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Want to downsize but not sure where to start? Decluttering your life

December 11, 2017

One favourite piece of furniture can be the inspiration for an entirely new look in your home.

Halcyon senior interior designer Shereen Tanwan said when moving from your family home to your retirement home, it is a good time to work out what your favourite pieces of furniture are and to work your new interior design around that.

“For example, I had a home owner at Halcyon Glades who had a round dining table and eight chairs they bought in 1961,” she said. “They had the chairs reupholstered and picked their new home’s colour scheme around the dining table.

“People often have individual pieces of furniture they’ve invested in and they want to incorporate them into their new home and upgrade their new home’s interior design around those pieces.”

Ms Tanwan said the good thing about moving homes was the ability to cull those items you didn’t love and bring with you pieces you really love and cherish.

“You can make your house as individual as you like,” she said. “There are lots of different themes to choose from, but what will make it a home is bringing your own personal items that you love to make it feel warm and cozy.”

But don’t just keep furniture because you’ve always had it. Only keep it because you can’t live without it. “This is also an opportunity to reset, take stock of what you have and get your own personal style into your new home,” she said.

While the designs might be slightly smaller than what people previously lived in, Ms Tanwan said the Halcyon homes were still quite spacious and offered plenty of storage. She said to remember people were now living in a home with just one or two people, minus the extra belongings of children that filled up space.

“Plus, the resorts offer recreational facilities such as a library and gym that maybe these people once had to fit in their homes and no longer need to, which also gives them much more space,” she said.

Ms Tanwan said while Halcyon didn’t provide an interior decorator service as such, she did sit down with new home owners and go through colour schemes and finishes for their new architecturally designed homes. “They also have the benefit of moving into a brand new home with no maintenance issues, beautifully landscaped, which gives them plenty of time to shop for soft furnishings and decorate their home exactly how they’d like it,” she said.

Ann and Greg Riding moved into Vision by Halcyon in June last year, choosing to move to the Sunshine State from their Lake Macquarie home in New South Wales.

A keen sailor of 66 years, and having built a yacht, Mr Riding had a lifetime of sailing memorabilia to accommodate. Not surprisingly, a nautical theme ran strong through their previous home.

Mrs Riding, a former interior decorator, said white walls with blue and yellow accents was the theme of their Lake Macquarie home, which they then decided to carry through to their home at Vision.

She said the move did call for some new furniture, with alfresco dining playing such a huge role in the Queensland lifestyle, but they also bought some favourite pieces and plenty of memorabilia with them.

Some creative storage ideas and a good dose of culling were in order to help the couple fit into their new home.

Mrs Riding said on top of Mr Riding’s sailing memorabilia, he also had quite a collection stored up from his 55 years in the printing industry. “Plus, I had lots of paint colours, office furniture catalogues dating back to the 1930s, gardening books from quite a long time back,” she said.

“You really have to be ruthless in your culling when you’re going to move.”

Mr Riding’s tips are to measure everything before you move in and, most importantly, take note of your wine situation. If you had a cellar or special storage in your previous home you need to make sure you continue to store it correctly when you move.

Mrs Riding said downsizing also freed up more money for retirement, and she highly recommended Halcyon. “They bent over backwards to accommodate what we needed because we were both so far away,” she said