What to Look for in a Downsized Home

Lives change, and so do the homes that contain them. If you, like Michael and me, have decided that it’s time to get rid of a bunch of stuff that just doesn’t fit into your life anymore, you are probably looking for a house that is better sized to your new lifestyle. Once you’ve trimmed your life back to a joyous simplicity, it seems kind of silly to have your things floating around in a place made for twice the amount of stuff.

Which means it’s time to get free, and start house shopping.

Although Michael and I are LOVING our rental home, we are still dreaming of the perfect place to call our own and to settle into for the long haul. And so as we begin to look for our next home, we have to ask ourselves: Who are we now, and what do we want our lives to look like?

Here are the big questions we’re asking — and probably the questions you should be asking if you’re contemplating a move.


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The style.

If you like all things Italian, and Georgian, and other -ians, look for places that suit your style. Even if the inside is perfect, you want a house that’s going to make you happy every time you turn into the driveway.

The yard.

Do you need a big yard, or any yard at all? That one question can completely change the way you start searching for a home. Perhaps a nice pool and patio — or even a beautifully maintained community pool — is all you really need from the outdoors, or perhaps a small green space where you could plant a few flowers. (Of course, you might also just want to live near a farmer’s market.)


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The guestrooms.

Sure, you love to have friends visit — but how do you feel about having rooms sit unused? Though it’s always great to extend hospitality, maybe it makes sense to have just one extra room for a short stay, and direct multiple guest to nearby hotels, where you can visit them in fancy bars and restaurants.

The master bath(s).

And since you’ve freed up some square footage in the guest bedroom department, maybe you can make up for it in the bathrooms. Is there anything more glorious (say it with me ladies) than separate his-and-hers bathrooms in the master?


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The living room.

How much living do you actually do in there? You may have a lovely formal sitting room in your current home, but how much time do you sit around formally? Don’t take up space with a room you won’t use often.

The kitchen.

You may love to cook, but does your kitchen really need to be huge? Get a kitchen that’s a joy to cook in for everyday meals, and your life (and diet) will change dramatically. Anything bigger than a dinner for six should probably be catered, anyway.

What big questions are you contemplating as you downsize? I’ll be back next week with some more basic concerns, including some things I simply will not abide in a new home.

Mary Spalding is a Nashville based interior designer with over 30 years of experience. She has overseen countless home revitalizations, renovations, and restorations. She can be reached with your projects and ideas at mary@spaldingway.com.

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