fbpx

Apartment Design Tips with
Emilie Smith

Tips for Downsizing

A simplified life in an organised fresh space is around the corner. Giving you time to reconnect with the people and things you love. The rewards of downsizing are significant. However, they don’t come easy. You’ll come face to face with lots of emotions as you evaluate what to bring with you into your new life.

What follows is a series of exercises and suggestions to help you move through this time with ease and minimal discomfort. They will help you picture life in your new apartment and ensure it and you are set up for success before you even begin packing.

1

Spend some time in each room in your house. Make a list of everything that
holds memories and would be difficult to part with. Include furniture, art,
and decor. In a separate list, itemise collections of mementos like letters, photos, and
school reports. Revisit these a week later. Identify which items must come to your new
home.

2

Over a cup of tea or a glass of wine, imagine life once you’ve moved. What are
you looking forward to? What will your days entail? What traditions will you
continue? Make a list of these. Try to be specific. Perhaps you’ll include coffee in the
sun, lots of reading, Sunday family dinner for six.

3

This is the perfect time to take up those hobbies you’ve always dreamed of.
Hobbies often come with equipment and space requirements. Thinking about
this now means you won’t be tripping over golf clubs and you’ll have the perfect
surface to sew on. Make a list.

4

Moving is the perfect excuse to buy that matching crockery set, new
mattress, or fresh linen. What have you been looking forward to buying new?
Make a list of these including quantities. If you’d like new linen, how many beds will you
be bringing and how many sets do you need per bed? During this process, acknowledge
what it means for the items you already own. If you’d like new crockery, will you pass
your current collection onto family, sell it, or donate it?

5

A place for everything and everything in its place is key to achieve simplicity.
Measure the meterage of storage in your new apartment including storage
cages. Does this correspond with what you plan to take? If not, make a list of the extra
meterage you require per room. This will need to be incorporated into any furniture you
buy to take with you.

6

Now for a jigsaw puzzle of sorts. When you’re happy with the above lists, cut
them up so that each item is separate. Which things match up and which
don’t? Perhaps you’ve identified that your six dining chairs must come with you and
that you’d love a new dining table that fits perfectly in the space. These both match
with the continued tradition of Sunday family dinner. Alternately, you’re excited to take
up sewing which matches with storage in the laundry, but you don’t have a suitable
surface. You’ve just discovered a stumbling block before you’ve even packed! Solve this
by purchasing clever multifunctional furniture, consulting with an interior designer, or
utilising surfaces and areas already in your apartment and in the communal spaces of
the building. Hot tip: the EBV kitchen islands are perfect for sewing!

7

Now that you’re clear on what is coming with you, consider throwing a last
party or BBQ in your old home. Lay out all of the items you no longer want
and encourage family and friends to adopt them. Use Post-it Notes with their names.
Anything that isn’t claimed can be sold or donated.

Design Tips for First Home Buyer

Congratulations on purchasing your first home. What an achievement! Now comes the balancing act between your budget, what to take, which items to buy, making your new build feel like home, and keeping share house vibes far away.

Identifying how much money you can put towards furnishing your new home is the key to everything that follows. Creating a space that is beautiful, functional, and reflects your personality can be done with a couple of thousand and upwards. A lower budget means more leg work, grunt work, and DIY solutions. However, it also means more skills, community engagement, and more fun!

Identifying how much money you can put towards furnishing your new home is the key
to everything that follows. Creating a space that is beautiful, functional, and reflects
your personality can be done with a couple of thousand and upwards. A lower budget
means more leg work, grunt work, and DIY solutions. However, it also means more
skills, community engagement, and more fun!

Begin by finding that realistic number. Consider if there will be an additional budget
to spend in a few months or a year. Pour a cup of tea and imagine living in your new
home. Can you see items that are shiny and new? Is there something you’ve been
dreaming of owning as you sit in the bedroom of your share-house? Start a list and
assign an amount you’d be happy to spend on each item. Or you can research the price
online and record the average. Also, consider delivery costs.

Now divide that list in two; functional and decorative. Adding to these two lists, we’re
going to take an inventory of all of the furniture and decor you currently own and
would like to keep. Don’t discard something just because it’s old. You can recover
armchairs, make slipcovers for sofas, paint cabinets, and cover worn dining tables with
beautiful cloths. Assign a budget to each of these up-cycling elements. Consider the
dimensions of your furniture and whether they will fit in your new home.

A clear picture will begin emerging. You’ll be able to identify gaps in what you have and
will, therefore, need to buy. Add these to your lists with an amount.
Your functional list is your priority. Is the sum of the values on this list less than your
budget? If so, great! If not, tweak them. Tweaking will result in visiting secondhand
stores (there are so many great ones in East Brunswick and surrounds), keeping an
eye out for sales, and learning new skills to build and craft some things yourself. Don’t
forget East Brunswick Village has a rooftop workshop! Is there some budget left over
for your decorative list? If not, find these and purchase them (or make them) over the
coming years as you settle into your home. There is no rush.

Now that your budget, what to take, and what to buy is clear, let’s make this new
building feel like home. I’m sure there are some treasures you’ve identified that hold
lots of meaning and memories. It’s time to give them some love by giving them pride
of place on a shelf, investing in framing them professionally or rotating them into
everyday use. Perhaps the fabric you bought backpacking can now finally be framed
and hung above your dining table. Or the family tea set can have pride of place in the
kitchen without fear of housemates breaking it.

Design elements will bring your home to life too. Consider texture in tandem with
colour through this process. Colour will set the mood and emotion. Layering textures
will create interest and warmth. Also, consider your lighting sources. Your apartment
comes illuminated with down-lights that are functional but lacking in atmosphere.
Create an inviting space by installing pendants, wall lights, floor, and table lamps.

Looped electrical cords (you can find beautiful cording online and engage an electrician
to rewire) plugged into a socket means that no hard wiring is necessary for pendants
or wall lights.

I hope this has made you feel calmer and excited about what’s ahead!

Clever Ideas for Small Spaces

When buying new, consider intentionally light furniture. Having pieces that are
easy to move will give your environment flexibility and allow you to interact
with it in different ways.

1

Apartment living shouldn’t equate to choosing small furniture. Your furniture
needs to support your needs and how you live. If you love a three-seater sofa
where you can spread out, have a nap, and snuggle on for date night, then a threeseater
sofa is what you need. To compensate for a three-seater sofa, maybe you have
two side tables instead of one large coffee table.

2

Nesting tables are so handy in apartment living. They take up the floor space
of one table and allow you the flexibility of three to four side tables. They
originated in the 1930s and have been around since. You’ll find them finished in
everything from wood to glass. Keep an eye out for them in secondhand shops.

3

Always be ready for a dinner party with an expandable dining table. Pick
from contemporary and antique versions.

4

Vertical bookshelves are a great idea when space is limited. I also love them
as you can start with one and buy more as your book collection grows. Three
lined up together looks just as beautiful as one on their own.

5

Create simple shelving with brackets and wood cut to size. Make it utilitarian
or decorative. Consider if you’d like it to disappear into the wall or be a
feature. Use it for books, as an entrance landing area, as a bedside table, or as a
standing desk.

6

Save space and create additional storage in your dining area by using
banquette seating (upholstered bench seating) with built-in drawers. One has
been designed specifically for East Brunswick Village in American Oak and upholstered
in deep teal linen. It would also make a great piece as you enter your apartment for
shoe storage.

7

If you intend on purchased a new bed base, consider one with drawers. The
perfect spot for storing your additional linen.

8

Make sure you have a plan and a spot for all of the little things. For example,
what are you going to do with all of your electrical cords, chargers, and
adaptors? One of my favourite solutions is fabric hanging pockets (like the ones you
find in wardrobes for shoes) that you can get from storage supply stores (or make
yourself). Attach it to the back of a door, or the inside of a cupboard and assign one
pocket for each cable, charger, and adaptor. And a label and you’ll never be asked
where the “such and such” is again!

9

Make sure you have a plan and a spot for all of the little things. For example,
what are you going to do with all of your electrical cords, chargers, and
adaptors? One of my favourite solutions is fabric hanging pockets (like the ones you
find in wardrobes for shoes) that you can get from storage supply stores (or make
yourself). Attach it to the back of a door, or the inside of a cupboard and assign one
pocket for each cable, charger, and adaptor. And a label and you’ll never be asked
where the “such and such” is again!