Many people are becoming empty nesters or retiring and look around at the space they occupy and realize it no longer suits their needs.

Less space is needed and the spaces are used differently for things like hobbies, exercise, home offices and meditation and reading rooms.

Now is the time to focus on you! Discover who you are today, and how you can create an environment that truly reflects who you have become.

Some call this down-sizing. I call it right-sizing! Whichever you choose to call it, it is still change. Change may be difficult and scary, and it is also freeing to begin anew, reflecting your lifestyle now. Explore what environments are exciting to you and will help you thrive. Create a personal refuge just for you!  A space that speaks about you today.

Right-sizing is just that! It means that only you know what is right for you. What you would like to change? And how it would look and feel?

Keep in mind that you are not decorating to please the room, it is for you! What do YOU like and how do YOU want to live?

Don’t rush into any decision. This is a journey of discovery! Do you want to keep all the furniture you have now — which pieces would you give away or sell? If you choose to keep pieces you love, repurpose them. Use the pieces in different rooms and even change the colors.

Your home is your sanctuary…your happy place. The place where you can do whatever you want. It is the only place where you have that kind of control.

Be fearless! Make color statements with paint on walls and upholstery you purchase or recover. Add pillows and area rugs for interest and panache. Your accessories are a wonderful way to bring in color, shape and interest. And no room is complete without wall hangings. Whether it be pictures, sculptures or mirrors strategically or unexpectedly placed to the furniture, your room will be complete!

Our possessions speak to us consciously and unconsciously. Now is the time to listen and give yourself the colors, styles and comfort you want and need. And definitely don’t keep what doesn’t make you happy!

A client came to me not knowing how she wanted her down-sized home to be decorated.  She felt overwhelmed by all the decisions she had to make, knowing she had to live with the outcomes.

I encouraged her to only make decisions that were essential to moving into the house and then wait, even a short time, until she was ready to move forward.  After all, her new environment would be filled with things she hadn’t experienced before.

I asked her easy, personal questions that what would satisfy her senses, like:

  • What colors are you attracted to? Think about what you like and don’t like.
  • What furniture styles do you like: French, Tuscan, contemporary, etc.?
  • What type of wood do you prefer: light or dark color; light or heavy grain; laminate or lacquer?
  • What metals and finishes do you prefer: chrome or brass, shiny or matte?
  • What kind of window coverings serve your needs?
  • What floor surfaces do you prefer: hard or soft?
  • What sounds are important to you: bubbling water from a fountain or music?
  • What variety of textures do you desire in fabrics?

These details help you visualize and understand how you want your new home to be.  When you do, you’ll create an environment that takes your breath away.

And always remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!

As a gift to you, you can discover decorating and design answers to help you visualize and identify your taste and style, take the free questionnaire on my website:

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Holistic Living — It’s All About Design! Ask Barbara! Barbara Kaplan is an interior designer specializing in holistic living. For information, call 480.998.5088 or visit


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