Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Downsizing Your Home with Style: Living Well In a Smaller Space

Downsizing Your Home with Style: Living Well In a Smaller Space

by Lauri Ward

See All Formats & Editions

When you're moving a lifetime's accumulation of belongings from a larger home into a jewel box, the task can seem overwhelming—and so can your emotions. How do you decide what to pack and what to part with? How can you use the things you have so that they function well and look right?

Downsizing Your Home with Style answers these questions and


When you're moving a lifetime's accumulation of belongings from a larger home into a jewel box, the task can seem overwhelming—and so can your emotions. How do you decide what to pack and what to part with? How can you use the things you have so that they function well and look right?

Downsizing Your Home with Style answers these questions and more. Learn how to:

  • Create more storage
  • Make your stuff look smaller and your space look bigger
  • Update and modernize your favorite old pieces
  • Multipurpose your rooms and furniture
  • Find a new home for the stuff you no longer need

From the initial evaluation of your new home to one year after you have settled in, interior designer Lauri Ward takes you through every step with detailed tips, lists of good buys, tricks of the trade, photographs, and anecdotal examples, so that achieving spectacular results is simple and affordable, whatever your style or budget.

Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
Ward offers helpful advice for a difficult problem—how to pare and purge, then stylishly rearrange what’s left.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
18 MB
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Read an Excerpt

Downsizing Your Home with Style

Living Well In a Smaller Space
By Lauri Ward

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Lauri Ward
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061170973

Chapter One

Preparing for Change

As with many things in life, when it comes to moving, the more you plan and the better prepared you are, the easier it will be. Being prepared means becoming as familiar as possible not only with what you've got but also with the home you'll be moving into, and that starts from the moment you sign the lease or go to contract and have access to the new space.

With any luck, you'll at least get a floor plan, but that's not enough.

What the Floor Plan Doesn't Tell You

Floor plans give you the overall measurements of each room, but they don't tell you how much space there is between a window and a door, between two windows, or from any opening to the adjacent corner.

They don't show you all the little zigs and zags, the places where the wall bumps out to accommodate the pipes. Nor do they indicate the height and width of the windows and doors; where random, odd-shaped windows are located on a particular wall; or even the height of the ceilings.

One of my clients made the mistake of not carefully measuring the space between an archway to her kitchen and the bay window in her new living room. As a result,when she moved her 7-foot-long entertainment unit from the large family room in her previous residence to her new, smaller home she found that instead of fitting perfectly as she'd thought it would, the unit jutted 6 inches into the open archway. As a result, she had to hire a carpenter to remove one section so the unit would fit on the wall without obstructing the traffic pattern.

Get Acquainted With Your New Space

Many factors can determine how much access you'll have to your new home. It may still be under construction, the previous residents might still be living there with some or all of their furnishings, or it could be halfway across the country from where you're now living. But however much time you have, you'll need to make the most of it. So, before you access the space, make sure you have the following items:

  • The floor plan
  • A good, big tape measure
  • A folder in which to keep fabric and paint swatches organized
  • A digital camera
  • A notebook and a pen
  • A folding chair or two in case the space is completely empty (you don't want to sit on the floor while assessing your space)
  • Photographs and measurements of all the furniture you now own (it's a good idea to write the measurements right on the backs of the photographs)

You may have decided in advance that a table or a bookcase is or isn't going to fit, but you may be surprised. So you need to measure everything (unless you really hate it and can't wait to get rid of it), and the photos will remind you of exactly what it looks like when you're far from home. You may think you're intimately familiar with every piece you own, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to forget the little table edge that sticks out farther than the legs or how big the arm of your sofa really is when it's not right there in front of you.

Remember the old saying "Measure twice, cut once." But if you forget your tape measure, you can use a dollar bill: it is slightly more than 6 inches long.

Ten Things to Do When You Get There

1. Measure every single wall individually, no matter how small, and write it on your floor plan. The measurements should include:

  • The height and width of every opening: windows, doors, archways
  • The measurement of every "space change": columns, sections of wall that jut out, indentations, curved walls, steps up to a platformed space or down into a sunken room, balconies, banisters, railings, central and baseboard heating units, radiators, and air conditioners
  • The length of every flat wall
  • The height of the ceilings, especially if there is a vaulted ceiling that angles from low to high at different points

2. Take pictures of every room from as many angles as possible. Start by shooting each room from every corner and then take some general photos that show as much of each room as possible. Remember, this place is new to you, and you won't be able to remember every nook and cranny when you are not there.

3. Figure out how much natural light you're going to have and where it will be coming from at different times of day. This will help to determine what kind of window treatments you will need and where you'll position the lighting.

4. Assess the condition of the ceiling, walls, and floors.

  • Will you need to paint or paper?
  • Do you want to add or remove built-ins, moldings, or chair rails?
  • Will you need to sand, polyurethane, cover, regrout, or replace any of the flooring?
  • Do you need to install overhead lighting or replace a fixture that is already installed?

5. Assess the doors and windows.

  • Do any need to be replaced?
  • Will any need new hardware?

6. Locate all the outlets for lights, telephone, and cable.

  • Are there outdated, buzzing, or tired-looking dimmers with round knobs, or sleek new ones with adjustable settings?
  • Will you need to add outlets on the floor and/or above the baseboards?
  • Will you need to add wall outlets for televisions or painting lights?
  • If you are bringing track lighting from your previous home, will it need to be cut down or reconfigured?
  • Do you need to add more spotlights? If so, where will you place them?
  • Do you need to move the phone jack or the cable outlet or add a Wi-Fi connection? Mark all these locations on your floor plan as accurately as possible.


Excerpted from Downsizing Your Home with Style by Lauri Ward Copyright © 2007 by Lauri Ward. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Lauri Ward, founder of Use-What-You-Have® Interiors, Inc. and cofounder of the Interior Refiners Network®, revolutionized the design business with her idea that you can use items that you already own as the foundation for an instantly updated, stylish look for your home. Ward appears frequently on such programs as Oprah, Today, ABC-TV News, CBS Evening News, and shows on HGTV. She is a contributing home design expert for iVillage.com and the author of the bestselling books Use What You Have® Decorating, Trade Secrets from Use What You Have® Decorating, and Home Therapy: Fast, Easy, Affordable Makeovers.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews