Inspiration: Minimalist NYC Apartment

Victor and Soeun V.’s New York City 518 sq. ft. studio apartment was a winner in Apartment Therapy’s “smallest coolest apartments 2007″ contest.

It’s a wonderful example of how minimalist living can make even the smallest spaces seem open, airy, and serene.

I love studying such photos to see what design and decluttering principles I can apply to my own space. Here’s what I’ve learned from Victor and Soeun:

1. White, white, and more white. White and light colored walls make all the difference in making a small space appear larger. Uniformity is important as well–when the eye can’t easily pick out transitions between walls, corners, and rooms (because, for example, they’re all painted the same color), the brain receives an impression of expansiveness.

2. Purely functional spaces. The living area consists of a couch and small table. The dining area is defined by a simple table. The “bedroom” is a bed–nothing else. Furnishings are reduced to the bare minimum–no need for nightstands, console tables, curio cabinets and other miscellaneous pieces that serve little purpose than to hold additional clutter.

3. Absence of clutter. The surfaces are clear, and free of knickknacks and other assorted items. Although the books are exposed, the uniformity with which they are lined up suggest “storage” rather than “clutter.” And they even add a bit of interest to the space!

4. Natural texture. The wood floors, wood dining table, and wood countertops add enough warmth to keep the white palette from feeling sterile. Ditto for the four pillows on the window seat.

5. Translucent materials. What a wonderful way to enclose a space without solid walls! They’re a great solution to hiding clutter or creating privacy, while still creating the impression of one continuous space–plus, I love how they “glow” from the light within!

The minimalist houses in design magazines can often seem cold, staged, and far removed from our daily lives (in terms of both practicality and expense). Victor and Soeun’s apartment, on the other hand, is a fantastic example of “livable minimalism”–a well-designed, decluttered space, whose principles we can actually replicate in our own homes.

Related posts:

  1. Minimalist Home: White Walls
  2. Minimalist Confession: I’m an Empty Space Junkie
  3. Minimalist Home: Adding Warmth Without Adding Stuff

4 comments to Inspiration: Minimalist NYC Apartment

  • Wendy

    Congratulations on your new apartment! It looks beautiful! It’s so cool that everything worked out–whew!

    I just bought and read your book and I’ve been recommending to just about everyone I run across. My kitchen is decluttered now, and I credit your inspiring writing!

  • amiddl

    Congrats on your apartment! I lived in a 450 sq ft apt after downsizing from a 1250 sq ft condo. It took some getting used to but once I got organized, I actually liked having less to clean and take care of. You don’t know how little you actually need to exist. I’m not sure if I can do that car thing but…whatever works, work it!!!

  • [...] Inspiration: Minimalist NYC Apartment: Victor and Soeun V.’s New York City 518 sq. ft. studio apartment was a winner in Apartment Therapy’s “smallest coolest apartments 2007″ contest. It’s a wonderful example of how minimalist living can make even the smallest spaces seem open, airy, and serene… {read more} [...]

  • susan d

    I really love this apartment. Even though I know my home will never look this good it does give me inspiration. We recently turned one of the rooms in our house into a sort of family room/guest room and I tried to keep everything very simple – white walls, dark wood floors, white drapes and a gray sofa bed. I love the result and I can honestly say that it is now my favorite room in my house.

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