We’ve got a project update for you with some great tips whether you are downsizing or just looking for more storage in the bedroom.

When a lovely retired couple reached out for help with downsizing (or rightsizing we like to call it), we began designing their condo to prepare them for the move. Like many new condos, it needed some personality and better storage, so we got busy drawing some ideas.

By the way, this is a great example of how our e-design projects can work. We actually never set foot in the condo but with the homeowner’s help we got all the measurements and photos we needed to do the preliminary design.

Our clients wanted more storage for the bedrooms, and space planning throughout.  We often find storage is the highest priority for homeowners who are downsizing. Adding to, and optimizing what you have is key to making the space work more efficiently.

Tips for Downsizing

Here’s an overall look at the condo and the space planning we did. The master bedroom and den are both getting new storage.


We love to work with your existing pieces if they are pieces you treasure, but it is important to choose things that you truly love, and are in good condition. Often they will set the colour palette and style for the entire room. It isn’t a great idea to invest around things that are already tired or dated. Start off with something you love and you will love the result!

A moody den was what the homeowner had in mind. They envision using this room on cold winter nights cozying up to watch television. It will also need to double as a work space and a guest room.

The Look and Feel of the Space

One of the first steps is to explore ideas and communicate the look and feel of a proposed space. To show what we have in mind, we collect inspiration photos and prepare a “look and feel” board. This lets the client get a sense of the style direction we are proposing.

Here’s what we came up with for the den. The lower left corner shows a clip from their existing rug. That set everything in motion.

Here is our drawing of the millwork we originally designed for the den/guestroom. We proposed that the doors be removed from the closet so we could use the space to provide more functional storage. We added lots of drawers, and shelves for display.

In the end, our client decided that a small dedicated workstation was going to be important to help the transition, so we came up with the drawing below. We kept the idea of a sliding door but with a more stylish barn door so that the workspace can easily be hidden when they have overnight guests or want to relax in the room and not think about work or paying the bills. There will still be lots of closed storage to the right to hold guest bedding etc. On the left will be a dedicated place for the printer, modem, extra paper, and all that office-ey stuff above and below the desk area with a chair that tucks under.

Utilize Built-Ins

The master bedroom will get built-ins on each side of the bed. Again, a look and feel board is the first step. We love soft hues like these for a restful sleep.

Storage galore! Notice how we have left an open space to act like a night table surface (labelled “open”). I don’t know about you but I’ve always got my glasses, whatever I am reading, and sometimes a glass of water (or wine) to perch. I think bedroom built-ins should allow for this unless the homeowner is certain they don’t need that.

For a different idea, you can see another bedroom where we created a pull-out surface to provide the same function in this post.

Here’s the recap of our top tips for downsizing:

  1. Take inventory of your large pieces and select only those you love and are in great condition as they will play into the look and feel for your new space. Building on things that you aren’t completely in love with will never result in a room that sparks joy each time you enter.
  2. Edit, edit, edit. This is the time to pass along all those things you thought you would use but you didn’t.
  3. Optimize all of the existing storage spaces. Closets will work better for you if you customize them to hold the things you need to store. Builder basic closets are made for general purpose but there is a lot of wasted space. You will need to add shelving and/or containers to make the best use of the precious space.
  4. Consider under-bed storage or buying a storage bed. Many of the retail storage beds do not make very efficient use of the under-bed storage. We have storage beds custom built for our clients but also have a list of retail and trade sources for our favourites we use for some of our homeowners who work with us.
  5. Add storage with built-ins to eliminate the need for dressers. This will make the rooms feel more spacious.
  6. Create a pull-out shelf or an open cubby to eliminate the need for night tables.
  7. Create rooms that offer multiple purposes.
  8. Pick furniture that can be multi purpose. A sofa bed, for example can be very comfortable to sit and watch tv and for overnight guests. I know most of you are thinking of sofa beds of the past with a flimsy mattress and a horribly uncomfortable bar across the middle. Believe me, they have come a long way and are well-worth reconsidering. A storage ottoman can also function as a coffee table to put your feet up and store extra bedding for overnight guests.

Here are just a few storage pieces to help you get organized. We use the under bed storage boxes for out of season clothes. They are a real space saver.

As always, we can help if you get stuck.

*** My standard disclaimer: Please note, some of these items may be offered through affiliate links which means I could get a small commission if you order. That will never influence what I find lovely and want to share with you. I always offer suggestions I would buy for my home or recommend to a client. Also, rest assured it won’t affect the price you would otherwise pay.