piece of art as the centerpiece of a room, the size of the artwork is an important thing to consider. It should be large enough to command attention and to immediately catch the eye when a person walks into a room. How you position the artwork matters, too. To draw people’s attention, the piece should be in the direct eye line of at least one entryway to the room. For example, you can hang a large-scale painting opposite the doorway to a room, centered so that the door itself frames the painting.
Adds Color to a Space
Art can also add a bit of color to a room that is otherwise decorated with neutral hues. A painting can feature vivid colors, such as bright orange and blue that can complement the beige colors in the rest of the space. Depending on the colors in a piece of art, the artwork can also tie together the color scheme of a room. When choosing pieces for a space, make sure that the colors in the piece work well with colors in the room. The hues don’t have to match, but they should complement each other, instead of clash.
Makes a Bold Statement
It’s perfectly fine to bring a large piece of art into a smaller room. In fact, larger pieces of art, such as a wall-sized painting or a sculpture that stretches from floor to ceiling, can be an excellent way to make a bold statement in a smaller space. People aren’t expecting to see a large painting on the wall in a narrow living room, for example. A large sculpture in the foyer or entryway of your home can welcome guests while it shows off your taste. Don’t be afraid to be daring!
Defines the Mood of the Room
The art you place in a room can help establish the mood of that space. Think about how you want a room to feel when you’re choosing a piece or pieces. A painting that features a lot of calming colors, such as light purples and blues, and that features relaxing, rounded shapes might be an ideal choice for the bedroom, where you want to create a calming, soothing atmosphere. A piece of art that features a lot of deep colors or that depicts a dramatic scene might be more appropriate in a more formal room, such as the dining room. If you have a room that’s reserved for fun and relaxation, such as a game room or den, artwork that features bright colors and playful shapes or scenes can help reinforce the fact that the room is meant for fun.
Art can also help you capture something in a room or can help you bring a cherished memory to your home. If you love traveling to Europe, you can hang photographs of European landmarks and well-known architecture in your office, so that you can feel transported to your vacation, even when you are hard at work. A painting of a beach scene can help you escape to the beach, even when you’re at home in your living room.
Tells a Story
Art can also tell a story, whether it is the story of your family and home, or the story of the pieces themselves. Since artwork is usually one-of-a-kind, you can use the piece as a jumping off point for conversations when you have friends or acquaintances over. The pieces you collect can not only decorate your home, but also let people know who you are, as you are likely to have a story about each piece you find, purchase, and collect.
If you have a piece of art that you want to work into an existing room design or are looking for the right piece to put the finishing touches on a space, Michelle Wenitsky Interior Design can help. Contact us today to get started.