Small New York City apartments are like microscopes: They magnify our worst design and decorating habits. Clutter can't easily pass for artsy messiness in a tiny apartment; bad color combinations scream for (unwanted) attention. And horrid furniture? You might as well put a sign on it saying "no taste." We scoured the web for advice from some of our favorite NYC-based design bloggers to get their tips for small-space living.
[This story originally ran in September 2015.]
• Pare down your stuff to beloved essentials. Minimalist de-clutterer Marie Kondo has a point, and York Avenue's Jacqueline Clair, whose blog we love, echoes it: "Small spaces force you to live with less and to only keep A, essentials, and B, things that you love—which I think is a goal that most people strive for."
• Choose furniture pieces with a light footprint—or, in the case of lamps that attach to the wall (or furniture, as in the photo above), no footprint at all. Anna Gray, editor at Homepolish, a service that pairs designers and with NYC dwellers in need of advice and guidance (and, yes, polish) and runs a blog chock-full of tiny-space-friendly tips, and her roommate opted for a loveseat in an eye-popping color (so it still packs a design punch) instead of a sofa for their East Village apartment.
• Go thrifting! And yes, we do mean to add that exclamation point, because not enough New Yorkers take advantage of the bounty that is another city dweller's outcasts. (Just be sure it's Considering how this city is peopled with so many characters of varying tastes (many of them exquisite) and bank balance, it's amazing what finds thrift stores—our absolute favorite is Housing Works—hold. (We once scored a Lucite-and-leather desk from an UWS Housing Works for $350 that easily would have cost thousands.) Daniel Kanter of Manhattan Nest (which still holds that name though he now spends his time making over a house upstate) is a master at this, and his last Manhattan apartment is proof of how much pizzazz secondhand stuff can add to your apartment.
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