Whether you are an empty nester or looking to move into a smaller apartment you will inevitably face the challenge of whether to keep your original furnishings or take the leap and start again from scratch.
In a perfect world the latter would be ideal, however, most people don’t start from scratch with every new home and our furniture often follows along and somehow we have to make it adapt, like a Darwinian bird to a changing landscape.
Unfortunately furniture, like fashion, dates. The old timber buffet and hutch you loved in the early ’90s is probably looking a little tired and heavy (aren’t we all) and the four-seater burgundy Chesterfield you agonised over all those years ago is now occupying the entire footprint of your new living space.
However, before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, there are a few basic things you can keep in mind to help your old things work in a new space that doesn’t involve Gumtree or a bonfire.
Everything old is new again
Furniture that initially looks out of place can be given a new lease of life. Painting, re-upholstery and carpentry are worth considering with the added benefit of dining out on your efforts when friends visit!
If you are considering a more contemporary look for your new space consider a dramatic coat of paint and some new hardware/handles to freshen up some of your more traditional pieces.
Reupholster your old armchairs, wingbacks or dining chairs in colours and prints that work with your new space- you’ll fall in love with them all over again.
Think outside the square
Look at your furniture with fresh eyes. Often we see our furniture in very distinct spaces within the home – chest of drawers in the bedroom, sofa in the living room. Why not mix it up and get creative with your options.
If you have a vintage chest of drawers that won’t fit in the new bedroom, consider it for another room. It can double as a console for your television or a place to store linen. Alternatively style up a chest of drawers with a sleek mirror and table lamp to give it a fresh contemporary edge.
Stray, elegant dining chairs go anywhere. They’re perfect for extra seating in living areas, make great bedsides tables or just style with a stack of books and a vase of fresh flowers!
An old buffet and hutch easily converts into a drinks cabinet or separate the buffet from the hutch (if possible) and you have a blanket box or a coffee table and a small bookcase or console!
Upgrade key pieces
Sometimes you do have to bite the bullet and replace much-loved pieces that are just not practical to keep.
Upgrade where it counts – lighting, window furnishings, bedding and maybe, just maybe the big burgundy Chesterfield will have a second lease of life lounging in a brand new family home.
Have you had success downsizing, and re-purposing your favourite pieces? What are your tips?
This article originally appeared on Starts at 60.