How To Minimally Furnish an Apartment

I tend to go off on tangents. What, you mean you haven’t noticed? I start typing and I just keep going. So on New Years Day I promised myself I wasn’t getting on the computer, wasn’t responding to any comments, and was taking a day off.

Ehh, well there was just one itsy bitsy little comment that maybe I had time for… next thing I know I’ve written almost a whole blog post as a reply! So I decided to turn that response into a post, make Regina wait 2 days for her big response, and put it up where more people could read it. I also wanted to open it up to other minimalists to share tips for Regina as well, so make sure to leave your ideas in the comments section!

Regina’s moving into her very first apartment (exciting times!) and she wants it to be minimalist. She’s got people around her who want to fill it up for her though. They’re talking dining tables she’s talking bare bones. What’s a girl to do? Ask the Minimalist Packrat of course! Here’s her question followed by my response.

Hey there,

I just discovered your blog through Miss Minimalist and I’m really enjoying it, especially the Holidays post. You mentioned that you don’t have a dining room table – what are your thoughts behind this? I’ll be minimally furnishing my first apartment pretty soon and am getting pressure from everyone it seems who wants to furnish it for me! Any tips on what you live without would be appreciated!

Thanks and keep up the awesome posts,

~Regina

Glad you found me! You’ve got some good questions Regina. About the dining room table, hmmm. Even before I was minimalist I never had one. I grew up in a house with a big 10 person dining table and a 4 person kitchen table too. But after a certain age (around 7) no one required that I sit around the table to eat, so I grew up eating on the floor in front of the television. (How American!)

So when I moved out on my own a table to eat at wasn’t a priority. Then when my clutter accumulations got to be too much, it wasn’t even a possibility! I mean a dining table would have cut into the amount of stuff I could have!

The only time I’ve had a dining table was in our most recent house we were renting. (Funny, it was after going minimalist that I finally lived with a dining table!) It was a small little retro 2 person bistro table. We served nice dinners for 2 and Patrick had a place other than his lap to “laptop” on.

Before that (pre-dining table living) when we had company we’d often serve buffet style food instead of “sit-down dinners”. All our friends were always fine with sitting in chairs and eating. I’ve also done cushions around the coffee table (old-school Asian style dining) and that was fun too. I’ve never missed having a dining table and think it’s completely optional! It’s all about your preferences.  

Back to your other questions about minimally furnishing an apartment, we only had a dining table in our last house because there was room for it. Space is the critical factor. I suggest you focus on what your needs and wants are and ignore all the noise from everyone else. Tell everyone you appreciate their interest but that you’re really excited to “design” your very own first apartment on your own. Then look at your activities and go from there. What we had in our most recent home (a 2 bedroom with a porch) was:
 
Living room: 1 couch, 2 footstools, 1 dresser, 1 dinette set, 1 dog bed
Bedroom: 1 bed, 2 nightstands, another dog bed
Office: 1 computer table, 3 chairs
Porch: nothing

I don’t have a lot of photos to show of our “whole space”. I was silly and took many pictures of little things like drawers and forgot to take room pictures before we moved! Here’s 2 shots I salvaged of our living room. They were designed for other posts so please ignore the clutter in the first shot (it was for a benefits of minimalism, you still have clutter but it’s less crazy post) and the cd’s in the second shot (for a music clutter post).

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In this shot you see the dinette, the couch, the 2 footstools and the curtains.

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In this shot you see more curtains, our dresser which functioned as a t.v. stand while storing our clothes and a peek of the big amethyst crystal I always talk about on the floor. Not shown in either shots is the dog bed and a vase on one windowsill. Those are the only other things that were in this room.

As far as other items that folks are probably telling you to stock up on here’s our list of some common quantities that we owned. No wall art except for 1 large mirror in the bedroom, a dry erase board in the office, and a tapestry on the bathroom door. Other items were:

Kitchen:  2 pots, 2 pans, 2 plates, 2 bowls, 2 sets of utensils, some cooking utensils and dish towels, 1 fruit bowl, a few pieces of tupperware, a colander, a cutting board

Bathroom: 1 vase, 1 wooden box, some crystals, 2 towels, 2 wash cloths

Bedroom: a crystal, 1 set of sheets, 1 blanket, 1 comforter, 2 pillows, 1 jewelry box, laundry bag in closet

Other than that we also had a few personal items, cleaning supplies, some minimal document storage (an accordian file), some cd cases, a dvd player, pet supplies and 3 musical instruments. I’m sure I’m forgetting some things but that’s close to the whole list!

 I’m a big fan of “less is more” when it comes to furniture. There are many shades of minimalism. The most important thing is for you to be comfortable with the level you choose. A minimalist lifestyle (for me) is about comfort and functionality.

When you really break it down all a person needs is a cozy place to lay their head and a comfy spot to sit. For your situation (starting with a clean slate, how exciting!) I recommend starting off with the least you can and seeing how it feels. Then add things after you’ve lived in the space a while and gotten a feel for what you want!

So you asked what furniture I live without? Here’s a post of 100 Things I’ve Learned to Live Without. Most recently we lived without table lamps, floor lamps, bookcases, a traditional t.v. stand, end tables, plant stands, plants, a coffee table, end tables, cd/dvd racks, a bakers rack, modular storage pieces, and “extra” seating in the living room. There is more of course (buffets, credenzas, blah-blah-blah) but this is a list of furniture that I used to own as a packrat and downsized from. 

What I’ve found is the more “small stuff” I get rid of the less “big stuff” I need. All those furniture items well-meaning people think are neccessities can become obsolete when you own less! Like books. We got rid of all the books and no longer needed a bookcase. We got rid of the plants and no longer needed plant stands. We got rid of the knick-knacks and no longer needed weird little pieces of furniture to put them on.

If your “well-meaning” people are wanting to buy you things new (instead of tossing you hand-me-downs), try to have a hand in the decisions so you get stuff that matches your style instead of theirs. Choose the basics of what you want! 

 Here’s my take on a first-time minimalist apartment on a budget, and a sample shopping list even! It’s the $1,000 minimalist apartment. Think multi-functional. Get the wide Malm 6 drawer dresser from Ikea (under $200). Store clothes in it and use it as your t.v. stand in the living room. Add in 2 Poang chairs from Ikea (Under $100 each) and your living room is furnished! They’re comfy and very stream lined, taking up a minimum of space. Plus they can be disassembled if you move. Then blow your budget on a great quality mattress set and a gorgeous comforter that makes you smile every time you see it for the bedroom. Put two modular storage cubes (Target $20 each) on either side of the bed as nightstands, throw in some breezy curtains, a few larger decorative elements and your done!

I’ll leave you with a few inspiration shots from around the internet to get you salivating. I’ve shown more “realistic” shots rather than the $50,000 minimalist room photos that are out there (except for one or two that I slipped in):

Simple, quirky and fun living room zone…

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A splash of color and (gasp) pattern in this living room/dining combo. Cute!

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Wide open space and a comfy couch in this living zone…

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An upscale but funky seating area… like it except for the animal rug!

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Drum roll, a pricey dream room. Love how the color is pulled together. High drama!

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A real life minimalist bedroom shot, less fancy than some others, but heading towards a bit of realism with it. Notice the Malm storage headboard from Ikea (researched it as a possibility a while back. Online reports are that the storage doors don’t roll smoothly. I tested it out at an Ikea store and found wobbly, top-heavy doors to be the truth!).

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A minimalist lifestyle differs from the minimalist interior design movement. In real life it can be whatever you want including a girly pink room. Not my style but I included it for variety.

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Airy and light. I love it except for the animal rug again!

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And finally 2 fancy inspiration bedrooms. These are what I’d love to have. Gorgeous!

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That’s the end of the shots! Regina, keep us posted on your progress. I’d love to see shots of your first minimalist apartment once you’ve moved in! Any other minimalists out there want to share some tips and ideas for Regina’s first apartment? Leave your comments and thoughts below!

 

the minimalist packrat clutter bootcamp

 

35 Responses to “How To Minimally Furnish an Apartment”

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  1. Hey Regina and Tanja,

    There absolutely are different shades of minimalism!

    I think an important thing about designing and furnishing an apartment or home is to figure out how you want it to make you feel. I did the 100 Thing Challenge but it was never really about the stuff I kept or got rid of. It was about the peace and calm I felt when my room was finished, and the way I still feel that every time I’m in it.

    Clean and organized works for me because my brain is normally hectic. So I made sure that everything was out of site and in it’s place. (You can find pictures here if you like: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottkostolni/sets/72157625709060744/) This helps me feel calmer and makes it easier for me to work and think. You are going to be spending more time than anyone else in your home so make it as inspiring as you can.

    I would also say that minimalism isn’t strictly about sacrifice. We are living with less because we love living with less. I don’t miss anything I’ve given up. I also don’t think that you have to spend the least amount possible. It is okay to have nice things if you want them, but stick with what is functional that you will use and appreciate. All of the pictures above are minimalist rooms even the one that looks like it cost a fortune. Figure out your budget and stick to it but get the best quality stuff you can (especially a bed!). It’ll last longer and be much more worth it for you in my opinion.

    I could go on a bit longer but I wont. =) Regina, I would love to see how your apartment comes out! Tanja, thanks for awesome posts as always!

    ~Scott

    • Hey Scott,

      I tried your flckr link but it didn’t show your minimal apartment shots! I dug through pages 163 to 158 and had a lot of fun seeing you and your friends and a variety of shots. It always gives more insight into a person seeing photos! But only 1 minimalist room photo (sniff, sniff). So Here’s the link to Scott’s post on his minimalist apartment. It’s awesome! Check it out.

      I think Wednesday’s blog roundup is going to be on real minimalists showing off their spaces and Scott you get the #1 spot. I’m going to dig around and see who else I can find who has “bared all” on the internet!

      Tanja

      p.s. I love your point about minimalism not being about sacrifice. Sometimes due to space restrictions there are tough choices with decluttering. But minimalism is fun, not a terrible spartan “living without”. You are so right Scott!

      • Grr. I’ve been moving ALL of my pictures over to Flickr and it hasn’t been the most graceful host for me. Thank you for providing a better link. =)

        I’ll definitely be looking forward to the round up. I love seeing other peoples rooms too. =) One of my favorite things about getting rid of all my extraneous stuff was that now even when my room is a mess (organization has never come naturally to me) it’s just a quick 10 minute job to get it back to perfection. Lol.

        ~Scott

  2. Jill Foley says:

    I love all the pictures – especially the second to last bedroom photo (except there are too many pillows!)

    For me, having a table is a sacred place. Because I share my life with others (my husband and two daughters), I want a place we can gather daily (somedays several times) and eat a meal together, play games together, do projects together, etc.

    The key for me, is to keep this surface clear AT ALL TIMES (when not in use). I homeschool and we do so much of our work at the table….but it has to be cleared of everything else. When we are done with school, we clear it so we can do art projects. When we are done painting or creating, we clear it so we can share a meal.

    I love what you said about “designing” your own space according to your activities. You don’t need to have something just because most other people do. If you don’t see yourself using a table, then you don’t need one!

    • Jill, I love you sharing your perspective on a dining table for Regina. Patrick has similar views to you. He wouldn’t need a couch but he would love to always have a dining table. (We’re opposites on that one.) For him it’s like you, the heart of a home where people gather.

      How cool that you’ve got the “clearing the surface” thing down. You’re teaching your girls good habits!

      Tanja

  3. Dee says:

    A good way to fend off helpful friends and relatives is to tell them you’ll ask for the help when you’re settled. Refuse the help NOW, but leave the door open to later. Stall, stall, stall. iF they want to stop by, meet them at their homes or out in the world for a while. That way, no one will just show up with a helpful lamp or chair or table you could use and can’t refuse. Again, stall, stall, stall….

    You could say something like -” I’m not sure what kind of x I want. So many choices. I’ll wait until I live in the rooms a while.” Then in a few months or a year if you still don’t have a dining room table or a couch, you’re just the eccentric girl who sits on the floor. (Now that I have a son and no coffee table, I realize how much I missed sitting on the floor.)

    Accept NOTHING you don’t want. I was a huge a accepter of free stuff. Some of that stuff i loved and still do. But it is harder to get someone to help you move something out than it is to get help moving something in. (Have no idea why that is).

    My last apartment was quite spacious and had lots of closet space. A huge coat closet with a shelf above. A large linen closet. Normal sized galley kitchen and bathroom vanity. And a large (but not walk in) closet in the bedroom. And a smallish storage room (IN THE APARTMENT!) I won’t tell you how many dressers, shelves and shelving carts I had in my apartment. Then I moved into a house, everything came with me -> contents and all.

    Did I need those dressers and shelves because i had so much stuff, or did I have so much stuff because I had so many places to put it all? (Except at the end…)

    Now, after nearly a decade I’m finally trying to get it to a manageable state. But I wish I had done this sooner. Maybe I would have never felt we needed the house. I can afford my house, without any problems. I like my house. But maybe I missed an opportunity to do it all differently. I think my house choose me instead of the other way around.

    Sticking to your guns and getting only what you WANT, like and will use is a great way to start out on your own. And I’m no minimalist! I love much of my stuff.

    (Being a minimalist doesn’t mean you can’t take a handmedown. Handmedowns can often be better quality, cheap/free and more interesting. And you may be keeping that item out of the garbage.)

    Just make it YOUR choice, not theirs.

    Thanks for the article, very inspiring as usual. Sorry for hijacking your blog…

    • Hi Dee,

      Thanks for swinging by! You can hijack my blog any time. You wrote a whole post here! I love what you say here, “Did I need those dressers and shelves because i had so much stuff, or did I have so much stuff because I had so many places to put it all?” Very insightful. Just because there’s space doesn’t mean it all needs to be full! But it’s classic thinking to fill it till it’s stuffed. That’s how it used to be for me! Good luck on your journey of decluttering. I wish I’d decluttered years before I did as well, but I didn’t. The important thing is to start now. Even if your journey takes you 3 years like mine did, it will get done and you will love it!

      About this part that you said to Regina, “Being a minimalist doesn’t mean you can’t take a handmedown.”

      Ooops! I didn’t mean to give that impression when I wrote the post, but maybe I did. What I meant was don’t take hand-me-downs that you don’t love, need, or want! There’s definitely nothing wrong with hand-me-downs, only the ones you don’t want or need and that don’t match the style you want.

      Thanks for straightening me out Dee!
      -Tanja

  4. Dee says:

    While I agree, it’s worth spending money on something as important as a bed, I wouldn’t say that more money equals better all the time. (Though often it’s a good benchmark.) I’m still learning to accept that some purchases are mistakes and that if I make a mistake, it’s OK to let go of the item and just accept that I screwed up.

    I sleep on a high quality futon mattress, in a normal wooden bed frame. I don’t roll it away during the day or anything like that. It looks like a completely ordinary bed. I like a nice firm mattress and futons are firm. But I do buy a higher end futon mattress, which I think makes all the difference between that college type lumpy mess and a real bed. (I skip the futon frames which fold into couches now that I have house.) You don’t need a special frame for a futon btw.

    My new futon should be approximately 400 dollars for a queen size mattress. That’s far less than a high quality mattress.

    Just something to think about….

    • Dee, do want a job as my editor? It would be a non-paying job of course! (hee, hee). You caught me again. I didn’t clarify. When I said spend the money on a top-quality mattress I wasn’t thinking mega-bucks. The most I’ve ever paid was $350 for a set but it was a floor sample on sale down from $900. To me that’s a top-quality mattress! I do think a good bed is worth it’s weight in gold but it doesn’t have to cost all that much gold.

  5. Regina Hager says:

    Wow, what an awesome surprise when I looked at your blog! I wasn’t sure if you’d have time to answer my comment and I definitely wasn’t expecting a whole blog post on my question. I was so excited I showed it to my family (who promptly told me what I should add to your list of items..LOL).

    What a treat to see your minimalist home; it’s such a lovely example of REAL lived-in space! Everything seems very well thought-out and multifunctional such as your dresser/tv stand. You’ve inspired me (and given me fuel to politely ignore the people who say “don’t you need 4 couches to entertain your guests??”). I’m also loving the $1,000 plan – I’ll probably use your idea since it’s such a good way to start with the least I can. Funny how that’s all we really need to function!

    Again I appreciate the wonderful response and I hope this helps other people who can start with a clean slate!

    • Hey Regina,

      I’m glad you’re getting some inspiration from it! There are tons of great comments and ideas from other minimalists popping up here too! Good for you declining the “4 couch minimum” in your living room!!! It makes me laugh a little thinking about it. Unless your first apartment is going to be in a mansion I don’t see how 4 couches would fit anyways!!!

      Looking forward to hearing about your clean slate start…

      Cheers,
      Tanja

  6. Mia says:

    One trick I find is to decorate with COLOUR, not knick-knacks and end tables and other stuff. For example, I have a beautiful purple Chinese satin quilt cover and it makes me happy every time I see it. All the cluttery knick-knacks that were in the room before it, not so much. I find the room looks better emply except for the bed, because the bed is so pretty!

    • You and me are on the same page when it comes to color Mia. I had a huge chunk of stuff about deciding a color scheme in the post I wrote and then I took it all out because it seemed like I was meandering too much!

      We’re also on the same page when it comes to purple. My most recent color scheme is purple/white/grey/black. The purple is in a handful of accent pieces with the comforter being one of them! I love my purple bed and don’t need anything else in the room. Just seeing it every day puts a smile on my face.

      Cheers,
      Tanja

  7. Laura :) says:

    All of those pictures are delicious!!! I like the purple flowered bedroom best…it is minimal and cozy!! :)

    I also think your aubergine curtains are a perfect color for the couch and wood floor. It makes me realize that curtains are a wonderful way to add in color without having to spend a lot or make big commitments with furniture!

    Gosh, wouldn’t it be fun to be just starting out but with an eye towards minimalism!! I’d love that chance!!!

    My advice for holding back the thoughtful folks that want to help with offers of furniture is to say, “Thank you so much!! Let me get all my stuff moved in first then I’ll see what I need. I’ll let you know!!”

    On the couch and dining table issue….to each his own…we have both. I love sitting on the couch reading with the kiddos…that silent bonding thing captures my heart!! And, the table….well, it too often becomes a laptop/project holding/mail sorter space. Not enough eating goes on there, to my dismay. But that is us, today, as a family. When we were just married we had a table cuz you’re supposed to right??? Well, we usually ate around the coffee table sitting on the floor and that table just took up space.

    It’s a lot of fun thinking outside the norm and creating your space in a way that makes sense to you and the way you live. I envy you, Regina!! Have fun!!! :)

    • Laura I’m totally with you on the curtain thing. No offense to all you mini-blind people out there but I’ve always detested them. Curtains soften a room and are practically the only decorative element I need in a space!

      Funny that right now (since moving) my curtains are in storage and I’m looking at mini-blinds in our new “one room living” set-up! Hmmm, I have to do something about that.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the couch/dining table questions! It’s always amazing to hear different viewpoints and what people feel is indispensable or dispensable!

      Cheers,
      Tanja

  8. While I am not qualified to speak as an accomplished minimalist (I’m a work in progress) I do see many benefits to this life style. One of my favorites is that it is SO easy to clean a room furnished in this manner!

    Great list Tanja, it may be a while before I can whittle everything down to that point (don’t want to force my wife into culture shock – she’s being good about this transition from traditional American eclectic to minimalistic) but we’re working on it.

    One of Marie’s great loves is cooking, and taking away all her tools will make us both very unhappy! Thinner, but unhappy.

    • You’re right Allan, it’s amazing how much easier it is to clean as a minimalist! I’ve got a post coming up about that (too many posts waiting to be written!!!). I’m messy. I was messy when I was a packrat and I’m a messy minimalist! I have to pick up every day to make up for what I did the day before, but it’s sooo much easier now.

      With Marie being the grand cook she deserves to keep all her culinary toys (as long as she uses them). It’s the ones that never get pulled our or are only used a few times a year that clog up a kitchen. Those are the ones I always recommend folks ditch.

      Who wants thin unhappy minimalists anyways? Go for the full-bellied happy quasi-minimalist thing!

      Cheers,
      Tanja

      (and yes, I’m still drooling over your steamer trunk!)

  9. Tanja,
    I am impressed with your list of items that you have! Makes me want to go clear out some more stuff pronto! I ahve made some progress, but nowhere near yours. For real though, I am so happy you have made it to a point that makes you happy. Mine will come all in good time. I have other things I am working on right now, so the purging has to be done in stages.
    As far as Regina goes, I agree, start out with very little and then as you begin living there and the thought comes up, “it would be nice to have a _____ right here” then you can consider something to fill that need. It will be easier to add than subtract, I am sure most minimalists will tell you!
    Bernice
    Get your priorities straight

    • Bernice, It took me 3 years of decluttering! It definitely wasn’t an instant process. I had amassed a huge mountain of stuff over the years so don’t feel discouraged if your process takes a little time. Even if it takes 3 years every step you take (and useless thing you chuck) will make you feel lighter, free-er and happier! That’s how it was for me anyways.

      Cheers,
      Tanja

  10. Carwin Young says:

    I think one of the things that makes a room feel more minimalist is the overall comfort level your eye sees when you walk in. When you walk in a room with a big fluffy couch it won’t feel as minimal as it would if you walked into the same room with a very thin, uncomfortable looking one. I don’t mean that your furniture shouldn’t be comfortable (obviously it should be) but try to take the look of comfort out of the picture.

    For example, http://www.modresdes.com/2010/07/minimalist-and-comfortable-spacer-contemporary-sofa-by-innovation-living/spacer-contemporary-sofa-by-innovation-living-1/

    That couch doesn’t look exceedingly comfy, but it is.

    Another good thing to question is your bed, I’ve been living without a bed for a little over a month now — just sleeping straight on the floor. However I don’t suggest this unless you feel like being a little extreme. A far better option for bedding is something like a shiki futon which can be folded up neatly after you wake up and can give you a LOT of room.

    Multipurpose furniture is also a good idea. I have a coffee table whose top lifts up to reveal a relatively large storage area inside. I don’t have a link for it, but I got it at Target in September so I’m sure it’s still there.

    All in all I think the best course of action to making your home FEEL more minimalist is to get everything out of sight. This can be pretty hard to do if you have a lot of stuff, which is why it’s important to BE more minimalist. On that journey though, getting your stuff out of sight can make things feel much cleaner and simpler.

  11. Jenny Smythe says:

    I’m so glad you made this into a post. It’s so helpful! I’m very visual so I love to see pictures in posts. Keep up the good work Tanja!

    • Glad you enjoyed it Jenny! Now it’s your turn to post shots of your minimalist space!!! Ooooh a challenge!

      Cheers,
      Tanja

  12. The last one of course, is my favourite :)

    Thanks!

    • The two last ones are my favorites too Serena! A funny thing though, my honey who is more practical than me (and is minimalist by nature) immediately said how impractical the last shot is. He felt the two vases were too small and would be in danger of being kicked over or thwapped by an over-exuberant dog tail. Uh, an unwelcome reality check! I still love the way it looks though….

      Cheers,
      Tanja

  13. Tony says:

    Great article and some great comments. I’m very interested in this as I’m transitioning from being a “simple liver” to being a minimalist. Carwin’s tips are particularly useful: multi-purpose as much as possible, it saves a lot of space. I like the idea of the foldable futon too. I have a metal bed that had four storage drawers under it. I’ve dumped the drawers (and the junk that was in them), and this makes it much easier to clean under the bed. Allan is right, the less junk you have, the easier to have a good clean out! :)

    • Hey Tony! Good to see you stopping by again! Isn’t it funny how sometimes “simple living” doesn’t equate to “simple living”?!? I learned that with our back-to-the-land days on 5 acres in Arkansas. We seemed to need one of everything, sometimes two.

      Carwin’s multi-purposing ideas are spot on! I love multi-purposing. That’s why most recently our tv stand was our dresser. One less piece of furniture and a wide open bedroom!

      Good for you dumping those drawers. I bet they were tough to get into to as well! Hope to see you back again soon,
      Tanja

  14. sandy says:

    I think that you have to try out a room with varying amounts of stuff in it to decide on what amount you are comfortable with. Personally, I would go crazy in a room with bare white walls and only two chairs. It would feel cold and uncomfortable instead of serene. But you don’t have to fill a room with lots of stuff to make it more welcoming–you just have to find the right stuff, things you really love and enjoy looking at, It’s hard to do much to improve apartment walls, but just tacking up a pretty piece of material can make the walls warmer. Plus, material is inexpensive, has many other uses, and stores in a very small space.

    We sold all of our big furniture because it was too difficult to move across country. Now we don’t have a dresser or chest of drawers–we use shelves in the closets instead. We also don’t have a couch or large, overstuffed chairs. A dining room table is a must for us, though. Besides eating at it, we also use it for games, projects, and food prep. It’s large, but easy to move since the legs come off.

    • Hi Sandy, Thanks for stopping by! It’s so awesome hearing everyone’s viewpoints on the dining table dilemma. It’s seems like a 50/50 split between “never use one” to “it’s an every day must”.

      I agree with you about cloth as well. Just one tapestry or set of curtains can warm up a room nicely. I don’t have any set up right now (curtains that is) and I’m missing their airy look while I stare at some boring mini-blinds. Hmmm, how do you install curtain rods in concrete walls without a power drill? That’s my next quest.

      If you don’t have a couch, do you mind me asking what furniture you do have in your living room? I’d be interested to know!

      Cheers,
      Tanja

      • sandy says:

        Concrete is hard to work with, but small tacks can be used for drywall. I have heard of using a paste made of flour to tack up material–it washes off easily.

        As for my furniture, I have a twin size futon with ends that fold up to make it into a loveseat (it’s easy to haul into another room if we need to use it as a bed). We also have 3 lightweight, comfy chairs that can be disassembled for moving. We don’t have any large walls in our living room to put a couch up against, which is another reason why we never got one. The chairs are much easier to move around, and dust never collects under or behind them.

        • It sounds perfect Sandy! I love easy to move furniture and even better is when it can be disassembled for moving!

          The walls are concrete with plaster over them. I’ve been contemplating some tension curtain rods for the windows but it will depend on if we make this a more permanent arrangement or not. Right now the curtains are in storage. Flour paste, hmmm, I haven’t heard that before. Intriguing!

          Cheers,
          Tanja

  15. rago says:

    I have recently been through this. I’ve just moved into my new place and although at the time wasn’t consciously taking the minimalist approach I knew that I didn’t want to end up with a whole lot of things I didn’t love. So I had to learn to say no to family. Not an easy task. The advice previous commenters have given about saying “let me move in and settle to see what I need” does work. I know. After I had a chance to think about it I then made a small list of things I actually needed. That way if anyone asked if they could help out and get me something I had a list.

    Ultimately my idea of a minimalist lifestyle is simply to surround yourself with only the things you need and love. Therefore you simply need to give yourself time to work out the kind of home you want. For me I couldn’t live without a dining room table. I love to cook and I prepare a meal nightly, trying out new recipes and getting creative. I love to eat at a table with candles and glass of wine. It’s heaven to me. In fact at the moment I don’t have a couch. Just a couple of bean bags and a 4 seater table (I often invite others over to cook for). Although I am still on the look out for a couch that I love.

    Good luck with it all. Let us know how it goes.

  16. Joless says:

    We have recently moved into a small(er) place as we’re building an extension (I feel like I’m the only person in the world scaling up my living space!). So currently we’re living with far less stuff than we own (the rest is in boxes or in storage). My dilemma is that I now realise we CAN realistically live with far less than we own, BUT, I really miss some of my stuff (artwork, books, cooking stuff mainly). I can’t wait to move home again (March 2012ish) and unpack all my belongings again, but I don’t know where to start with making sure I declutter sensibly!

  17. di says:

    Store items in baskets beneath furniture.
    Use a sofabed to study, dine, etc.

    Vertical storage is claustrophobic.
    Shelving, cupboards, closets, desks and tables are not really needed.

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