How to Embrace Minimalism in Your Tiny Apartment

No need to panic: minimalism doesn't mean ditch all your stuff. We have 12 killer ideas on how you can easily bring that calm, cool and collected vibe into your small home or apartment.

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April 09, 2019

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Take Your Lighting Seriously

Creating a truly minimalist space will most likely require several layers of changes around your home. But no need to panic! We'll take you through it all step-by-step. One of your first assignments is to start getting serious about your lighting fixtures. If you have any builder-grade fixtures in your tiny space right now, it's time to ditch them (even if you're renting, you can simply switch out your new fixtures when you leave and put the originals back). Choose unique, stand-out fixtures for each room or space in your home. Even if you have to budget out purchasing them one by one, this will be one of the biggest changes you can make.

Edit Your Objects

If you do nothing else on your minimalism journey, do this: ruthlessly curate and edit all of the objects in your home. There's nothing that will shift your space from minimalist to chaotic more quickly than layers upon layers of tchotchkes. Tackle all the areas of your home you can: shelves, coffee and side tables, consoles—everywhere you have stuff on display. Ask yourself: "Do I absolutely and completely love this item?" If your answer is "I'm not sure" or "no," then you need to sell it or donate it pronto.

Embrace Symmetry

In smaller spaces where you're looking to up your minimalist vibes, embracing symmetry is a great way to get that ball rolling. This doesn't mean that everything in your apartment or home needs to be matchy/matchy, but clean, symmetrical layouts like this one can help bring a sense of calm and order to a room. If you're struggling with figuring out how to do this, it sometimes helps to get on a chair or ladder to look over your space. That bird's-eye view can help you sort through which lines and angles are working and which are not.
From: Amy Zolin

Clear Off Your Kitchen Counters

This tip seems sort of silly, but I promise you it can make a gigantic difference when you're working toward bringing that minimalist nirvana. Just completely clean off your kitchen counters. So many of us (my hand is raised high here!) are used to using our kitchen counters as another designated storage spot. So, even when our kitchens are sparkly clean, they still can look cluttered and messy. Get vigilant with yourself and commit to getting all that stuff on your counter put away or donated (if you don't use it anymore).

Use Plants As Decor

When adding some green to your newly-minted minimalist space, think of your plants as decor objects rather than, well, plants. Of course, they're plants (which means you can't slack on caring for them!), but you can think of your plants as important pieces of decor in each of your rooms. This means you don't need to shove your plant behind a door or off in a corner. In this example, the owners use a gorgeous fiddle leaf fig tree to draw your eye up between two architectural windows.

Low-Key Gallery Wall

Yep, you can even embrace minimalism when creating your gallery wall. Resist the urge to fill up your wall with dozens of mismatched pieces of art in varying frames, and instead create a smaller, more subtly-curated gallery wall. I like to call these "grown-up gallery walls." These types of gallery walls often have a smaller overall footprint and feature collections of art that don't feel completely mismatched or unrelated.

Create Your Own Flexible "Rooms"

Oftentimes, tiny apartments or houses don't have distinct, separate rooms. But even though you might not have an actual designated dining room, for example, that doesn't mean you can't create your own. This may feel outside the "minimalist mantra," but we can't forget that function is just as important as style. Steal this homeowner's idea and use a small, fold-out table in the corner of your living room. When not in use, you can put the table back against the wall, and pull the chairs to the side so that they are out of the way (or store them in a closet if you have room!).

Embrace Vintage

In minimalist spaces, each object and piece of furniture should, ideally, be carefully chosen and curated by you. This means you might have to start getting WAY pickier about your space. If you've never explored the world of vintage before, now would be a great time to start. Check out local thrift stores and estate sales for truly unique objects that could make the cut. Look for items such as baskets, old ashtrays (try using one as a catchall for keys in your front entry), unique pottery or simple vases. But before you bring anything into your space, just make sure the answer to the question "Do I love this?" is YES.

Creative Bedside Tables

When you have a tiny bedroom, standard-size nightstands are often too big. But what's a small-space guy or gal supposed to do? Get creative, of course! Use something with slimmer dimensions in your tiny bedroom, like a plant stand, a side table or a natural stump. Once you find the perfect piece, try not to overload your new quasi-nightstand with objects and books. Remember: We're going minimalist here, people!

Say "Yes" to Big Art

I know it might feel like big art is too overwhelming for smaller spaces, but the opposite is actually true. Don't be afraid to rock some big-ass art in your tiny apartment or home, allowing its size and scale to take center stage. In this example, a big piece of abstract art serves as a nice distraction from the TV in the living room.

Pattern + Texture Are Important

Going minimalist in your kid's room might feel like a challenge. But you can really calm things down by sticking to a simple black-and-white color palette. But hold up: simple definitely doesn't mean boring. Try using pattern and texture in a space like this one, to create some extra visual interest within a limited color palette.

Simplify Your Bedding

If you currently have so many pillows on your bed, you can barely see the actual bed, this tip is tailor-made for you. Simplifying your bedding is another easy way to really get those minimalist vibes going strong in your bedroom. Copy this idea by using a simple blanket or coverlet, two pillows to sleep on and one long lumbar pillow. You can use a throw at the end of your bed, or keep it clean and skip it altogether.

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