Gone are the days when, if your house no longer fit your lifestyle, you put up a “For Sale” sign and moved. Today’s economic reality has ushered in a new “improve not move” approach. With just a little creativity, a dual-purpose mindset toward furniture and an investment as minimal as a can of paint, you can reinvent your space to enjoy your home more.
Perhaps no one so embodies the “live better where you are” philosophy than Gale Steves, former editor of “Home” magazine and author of the book, “Right-Sizing Your Home: How to Make Your House Fit Your Lifestyle.” Steves, who was in the Triad area of North Carolina recently to attend the Fall High Point Furniture Market, presented a “Right-Sizing Your Home” ideas seminar sponsored by the Greensboro News & Record at the newspaper’s auditorium.
Giving an overview of trends in home layout and furniture design, Steves challenged her audience to “re-think the space you have, and come up with a better function for at least one space in your home, even if that space is just a closet or a kitchen drawer…Maybe the change will simply be to make a room happier with a new coat of paint in a vibrant color.”
Steves, who lives 26 stories above New York City and described her master bathroom as “the size of two twin beds,” said that every inch of her home must work for her. “No matter if your house is the size of a McMansion or very modest, you can always find ways to use your space better,” she said. Changes in life stage often call for a reinvention of your space, she added. Such life changes include an adult “boomerang” child moving back home, a switch from working in an outside office to a home office, or having an elderly parent move in with you.
When re-thinking your home, think about what you want to do and how you want to live in your home, and then re-invent your space and furniture around those activities, Steves suggested. Think about: where you cook, where you eat, where you relax, where you bathe, where you sleep, where you work, where you entertain and where you clean and store. Every space can be maximized. Do you have a hallway? Convert it into a family photo gallery with shelves and framed pictures and mementos. A back entrance? Create a mudroom using a cabinet and wall hooks so clutter doesn’t make its way into the house. An underused dining room? Visualize a fresh home office or hobby area in that space. A huge room with a vaulted ceiling? Make it into a “cozy space” by furnishing it with a U-shaped sectional. Said Steves, “Sectionals create a place for togetherness and make even a large room cozy.”
Following the seminar presentation, Steves drew for a door prize, the 42-inch Sophia writing desk from Hooker Furniture. Steves said the multi-use desk with a drop-down drawer for a laptop computer embodies the right-sizing philosophy because it has a small footprint but has “beautiful style and can be used for a desk, a sofa table or even a small server.” The winner of the desk was Karil Kaylor of Greensboro, a wife and mother of two. “I love the tapered legs, the dovetailing on the drawers and the vintage hardware,” Kaylor said. “It is great for a bedroom vanity or writing desk and is the perfect size for jigsaw puzzles!”