Decorating as a Minimalist

minimalismI moved into my own apartment not long after I got my first full-time job. I don’t regret this. I love every minute of being able to make my own decisions and choosing my lifestyle. Funny thing is, I hadn’t decorated at all since moving in. This is pretty much the norm for me.

Even in college, I always found myself decorating places like my dorm room haphazardly and halfway through the year. Friends of my old roommate used to come over to our dorm room and ask if she lived alone because my side of the room was so sparse.

For the past few months at work, I used to joke with my coworkers that if there all of a sudden were an earthquake (a likely occurrence in Seattle), I would have nothing to worry about because the two big items I owned—a card table and a futon might fall over, but I would just pick them back up and move on with my life.

Recently, I decided I wanted to add furniture to my place. This was because I found my aparmtent to be cold, uninviting, and not very functional. We had no couch, so there was nowhere for guests to sit or any place for us to relax in our living room. It wasn’t making me happy. And I decided that’s not what I wanted. I’m frugal, but I’m not cheap enough to deny myself material possessions if they would actually add to my happiness.

As I began to gather ideas and concepts for decorating my apartment, I found it difficult to stay minimalist and still have a cozy and comfortable living space. In my research, I bookmarked pictures of nice, friendly looking apartments that always included an overabundance of textiles and storage space that created a lot of visual clutter.

Just thinking about buying all of those things and caring for all of those things made me uneasy. Sure, it might be nice to sit in an apartment will all sorts of knick knacks, but would I really want to deal with all of that stuff?

Finally, I began searching for keywords like “cozy minimalist apartment decorating ideas,” which yielded much more relevant results. The key to decorating the interior of an apartment with a minimalist yet cozy twist is to stay away from furniture that has a cold color scheme. Anything that’s too grey, black, or white tends to create a cold and uninviting environment–something I definitely want to stay away from.

I used some of these classic colors for our large furniture items, but also mixed in natural wood elements (our coffee table is a light wood color), which absolutely helped to create an earthy and cozy feel without adding clutter.

We bought a few other key items that upped the potential for functionality and comfort in our home, but passed on the items that were unnecessary and could be considered clutter.

We bought a couch, a coffee table, a couple of very simple desks, a lamp, a (real) bed, and a couple of bar stools for dining. We found many items on Craigslist to cut down on costs, and still retain the ability to own quality items on a budget.

The thing I liked most about buying furniture secondhand from Craigslist was that we were able to eliminate much of the extra packaging that comes with new items and at the same time wreaks havoc on our natural resources and the environment.

So far I’m happy with our purchases and don’t feel like we have anything we don’t need. Everytime that feeling comes up for me and I feel like I own too much, I get out a bag and start putting things in it for us to take to Goodwill or any other conveniently located charity.

Now we’ve got a few different areas in the apartment, all functional, and although the apartment is sparsely decorated, there’s just enough warmth and pieces of furniture that it’s comfortable to me.

The purchase of a few well thought-out items has made all the difference in my happiness about my home. And that’s what we should be really thinking about: only accumulating the items that would make the most impact on our happiness and nothing more.


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