About three years ago, I moved to a small surf town on the golden shores of Costa Rica. When I arrived in this quaint village where everyone seems to know your name, I carried an excessive amount of luggage with me.
In order to prep for my journey to Central America, I was certain that the more I brought, the better. But as I settled into my tiny studio apartment and the slower paced beach lifestyle, I naturally began to shed many of my belongings.
In all honesty, the incredibly hot weather had me living in flip flops and swimsuits, so I didn't need much. But my transition toward a more minimalist life really took hold when I recognized how empowering it felt to live in a minimalist apartment that felt clean and uncluttered.
There is power in simplicity. And if you find yourself drawn toward aminimalist lifestyle, it's for a good reason.
Debra Duneier is a Senior Interior Designer and Founder atEcoChi (a unique design approach that combines wellness studies, ancient wisdom, and sustainable practices), and she explains that “Minimalist interior design creates the space to be mindful and makes room for new and wonderful experiences to enter your life."
With our choice ofdecor, we can strengthen our life's intentions and elevate our mood, says Duneier.
For those of us who inhabit the urban landscape, we call the city, there's a good chance that you live in an apartment. While apartments are fantastic for convenience, organizing your space can feel like a game of Jenga if you have a surplus of clutter.
To help maximize your (potentially small) space and to enhance your sense of well-being at home, Duneier has given us six tips for creating a minimalist apartment that you'll love. Enjoy and may the decor force be with you.
Get rid of clutter.
To help you get rid of any extra items that you don't want, Duneier has aStay-Maybe-Go De-Cluttering System. First things first, donate or get rid of anything that you know you don’t want. And anything left in the ‘maybe pile’ can be put in a box and stored away for six months.
Right before you open your box (after six months), make a list of the items that you genuinely missed, and that's it! Keep the belongings on your list and donate the rest, suggests Duneier.
"Once the clutter is gone you may notice that you have better health, a deeper, more refreshing night’s sleep, improved mood, better relationships, additional space, and much more room for new things and people to enter your life," notes Duneier.
Bring nature indoors.
As part of your minimalist design strategy, you can't go wrong with implementing the soothing touch of nature into your living space. Simply put, accessorize your home’s interior with plants and flowers.
"Plants are natural air filters and purify the indoor air of toxins, and the color green is restful and calming for our eyes which makes your home the perfect place for you to kick back, unwind, and restore," explains Duneier.
Purchase a well-made couch.
Your couch is more than just acozy spot to curl up and watch Netflix. A sofa is always visible and is usually where we entertain most guests. You want a couch that feels comfortable, looks great and will stand the test of time.
It might be tempting to hop online and choose a couch without trying it in real life, but since this piece of furniture will be with you for a while, it's worth visiting a store in person to test out the goods. Most importantly, before making your selection, read reviews to get a sense of the sofa's long-term durability and comfort, suggests Duneier.
Consider fabrics that are environmentally friendly so that you can avoid toxic chemicals. And you may want to consider looking for a Green Seal-certified couch, which proves that your sofa’s fabrics and fillings were tested and certified for low emissions, says Duneier.
Once you know that your sofa is comfy, made of quality fabrics, and enhances the decor of your living room, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy some chill time in your beautiful minimalist apartment.
Be mindful when selecting your colors.
One of the most important visual elements in a minimalist living space is color. Every color has its own vibration that we react to (whether we realize it or not). Colors affect healing and our overall state of mind, notes Duneier.
The most soothing colors elegantly mimic the shades we see in natural settings. For instance, soft beige, greens, and blue tones simulate the hues of a pretty blue sky or a budding plant in the spring (they are earthy and grounding). Soft peaches, pinks, and lavenders have a calming, soothing effect, explains Duneier.
Keep televisions and electronics out of your bedroom.
We know, going dark in your minimalist bedroom might feel difficult (especially if you can hear your phone’s notifications going off in the distance), but having a quiet space can positively impact your emotional and physical health while boosting your sense of optimism and hope, says Duneier.
"Taking a break from electronics and entertainment in your sanctuary can create ease that allows your mind, body, and spirit to use its powers to restore itself," explains Duneier.
After a full on day of meetings, pings, and city noise, having a quiet, minimalist bedroom to disappear into can offer you a tranquil oasis to unwind in.
Let the sun shine in.
Natural light is a mood elevator, so with a minimalist apartment, it’s essential to maximize any sunlight that naturally comes into your living space.
If possible, you can purchase solar shades. With solar shades, you can control the amount of light and heat that your living space receives. If natural light isn't an easy possibility, you can opt for full-spectrum white light bulbs. They duplicate the day's light during afternoon hours. And as your day comes to an end, try to use warmer colored lights that enhance sleep, explains Duneier.
"Natural light is the perfect accessory in minimalist design because it will beautify your living space and invigorate you," says Duneier.
More than anything, when you begin to adopt a more minimalistic way of living, it’s a journey into self-discovery. Letting go of the old might not feel easy, but it certainly can make room for the new!
If you’d like some inspiration to get your minimalist juices flowing, check out our minimalist house & home collection for some great ideas: